Bentley ARLFC 16 Stanningley 22: Bentley exit Challenge Cup with heads held high

Bentley ARLFC bowed out of the Betfred Challenge Cup but their narrow defeat to Stanningley should provide plenty of optimism ahead of their debut season in the National Conference League.

By Paul Goodwin
Sunday, 16th January 2022, 5:02 pm
Updated Sunday, 16th January 2022, 5:02 pm
Jordan Seaman runs clear to score for Bentley. Photo: Marie Caley
Jordan Seaman runs clear to score for Bentley. Photo: Marie Caley

Andy Whitfield’s side certainly showed what they are all about in an entertaining first round tie played in front of a healthy crowd at Wheatley Hills RUFC.

Leeds-based Stanningley, coached by Huddersfield Giants’ Ashton Golding, are expected to challenge for promotion to the NCL Premier Division this season, while Bentley will enter the competition at Division Three level when the season gets underway in March.

So the Doncaster club can take great heart from the way they competed and made their more established opposition work extremely hard for a four tries to two victory.

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Bentley celebrate Jordan Seaman's try. Photo: Marie Caley

Bentley actually led 10-4 after recovering brilliantly to conceding a try in just the second minute.

But the game swung on two Stanningley tries either side of half time and Bentley could have few complaints with the scoreline as the visitors’ extra quality eventually told over the 80 minutes.

When winger Ben Selby acrobatically found the corner from Stanningley’s first set the home fans might have feared the worst.

But Bentley came roaring back and levelled the scores when winger Marty Hall crashed over in the corner.

Action from Bentley's Challenge Cup defeat to Stanningley. Photo: Marie Caley

The home side, who reached the third round of the Challenge Cup in 2020, were dreaming of another upset midway through the first half when the impressive Jordan Seaman held off his full back to run in from distance.

Jack Craswell’s conversion made it 10-4 and for a brief period Stanningley looked rattled.

However, the away side grew into the game and their pressure paid off when Mekhi Bridgeman-Reaney scored a vital try on the stroke of half time to send the teams in level at the break.

Bentley were on top again after the restart but they were left winded by Selby’s length-of-the-field interception try and Jack Sykes’ close range score.

However, their spirit shone through as Jack Craswell teed up brother Ryan for a consolation try on the hooter converted by Kieran Lewis.

Bentley: Bates, Hall, Marshall, Richards, Hill, Pownall, J Craswell, Middleton, Flounders, R Craswell, Starbuck, Bertman, Seaman. Interchange: Hornsby, Marchant, I’Anson, Lewis.

Stanningley: Butterhill, Bridgeman-Reaney, Vincent, McGuigan, Selby, Davison, Flannery, Ruan, Barker, Henry, Hart, Sykes, Adams. Interchange: Barcoe, Salkelo, Kirk, Cox.

Referee: Caitlin Beevers

For more pictures see this week’s Doncaster Free Press