Newsome Panthers are the champions of Huddersfield after winning the Holliday Cup, beating Almondbury Spartans 30-10 last week. They won the cup with experienced players missing from the line-up due to injury.
The Panthers had already won one trophy this season as they beat Ossett Tigers to win the Yorkshire Men’s Rugby League Trophy. However they were expecting an even tougher test against Almondbury in the Holliday Cup. Newsome went into the game in crisis management mode as three key players were injured just before the final.
Club captain Rob Denton had fractured his wrist against Ossett so he was ruled out of the final against Almondbury as was Ben Feehan who had hurt his knee.
It would go from bad to worse for Newsome as in the training session the day before the game against Almondbury, head coach Ritchie Hawkyard tore his calf muscle which ruled him out of the team too.
On the preparation for the game and the subsequent performance Hawkyard said: “The preparation wasn’t ideal unfortunately due to players being out injured.
“We had to change the team around and play people in positions they hadn’t played in before. Then once the game started our full-back got injured and so we had to play our hooker at full-back, put a second-rower in at hooker and put someone off the bench in at second row.
“I thought it was our best performance of the season, we knew they would be a tough team to play. They are in the league above us and are going for the league title in their league too. The first half was quite close as we led 6-4 at half-time and then in the second half we stepped up and scored some great tries.”
On winning the cup Hawkyard added: “It’s great to be named the top team in Huddersfield, obviously. Almondbury probably think they are because they play in a higher division but winning this cup means a lot to the Huddersfield teams. We want to catch Almondbury up in the league and play them in a league fixture.”
Newsome have three games left in the league and are currently top of their division. Boss Hawkyard says he may play some younger players in the remaining games and give the older ones a rest before the play-offs.
“I might give some of the younger lads some game time. It will be a good opportunity for them to show me what they can do. It also gives me a chance to rest some of the older lads ahead of the play-off campaign.”