Winners left blessed by worthy praise

‘Sheffield are without doubt the best side we’ve played this season.’

Praise indeed, especially when it comes from the opposition, in this case Ilkley after the Abbeydale side had inflicted a 19-5 defeat on them.

A club spokesman added that Sheffield had assembled a side of ’youthful exuberance and experience, no more typified by Man of the Match fullback Greg Hurst and the old warhorse, John Dudley.’

The only downside to the victory was the fact that Andy Kelly’s second-in-the-table side had failed to notch a bonus point, unlike leaders Malton and Norton, and the gap between the two is now 18 points although Sheffield have played two matches less.

With a 35-19 victory in the locker after the teams met earlier in the season, Sheffield set about their bid to complete a winning double and duly took the lead courtesy of the ever reliable boot of Donal Collins who landed a penalty awarded for a high tackle. He was called upon again on the half hour mark and duly added another three points.

Five minutes later Sheffield won a lineout on the home side’s 10 metre line and Dudley drove them on to set up a try for winger James Montgomery. On the stroke of half time, Collins’ long range penalty attempt rattled the upright.

He was back in business early in the second half when a home player was yellow carded and Collins’ pin-point accuracy did the rest. Sheffield then made the extra man count when Montgomery was gifted with a second try.

Dudley was sin-binned with 15 minutes to go and this time it was the visitors who were made to pay as Ilkley grabbed an unconverted try.

Next up for Sheffield is a home clash against fourth-placed Heath on Saturday.

Yorkshire 1, top of the table: Malton and Norton pld 19, pts 85, Sheffield 17, 67; Keighley 20, 58; Heath 18, 56; York 19, 45; Knottingley 20, 44.

Sheffield rugby club’s march on the Yorkshire Cup continues with three teams contesting their respective finals.

The Under-12s who face Old Brodleians at Bradford and Bingley’s ground this Sunday, have already made history as they’re the first team in this age group to reach the final of this prestigious competition.

Meanwhile the Under-13s meet Otley at York the following week (March 20) and the Under-16s meet South Yorkshire rivals Doncaster at West Park, Leeds on March 27.