CASTLEFORD Panthers under 14s gave a magnificent account of themselves in Sunday’s BARLA Yorkshire Cup final at Featherstone’s Big Fellas Stadium.
They produced one of their best all round performances of the season before being edged out 22-10 by trophy holders Hunslet Warriors in the final quarter.
Both teams impressed with ferocious tackling and powerful runs in a tense opening 15 minutes.
Hunslet eventually broke the deadlock with a flash of brilliance from their MOM Kobi Blair-Adams.
Panthers rallied superbly, with forwards Travis Fisher, Jak Charlesworth and Jamie Longstaff driving the ball in strongly.
Panthers centre Brandon Wilson spotted the slightest of gaps and managed to storm over for a try, taking three men over the line with him.
Further Warriors pressure saw them have an effort disallowed for a double movement before the Castleford side struck again when a sweeping move involving Jamie Longstaff, Cameron Worsley and Lewis Atack culminated in Cameron Smith’s great off-load releasing Panthers MOM Will Dagger whose electric pace enabled him to surge through would be tacklers to score.
With Brad Stokes and George Hudson in top form in defence, Hunslet struggled to find a way through down the middle. They were also foiled by excellent defensive work from Dillan Tucker, Joe Turner and Corey Southern.
However, Hunslet’s pressure finally told when Blair-Adams scored two more tries in the final 10 minutes to complete his hat trick.
Panthers’ classy full-back Dagger was taken from the field with a dislocated elbow late on.
Smith constantly drove Panthers upfield with surging runs and quality off-loads but Hunslet’s strength told in the end.
Aaron Barlow, Brandon Perry and Rhys Garnham also had superb games for Panthers in a top-quality contest between two teams that finished first and second in Yorkshire Junior League Division One.