THE RCD League’s first Cup finalists were decided when six semi-finals were played at Leeds Road Playing Fields.
The most exciting game was the first when Clifton Rangers took on Howden Clough in the Under 11.
Clifton were always going to need something special if they were to get past the unbeaten league leaders but, despite being within sight of victory, a late Clough equaliser forced a penalty shoot-out and Clifton’s chance was gone.
Goals from Mason Cleghorn, George Stones and Callum Pearson set the standard and Clifton responded with replies from Owen Murthy, Callum Crossland and Harrison Glew, leaving the score tied at 3-3 at the end of normal time.
Harry Scott-Baxter gave Clifton what appeared to be the winning goal in the first period of extra-time but a last-gasp Jack Smith equaliser restored Clough’s dreams of a league and cup double. By comparison, the penalty shoot-out was more of a penalty miss-out.
Only Daniel Pinder and Cleghorn were successful for Clough, but Clifton’s opportunity disappeared when only Murthy found the net.
Clough’s opponents in the May 8 final will be Honley, who defeated Meltham with a single Conor Mahoney first-half strike in the other semi-final.
Despite the dominance of Honley’s Reece Dickinson, Joey Hodgkiss and Jack Davies in the first half, Meltham were still only one goal down by half time and, although Reece Norbury, Joe Bullas and Charlie Horncastle worked hard to restore the balance throughout the second half, Meltham were unable to find an equaliser.
Penistone Under 16s are determined to end the club’s 20-year search for a major trophy.
Although Penistone have fielded some very strong teams over the years, they have never won one of the RCD League’s major trophies, but victory over Battyeford in the semi-finals now leaves them just one game away from breaking their duck.
A penalty shoot-out was required to determine the winner.
Matt Rodgers established a first-half lead for Penistone, but a Charlie Mitchell equaliser forced the game into extra-time.
With neither side able to improve on the scoreline, Penistone eventually secured victory 6-4 from the penalty spot.
A Phil Worth goal was all that separated Batley and Scholes at half time in their Under 17 semi-final, but further strikes from Jack Hinchliffe, Jack Longstaffe and Declan Goodman were enough to secure a 4-1 victory for Batley.
Batley will now play the winners of next Sunday’s semi-final between Guiseley and Uppermill.
This Sunday’s semi-finals at Leeds Road Playing Fields:
Under 12 – Rastrick v Dewsbury Rangers (11.00), Vision v Hepworth United (1.00).
Under 14 – HAFC v Hartshead (2.00), Linthwaite v Lepton Highlanders (2.00).
Under 15 – Deighton v Meltham ( 2.00), Brighouse Town v Skelmanthorpe (2.00).
At Howden Clough FC:
Under 18 – Hepworth United v Pudsey (2.00).
On behalf of all members of the Huddersfield RCD Junior League, the League Committee would like to convey sincere condolences to the family and friends of 15-year-old Hepworth United player, Huw Thatcher, who tragically died on Sunday evening.