Bentley beat RAF to reach Challenge Cup second round

Bentley ARLFC cleared the first round hurdle of the Coral Rugby League Challenge Cup for the second successive season.

Sunday, 12th January 2020, 4:17 pm
Updated Monday, 13th January 2020, 9:29 am
PIcture courtesy of Bentley ARLFC
PIcture courtesy of Bentley ARLFC

Last season’s Yorkshire Men’s League Premier Division champions, who beat the British Army at home in their debut in the competition 12 months earlier, grounded the RAF 18-10 in an entertaining contest at RAF Cranwell.

Bentley took an early lead when strong-running second-rower Thomas Flounders, who proved a handful throughout for the home side, finished well from scrum-half Jack Crasswell’s pass.

Johnny Woodcock, one of two former Doncaster RLFC regulars in the Bentley side, added the extras to make it 6-0.

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The Doncaster side, who had good support, could have been in again five minutes later but for a wayward pass to winger Dean Colton following a bout of snappy handling.

With half-backs Liam Bradley and Tom Moore varying their tactics, the servicemen came more into the game and it was no more than they deserved when they cut the deficit to just two points with a 21st minute unconverted try.

Bentley regained the initiative and powerful winger Grant Hill, another to catch the eye with ball in hand, and Woodock, were held just short in quick succession.

The visitors remained on the offensive but handling mistakes in the RAF half resulted in promising moves breaking down.

Colton then had a try disallowed for a forward pass but there was no denying Flounders from close range on the stroke of half time after some good support play down the right.

With the game, which was played in a good spirit, still in the balance at the start of the second half, Bentley scored the all-important first try – Seaton diving on a clever grubber kick by hooker Scott Smith to make it 14-4.

But not before Hill, who had almost scored himself in the build-up play, had bundled Tom Marshall into touch inside his own half after James Kilner had got away down the right in a two-on-one situation.

Bentley were more dominant for long periods of the second half than they had been in the first and used their big forwards to good effect.

They gave themselves more breathing space when centre Jon Marshall dived over wide out following a couple of long passes after Flounders had helped create the position with another strong run.

With Bradley again pulling the strings, the RAF found their second wind late on and after going close on a couple of occasions Sam Roberts touched down for their second try.

Had it not been for a terrific cover tackle by Lewis on his own line Marshall would have been over in the corner but Bentley held out for a deserved victory.