Handford leads Fryston to stunning cup win

Skipper Gareth Handford sparked Fryston's recovery at West Hull with a try early in the second-half. PICTURE: BOB NUNN.
Skipper Gareth Handford sparked Fryston's recovery at West Hull with a try early in the second-half. PICTURE: BOB NUNN.

FRYSTON Warriors staged a magnificent recovery from 16-0 down at half-time to reach the BARLA National Cup semi-finals with a 22-20 win at West Hull.

They host Wigan St Patrick’s or Leigh East in the semis on Saturday, April 9.

CMS Yorkshire League Division One title favourites Fryston were unable to find their usual fluency when they faced a strong wind in the first-half.

They struggled against an experienced West Hull side who took full advantage of the wind to keep Fryston pinned inside their own quarter.

Silly penalties made it even harder for Fryston to get out of their own half and they fell behind 10-0.

Fryston then had James Cryer sin-binned and West Hull made use of the extra man to increase their lead to 16 points, leaving the visitors with a mountain to climb.

Skipper Gareth Handford set a great lead as Fryston took the game to West Hull in the second period.

The fightback started five minutes into the half when Handford crashed over to score and Andy Speake converted.

Fryston were now were firing on all cylinders and West Hull could not contain them. The home side were struggling to get out of their own half and making silly mistakes.

Fryston capitalised when speedy Andy Matthews shot over at the corner and Speake added a magnificent touchline conversion.

Minutes later, Fryston levelled the scores when Dave Probert made a break and put in a kick to the corner for Cryer to outpace everyone to score. Speake added the conversion.

Fryston were now calling the shots but they suffered a setback when an injury to Cryer stopped the game for 20 minutes until an ambulance arrived to take him to hospital.

This blunted Fryston’s momentum and gave West Hull the lifeline they were looking for. However, when play resumed they still could not break Fryston’s defence.

Fryston were unlucky not to go ahead when Scott Horner had the ball knocked out of his hand over the line and the referee ruled he had dropped it.

The last 10 minutes was played entirely in the West Hull’s quarter.

Fryston fooled West Hull into thinking they were setting up for a drop goal but instead hooker Adam Dickinson shot through a massive gap to score a try that Speake goaled to put them six points ahead.

The drama still wasn’t over because West Hull’s Paul Shaw scored his third try to cut the gap to two points but the conversion - which could have forced extra time - was missed.

Handford was Fryston’s MOM. Chris Ainley had an excellent game at full back and Dickinson earned top marks for his crucial try.