LOCK Lane’s hopes of a swift return to the National Conferennce League’s top-flight ended on Saturday.
The Castleford side, relegated last season, lost 16-9 at Normanton Knights in the Division One promotion play-off semi-final after being 9-0 ahead shortly before half-time.
Normanton take on the winner of this Saturday’s second semi-final between Milford Marlins and York Acorn in the play-off final which is scheduled to be played alongside the Premier Division Grand Final at Widnes Vikings’ Select Security Stadium on Saturday, October 28.
Lane, with loose-forward Craig Savage in outstanding form, made a flying start at Normanton when winger Connor Turner gathered the ball from a high kick to score a fourth minute try he also goaled. Turner edged Lane further in front with a 30th minute drop goal.
He then kicked a 36th minute penalty goal to put them nine points ahead but that proved to be the end of Lane’s scoring.
Substitute Clark Thompson opened Normanton’s account with a penalty goal to cut the innterval deficit to 9-2.
And the home side went on to dominate the second-half after punishing Lane’s poor discipline.
The visitors contributed greatly to their own downfall by having two players sin-binned and another man sent sent off.
Thompson, who made a big impact from the bench with his powerful runs and astute off-loads, put Normanton only one point behind by converting his own 50th minute try.
Stand-off Danny Sowerby was the first Lock Lane player to be yellow carded in the 58th minute for use of the forearm .
Eleven minutes later, full-back Lewis Price was sin-binned for dissent. Lane prevented Normanton from scoring during Sowerby’s absence but their defence was breached shortly after Price’s departure.
Knights full-back Connor Wilson went in for a try that hooker Thomas Carroll goaled to put the Knights five points ahead.
Lane then suffered another setback when substitute Rob Firth was sent off for an alleged punch to the head and Normanton’s Wilson was yellow carded for an alleged punch in the same incident. Firth was dismissed playing for the now defunct Fryston Warriors open-age side in a 37-10 defeat against Hunslet Club Parkside in the BARLA National Cup final in May.
Lane’s fate was sealed when Thompson kicked a last minute penalty goal.
Normanton Knights: Connor Wilson; Liam Taylor, Jonathan Hodgson, Ashley Haynes, Lee Hammond; Thomas Alexander, Kieron Hinchliffe; Patrick Waterton, Thomas Carroll, Shaun Smith, Steven Lewis, Lee Starbuck, Ian Hoult. Subs: Chris Woolford, Kieran Bailey. Oliver Wood, Clark Thompson.
Lock Lane: Lewis Price; Sam Wilkinson, Oliver Bloomer, Jordan Rice, Connor Turner; Danny Sowerby , Connor Land; Jonny Brummitt, Jacob Crossland, Joe Burton, Ethan Flowers, Mitchell Platt, Craig Savage. Subs: Eddie Willocks, Ryan Backhouse, Rob Firth, James Woods.
Referee: Tara Jones.