Pontefract overcome scare to hit top spot

Stewart Sanderson, scored two tries for Pontefract against Wetherby.
Stewart Sanderson, scored two tries for Pontefract against Wetherby.

Pontefract were given a scare by lowly Wetherby, but came through for their expected victory to go top of Yorkshire Division Two.

Points were plentiful before Ponte emerged as 36-31 winners and were given an extra boost after the game when hearing that previous leaders Yarnbury had been held to a surprise 24-24 draw at Ripon.

Ponte missed out on an early score when centre Mathew Bacon lost control of the ball over the line. Relieved Wetherby recovered via their tank type scrum, winning the ball from a home feed and moving it across field for wing Jack Kaye to score an unconverted try.

A five-metre scrum led to a second score for the visitors as they were awarded a penalty try to lead 12-0.

But Ponte began their fight back and after previously showing flashes of brilliance in attack only to be frustrated at the last pass they got their act together to put their first points on the board.

Scrum-half Matt Hargreaves got quick ball away from a scrum, Mathew Bacon split the cover and full-back Liam Kay came into the line to then offload to the supporting hooker Jonny Hill who scored. Glen Boyd kicked the goal to reduce the arrears to five points.

The hosts were caught out, however, when Wetherby scrum-half Jonny Day went over for a try that was converted.

Wetherby tried to slow the pace of the game and Pontefract moved the ball around to create space. It worked as Craig Fawcett found Kay and wing Stewart Sanderson was in support to score under the posts. Boyd converted.

Sanderson again went close, but from his kick behind the defence Wetherby managed to scramble to safety to keep the score at 19-14 at half-time.

From the restart a positive Ponte tightened up their effort and fly-half Glen Boyd made a half-break. Prop Phil Lane bullocked his way through and Hargreaves sent winger Richard Dedicoat over. With Boyd converting the home team were now 21-19 ahead.

They were never to be headed again, although another try went begging as Jack Beddis turned the ball over and the support got the ball out to Sanderson but the ball went loose into touch.

Ponte did score, however, when Boyd put in a long pass to Sanderson who weaved his way through for his second try, which was again goaled by Boyd.

Wetherby continued to play to their strengths and lured the home side into their tank type scrummaging as they pushed over for a try claimed by number eight Danny Warden.

A penalty for offside put over by Boyd saw Ponte go back seven points ahead and they clinched victory with another try. Bacon made a half-break, the ball bounced off his opposite number and the advantage was retained, lock Niall Sandwith picking up to score.

Wetherby kept at it and were awarded another penalty try to narrow the score to 36-31, but Ponte saw the remainder out for an ugly but important win.

They are away to seventh-placed Wath Upon Dearne this Saturday (2.15pm).