Newsome Panthers may have lost the “invincibles” tag but they came roaring back to win the Yorkshire Men’s League Premier Division Grand Final.

The Panthers went through the whole of last season unbeaten sweeping all before them and lifting four trophies.

It was always going to be hard to follow that and this season the squad was badly hit by injuries, losing several players to long-term injuries including captain Rob Denton (broken wrist).

Newsome lost three league matches – home and away against Fryston Warriors and also away at Westgate – but the players showed their strength of character and resilience to win a nail-biting Grand Final last weekend.

The final at the Horsfall Community Stadium in Bradford ended in a dramatic 20-18 victory for the resurgent Panthers.

Coach Ritchie Hawkyard said: “We set our goals at the beginning of the season and we wanted to try and go unbeaten again and win all three cups and the league but it wasn’t to be.

“We were hit by injuries and halfway through the season we had seven or eight players out.

“We lost twice against Fryston and also at Westgate and, to be fair, that’s still only one home game we’ve lost in three years.

“In hindsight it was probably a blessing in disguise to get beaten as by that point we were 54 or 55 games unbeaten and the pressure’s on to keep that run going.

“The opposition turned up every week like it was their cup final and everyone wanted to knock us off our perch.”

Newsome Panthers clinch the Grand Final. Images by: STEVE BILTCLIFFE

Newsome finished the regular season in second place two points behind Fryston but they got their revenge in the Grand Final.

Hawkyard said: “Fryston are a good team and they beat us both times when we had a weakened team out. They probably thought they’d beaten us twice so they could beat us again in the final. That was our motivation.

“We dominated for 65 or 70 minutes but they came back. We showed our character and kept going for 80 minutes and found a way. To win in the last minute means it’s something that lives long in the memory.

“Everyone who watched the game said it was a great advert for amateur rugby league.”

With two trophies in the cabinet, Panthers are now aiming to retain the Holliday Cup.

They take on Moldgreen at the DRAM Centre today (Saturday October 7) with Almondbury Spartans waiting in the final, which would be a repeat of last year. Panthers are boosted by the return of Rob Denton after injury.

Moldgreen are two divisions below but there will be a big crowd with local pride at stake and Hawkyard warned against complacency.

“We want to win the treble and they stand in our way,” he said. “We need to stick to what we do and if we show the right attitude we will win the game.”