Hooker Andy Smith grabbed a hat-trick of tries as Pontefract booked a Yorkshire Shield quarterfinal tie at Selby in February with Saturday’s 44-3 win at Whitby.
With Whitby playing in the Durham League, they were something of an unknown quantity but they finished a clear second best to Pontefract who battled superbly to come out on top in atrocious conditions.
Pontefract took the lead after back rowers Burrow, Stringer and Beddis produced a turn over ball which was shipped out to Glen Boyd who broke clear to half way before sending in the supporting Craig Fawcett for a great try that Boyd converted from the touchline.
Whitby opened their account with a penalty but Pontefract looked the more threatening side and Ben Dunn-Birch was held just short after good work by Jonny Burrow, Bacon and Fawcett.
Pontefract’s speedy backs caused Whitby constant problems with winger Rich Dedicoat linking up well.
Chris Sant was hauled down short but with Whitby caught offside he regained his feet to take the free ball and plunge over for a try.
Ten minutes later, Richard Scott and Stu Haynes set up a driving maul that went 30 metres before Smith drove off his way over from close range.
Pontefract’s forwards were now making their fitness tell and getting on top.
Josh Walker was working cleverly and he put the visitors further ahead on the stroke of half-time when he took a quick tap from a penalty and jinked his way over for a converted try to make it 24-3.
Playing down the slope in the second-half, Pontefract defied the conditions to produce excellent passing rugby which saw chances for Dedicoat and Sant who crossed for an unconverted try.
Burrow made one of a series of telling breaks and Fawcett and Dunn-Birch continued the move for Smith to dive over for another converted try.
Good work by Beddis and Stringer in the back row produced a penalty in front of the posts and taking the free ball Walker dropped a cheeky drop goal.
Pontefract brought on all their four substitutes but kept the same game plan.
Josh Hough forced his way over but could not ground the ball and Ross Shand went close after fine play by Dedicoat. Hough then ripped the ball in a tackle for Smith to complete his hat-trick.
With the weather deteriorating and Pontefract dominant, the referee consulted both captains before calling time with ten minutes remaining on the clock.
Pontefract 2nds beat Hull Ionians 3rds 41-5 at Moor Lane.
Pontefract’s superior firepower gave them a decisive advantage in a game played in good spirit.
Liam Kay, Ellis Burke and Matt Williams went close early on while Ionians were thwarted by excellent tackles from Dan Wheater and the Beecher brothers.
Matt Hargreaves and Kay paved the way for Richard Hossack to grab the opening try.
Williams then scored two well crafted tries and Kay kicked his second conversion to make it 19-0 at the break.
In the second-half, clever work by Kay and Wheater led to Luke Beecher racing away to score before Will Story sparked an attack that enabled Williams to bag his third touchdown.
Scott Hawkins made a telling tackle before Josh Beecher slid over for Pontefract’s final score.
Ionians had the last word with a try in the dying seconds following a double penalty.
Skipper Hawkins was Pontefract’s man of the match for his overall effort.
Three-try Williams and two-try Luke Beecher were important contributors and Josh Beecher scored from 40 metres out using a combination of skills.
Jonny Mathews had an outstanding game after going on as substitute centre.
Overall, it took a massive effort from both teams and the referee to make a game of it in atrocious conditions
Pontefract 2nds are in the pool for a home game this Saturday.