Promotion chasers Pontefract made it six wins from seven matches in Yorkshire Division Two by beating bottom team Sheffield Medicals 34-5 at Moor Lane on Saturday.
After losing 99-0 at home to Old Rishworthians the previous week, winless Medicals put up far more resistance last weekend but were still no match for third-placed Pontefract who have a vital game this Saturday at leaders Moortown.
Pontefract took an eighth minute lead when, from a scrum, Glenn Boyd and Craig Fawcett sent in winger Stuart Sanderson for a try that Callum Watts goaled.
They should have scored again shortly afterwards when Jack Beddis and Watts set up a chance but the ball went loose with the line beckoning.
Pontefract’s enthusiasm got the better of them and unforced errors gave the visitors possession but centre Ross Shand then steadied the ship with a try out wide from a classic Boyd break.
The home side continued to press and Sanderson made a telling break but the last pass went to ground.
Another chance went beggin when Fawcett evaded a tackler and pushed the ball out but number eight Rob Stringer could only get his fingertips to the pass and the ball went loose again.
Leading 12-0 at half-time, Pontefract had bags of first-half possession but failed to convert it into points. However, they got just the start they needed in the second period when back rower Chris Sant took a perfect inside pass to score.
A Pontefract player was then sin-binned for a high tackle and Medicals took advantage to score their solitary try.
The home side continued to be pinned in their own 22 after conceding a string of penalties.
Great work by Jack Beddis, John Fradgley and Phil Lane got them moving again and Watts and Fawcett paved the way for Sanderson to score his second try. Play was halted when Stringer sustained a knee injury. When it resumed, Lane powered over for a try after Jonny Hill had been stopped short.
Hill then forced his way over for the home side’s final try that Richard Dedicoat goaled.
Pontefract produced a good team effort in a six-try win against determined opponents.
Pontefract 2nds were without a game last weekend when Wheatley Hills cried off late and they were unable to get a suitable pool game.
Castleford climbed to joint third place in Yorkshire Division Three with an 18-17 win at Leeds Modernians.
Ben Keyworth, returning from a three-match injury lay-off, powered over for the winning try with ten minutes remaining.
Despite playing down the slope in the first half, Castleford trailed 17-7 at half-time but they again showed a commendable never-say-die attitude to come out on top in the second period.
They started well and were unlucky not to take the lead when hooker Jamie Owens was adjudged to have been held up over the try line.
Poor defence then saw Modernians score an unconverted try which was quickly followed by a penalty that put them 8-0 up. Castleford rallied strongly with back-rowers Keyworth and Luke Kenyon making penetrating runs.
Quickly recycled ball gave winger Howard Kent the space to jink through for a well-taken debut try and skipper Thomas Egan added a touchline goal.
The visitors then conceded penalties that led to Modernians leading by 10 points at the break.
Castleford’s half-time talk worked wonders because from the offset they looked a different side in the second-half.
A superb defensive display gave them the platform to gradually take control and punch big holes in attack.
MOM Egan led from the front. He kicked further penalties to put Castleford only four points behind and set up a grandstand finish.
The penalty count was reversed in the final quarter as the visitors applied sustained pressure on the home try line.
It culminated in Keyworth going over to put them ahead for the first time in the match. Although Egan’s conversion hit an upright, the visitors held out for a well deserved victory.
They will aim to keep up the good work when they host Leeds Medics and Dentists at Willowbridge Lane this Saturday.
Yorkshire Division Three leaders Knottingley recorded their eighth straight win by beating Northallerton 27-19 at Howards Field.
They outscored the visitors four tries to one in the opening 40 minutes after giving one of their best first-half performances this season.
Ryan Eades crashed over after unselfish work by Nicky Beach.
Shane Simpson then capitalised on an error to dive on a loose ball to score.
Knottingley conceded a sloppy try but quickly replied when slick handling saw Ryan Barnaby plunge over.
Shortly afterwards, Eades charged in for his second touchdown.
Knottingley eased up in the second period and managed only one further score when Dale McGregor marked his return by powering over.
Several Knottingley mistakes were punished when Northallerton got a push-over try but the home side were always in control and never looked loke losing.
They visit winless bottom side Halifax on Saturday.
Hemsworth gave a good account of themselves in an 18-12 defeat at unbeaten Division Four leaders Skipton.
Skipton, who have won all their 11 league games this season, were pushed all the way by battling Hemsworth who host Hessle this Saturday.
Leeds Corinthians climbed above Hemsworth to second place by beating Bramley Phoenix 27-0.