PONTEFRACT RUFC opened up a five-point lead in Yorkshire Division Two by beating bottom team Leodiensian 33-22 at Moor Lane on Saturday.
They stole a march on second-placed Yarnbury whose fixture at Old Crossleyans was postponed because the pitch was unfit.
Matthew Bacon bagged two tries and captain Craig Fawcett was also in outstanding form in Pontefract’s hard-earned win over spirited Leodiensian who were always a threat in possession.
Pontefract nearly scored a quick try.
Centre Fawcett gathered a Leos clearance kick and beat defenders before off-loading to winger Richard Dedicoat who got over the try line but was unable to ground the ball.
Pontefract continued to press before a high tackle gifted the visitors their first real opportunity which they snapped up when Jim Langtree scored a converted try that put them 7-0 ahead.
The home side responded in determined fashion with prop Phil Lane making powerful runs.
However, they were thwarted by unforced errors and solid Leos tackling.
Pontefract were then awarded successive penalties for obstruction and a high tackle and they made the visitors pay.
From a scrum, good work by the home pack led to Jack Beddis bulldozing his way over for a try that Liam Kay goaled.
Pontefract spurned a penalty goal attempt and instead kicked for touch but the decision backfired because they surrendered possession with a poor clearance kick.
Leos launched an attack and although home full-back Kay made the tackle, Harry Elliot’s momentum got him over the try line to edge the visitors back in front.
Pontefract had most of the possession at this stage and they eventually made use of it when excellent play by Kay, Niall Sandwith, Matt Hargreaves and Glen Boyd saw Bacon scythe through for his first score that Kay goaled to put the Moor Lane side 14-12 up at the break.
Rob Scoley, Jonny Hill and James Griffin were prominent for Pontefract early in the second-half.
Breaks by Bacon and Fawcett went unrewarded before Leos had a player sin-binned for a high tackle and Pontefract took full advantage of the extra man.
Andy Lund punched a hole in the Leos defence and off-loaded to Boyd who made an opening for hooker Hill to elude the last tackler to score an unconverted try.
Pontefract soon struck again when great play by Scholey, Beddis and Hargreaves saw Fawcett cross for a try that Dedicoat converted.
Leodiensian, who always looked dangerous, cut the gap to 26-17 when a missed tackle saw James Harris go over.
Pontefract regained the initiative when Ethan Potts ripped the ball away at a breakdown and the home threequarters raced away.
A loose pass spoiled that move but home side soon sealed victory when Bacon darted through for his second try and Dedicoat converted.
They threatened again when winger Richard Hossack looked set to go clear but the ball went to ground. Leodiensian kept plugging away and they had the last word in the closing stages when Tom Piggott scored an unconverted try at the corner.
Both sides deserved credit for an entertaining game played in good spirit in cold conditions.
Pontefract RUFC will host their annual Christmas Eve gettogether in the clubhouse from 2 to 7pm. Food will be provided.
On Boxing Day, the annual Pontefract XV v Farmers XV match will be played at Moor Lane (1pm kick-off). Spectators will be welcomed.
Pontefract resume their Yorkshire Division Two campaign on Saturday, January 6, by visiting West Park Leeds.
It is followed by a trip to Halifax Vandals the following Saturday before their first home first-team game of 2018 against Thornensians on January 20.
Pontefract end January by visiting Old Grovians.