SLAITHWAITE SARACENS are now eight points clear at the top of Division I of the Pennine League after their 24-10 triumph at mid-table Birkenshaw.
But they were made to work harder than they have done in many games this season, falling 6-0 behind after 30 minutes to a converted try.
That score, however, galvanised the Saracens, who immediately responded with three converted tries in an eight-minute spell to take control at the break.
The forceful Shaun Mitchell was at the heart of Slaithwaite’s fightback with two of his side’s tries, while the elusive Simon Burkinshaw also crossed and Danny Garside added the goals.
In the second half Birkenshaw were again the first to scored with an unconverted try after 15 minutes.
This gave the home side a glimmer of hope, but these were extinguished when Darren Hawkyard scored a typically robust try, converted by Garside, to seal the contest.
Newsome Panthers returned to winning Second Division ways after defeating a determined Greetland side 22-8 in awful conditions.
The visitors started well and produced some brilliant flowing rugby to take a quickfire 10-0 lead after tries from Alex Chatterton and Josh Dixon and a Ross Studholme goal.
But as conditions began to deteriorate errors start creeping into Newsome’s game, and Greetland took full advantage to close the gap to 10-4 at the break.
The Panthers started the second half as they had finished the first, making a catalogue of errors which allowed Greetland to cross for a second and reduce the deficit to just two points.
Newsome then began to find their feet once again and immediately pressured Greetland, paving the way for Thomas Guinan to crash over after a well-worked move, with Studholme adding the extras to make it 16-8.
The visitors’ defence was proving solid, with crushing tackles forcing their opponents to make errors and, with time running out, Alex Chatterton broke clear and put Jack Davies in for the final try which Studholme again converted to seal a hard-fought victory.