SLAITHWAITE Saracens started their push for serious silverware by winning the Holliday Cup – but only after Emley Moor made them sweat for a 40-18 victory at Lockwood Park.
With Saracens runaway leaders in Pennine League Division I, rivals Emley – stricken by injuries to key players – were tipped to be blown away.
However, the reality proved a little different despite Moor losing both props to injury in the opening half.
Saracens skipper Darren Hawkyard, the deserved winner of the man-of-the-match award, paid tribute to their opponents and said: "I think they had about five players out and then to lose both props was tough, but they made us work and did well.
"We knew they would graft but a couple of tries early in the second half helped us through, though they came back at us in the last 20 minutes.
"But we have to be happy and hopefully that is the first of a few cups this season.
"We have already won the touch and pass," he smiled. "But we have a big game on Thursday with a semi-final at Sharlston and we should be able to see things through to win the league."
Emley captain Karl Adamski was quick to praise his players and said: "I thought the lads did really well. We had key players missing and lost more key men during the game, but to be still in it at the end of the game you just have to be proud of the way we played."
The first of those injury blows came from the kick off as prop Simon Adamski looked to return the ball only to hit a three-man Slaithwaite reception committee and had to be led from the field.
But for 25 minutes Saracens could not unlock the Moor defence and it was Emley who were in front for a spell after taking the lead with a second minute penalty from Karl Adamski.
Slaithwaite steadily settled to their task and, having sharpened up their control when in possession, they went ahead on 25 minutes when scrum half Bobby Bahadori nipped over from acting half-back and Dan Garside added the first of six goals he was to land from seven attempts in the contest.
Both sides had been forced to drop out before Saracens struck again on 34 minutes with centre Stu Dunbar finishing a smart move, which compounded Emley’s woes as they lost their other prop Jason Southwell, who had been a driving force for Moor.
After a first half where both sides had chances to score, Saracens decided the second period should have a different complexion and hit Moor with two scores within six minutes.
An excellent break by stand-off Simon Birkenshaw set up full back David Holmes to go under the posts within a minute of the restart and Holmes added his second from another smart move five minutes later.
Emley hit back with substitute Daniel Bedford, arguably their stand out player, paving the way for hooker Richard Sharpe to nip over from acting half back and Karl Adamski tagged on the second of his three goals.
The sides then traded tries with Birkenshaw adding to Slaithwaite’s tally before Bedford answered for Moor.
Just to add to the tension a sin-binning for Saracens was followed a minute later by a try for Emley winger Tom Beaumont, who fought his way in at the corner after taking an awkward high ball, and the deficit was cut to 12 points with seven minutes remaining.
But Saracens finished with a flourish as Holmes’ streaked through to send Dunbar over the line again, and the final play of the match saw skipper Hawkyard rip through the Moor defence and give substitute forward Aaron Crabtree a comfortable run to the line to ensure that they put their first trophy of the season in the cabinet.
Emley Moor: Lang; Shepherd, Daniel Pawson, Dodson, Beaumont; David Pawson, Hamner; S Adamski, Sharpe, Southwell, Wilkinson, Gedney-Higham, K Adamski. Subs: Bedford, Uttley, Rollins, Garrity.
Slaithwaite Saracens: Holmes; Flooks, Dunbar, Bostock, Worthington; Birkenshaw, Bahadori; Fitzpatrick, Garside, Lodge, Karolczuk, Kenchington, Hawkyard. Subs: McAfferty, Crabtree, Mellor, Murphy.
Referee: C Neilson.Related content