Starbuck stars on return to Methley fold

Methley Royals' 2016-17 squad taking part in the Pennine 11-a-side League.
Methley Royals' 2016-17 squad taking part in the Pennine 11-a-side League.

METHLEY ROYALS posted a sensational 18-16 victory over previously unbeaten leaders Lock Lane in Saturday’s Pennine League 11-a-Side League fixture.

Several players who have returned to the fold had a major impact, not least Lee Starbuck, who scored two tries and three goals.

Another local lad making his first appearance for a couple of years – Dave Williams – also crossed, while Matty Handforth, who re-joined Methley during the summer, made a huge impact.

Two other returning Royals, JP Briers and Jarred Willshaw, brought their experience to bear against a talented young Lane outfit which is operating at open age rather than youth level following the virtual collapse of under 18s rugby in the county.

Handforth was sin-binned in the early stages by impressive referee Jake Butcher for use of the knees and the visitors went in front before a big lunchtime crowd on 18 minutes when the outstanding Joe Willock crossed and improved his own score.

Starbuck’s brace, however, helped Methley secure a 12-6 interval lead, but Lock Lane were on level terms within three minutes of the restart through Josh Steeles’ try and Willock’s goal.

The dismissal of Briers for dissent while in possession with 20 minutes left looked like being costly when Brad Roberts powered over for the visitors, who had a player sin-binned for back-chat.

But, with four minutes remaining, Handforth and Starbuck combined for Williams to cross, Starbuck nosing Methley ahead with his goal from out wide.

The drama, however, was not over. Scott Wilson, who had an outstanding game for the Royals, was drawn into an altercation while playing the ball in the opposition’s 20-metre area. The Lane made the most of the penalty, working their way downfield for Morgan Jones to cross from a telling kick.

Mr Butcher, however, ruled offside and Methley duly held out for a morale-boosting if nervy win marred by a shoulder injury to Tyrone Padgett and concussion sustained by Dan Walker. Lane’s Ryan Kear was red carded for dissent after the final whistle.

Aiden Wright, Pat Travis, Sean Cox, Shaun Danks, Andy Jefferson, Kieran Parkinson and Luke Pickering also shone for the Royals, who are at home to Thornhill Trojans on Saturday in the 11-a-side league. The game, at the time of going to press, will kick-off at 2pm.

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