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LOCAL RUGBY LEAGUE: Beverley open up four-point gap at the top

MILLOM 20 – 28 BEVERLEY ARLFC (Saturday May 12)

The Blue & Golds came away with two very valuable league points from one of their longest and toughest away trips.

It means they maintain their 100% record and are now four points clear at the top of NCL Division 3 after second-placed Clock Face Miners were defeated at home to Barrow Island – a side who themselves appear to be moving into the promotion mix.

On a pristine playing surface both sides played their part in a quality encounter. The opening 10 minutes saw both defences largely on top and both sides completed their sets well. On 15 minutes a penalty gave Beverley good field position and Lewis Poskitt danced and stepped his way to a try. Lewis Straw converted.

Now growing in confidence, Beverley continued to press. A penalty for a high shot on Lewis Poskitt again gave them a dangerous attacking set, which ended with Alex Calvert spinning in the tackle to crash over for a try. Straw again converted.

The home side re-gained possession from the re-start kick and applied some pressure on the visitor’s line. However, a long pass that could well have created a try at the other end went into the grateful hands of Lewis Poskitt. Poskitt raced 80 meters to score. Straw converted to give Beverley an 18-0 lead with just 22 minutes on the clock.

The hosts managed topull back a try on 32 minutes when their half-back, John Hodgson, went in under the posts following some sustained pressure. Lee Postlethwaite added the extras and also a penalty just before the break to peg back the score to 18-8.

Early in the second half, Beverley looked to extend their lead as Poskitt broke free down the right flank, but the home side scrambled well in defence and he lost out to weight of numbers. Moments later the committee’s player of the match, Billy Riby, crossed after slick handling and Straw converted.

After 62 minutes the points were realistically sealed when a chip ahead and regather by Poskitt saw him do well to slip a pass to Lewis Straw in heavy traffic. Straw crossed for the try and converted.

The visitors then had to repel a late fight back. Ethan Kelly and Noah Robinson added tries, both converted by Postlethwaite, as the home side refused to lie down. The closing 15 minutes was largely about game management. Some relieving runs clearing his lines from Billy Riby and some hard yardage from Alex Calvert, Lee Stevens and Jack Howdle helped to steady the ship.

Coach Scott Taylor commented: ”We did it tough this afternoon and there are quite a few knocks and injuries but these are the wins that decide titles and promotions.”