Bentley ARLFC 18 British Army 16: Doncaster club secure memorable Challenge Cup win

Bentley celebrate victory
Bentley celebrate victory

Bentley ARLFC outgunned the Army to secure a memorable 18-16 victory in the first round of the Coral Challenge Cup.

The Doncaster club were considered underdogs by many but produced a determined display to the delight of a bumper crowd at Woodside Playing Field in Scawthorpe. 

Bentley, who play in the Yorkshire Men’s Summer League Premier Division, had only played one warm-up game since September.

But their fitness levels were testament to the work they have put in since the draw was made.

The hard-working Bentley pack, led by inspirational skipper Scott Smith, laid the foundations for the victory by edging the forward battle.

The back division also stepped up to the plate with full-back Alex Bates, winger Marty Hill and centre Johnny Marshall among those to catch the eye.

The Army dominated much of the early play with some strong running and slick handling.

They took a deserved 6-0 lead on when centre Pete Holmes sliced through out wide from 15 metres out for a try converted by stand-off Kieron Roche.

Although defending well, Bentley proved their own worst enemies at times in the first half and numerous moves broke down in and around the 20.

They had to wait for Smith to duck under a tackle to score from close range near enough for stand-off Jack Crasswell to convert.

Roche, whose grubber-kicks had troubled Bentley on several occasions in the first half, kicked a penalty to secure his side an 8-6 interval lead which would have been more but for some terrific try-line defence in the closing stages.

Bentley got their noses in front for the first time when loose-forward Jake Starbuck, a former RAF captain, crashed over under the posts from Smth’s long ball.

Crasswell again added the extras to make it 12-8.

Former Leeds Rhinos Academy prop Jamie I’anson charged at the line and, although stopped just short by weight of numbers, he managed to get the ball out to Bates. Crasswell’s conversion made it 18-10.

Having reached the third round last season the visitors were never going to go down without a fight and so it proved.

They went close on both flanks prior to winger Uraia Naulusala touching down for a late converted try from a cross-field kick.

The game remained in the balance until the final whistle which saw dozens of spectators rushing onto the field to salute their heroes.