NEWSOME PANTHERS are already emerging as the team to beat in Division II of the Pennine League.
The in-form Panthers made it five wins out of five with a 36-30 triumph at the previously-unbeaten Wortley Dragons to open up a two-point lead at the top.
Leading the way was inspirational man-of-the-match Ben Feehan, who scorched over for a hat trick of tries and also landed three goals, and that made all the difference in a hard-fought clash between two tough teams.
Wortley were the first to strike with a converted try after 10 minutes, but the Panthers quickly asserted themselves and drew level when Ben Cuttell crossed under the posts for Feehan to convert.
That signalled a Newsome purple patch as they quickly followed up with two tries for Feehan, both converted by Ross Studholme to make it 18-6.
Unfortunately, however, the Panthers were unable to turn the screw tighter and the Dragons roared back to level at 18-18 at the break.
With Wortley having the advantage of the slope and wind behind them in the second half, they would have fancied their chances of taking control.
But Newsome had other ideas, defending well to keep the Dragons at bay and then creating the chances for Feehan to complete his hat trick and for James Wallace, left, to power over to open up a 30-18 lead.
However, such was the nature of the game, that it was far from over and Wortley fought back to close the gap to six points with 10 minutes remaining.
Not surprisingly, Newsome once again found a response, with more great approach play from Thomas Guinan, Wes Devlin and Thomas Good allowing Wallace to power over for his second, converted by Studholme, to give Newsome a secure 36-24 lead with time on their side.
Wortley crossed in the last 30 seconds, but it was too little too late as Newsome’s hard work and team spirit had secured over two League points and the top spot!