Dewsbury Celtic U16s are left disappointed again by another cup exit despite a second half fightback against Newsome Panthers
Celtic U16s played host to Huddersfield rivals Newsome Panthers in this Yorkshire Junior League U16 Continuation Cup Quarter Final, the two sides having not yet competed this season in the league. The visitors top the league with a 100% record.
Celtic immediately gifted possession to the Panthers with a knock on deep in their own half, the visitors capitalising with an opening converted score in the left hand corner. In an almost identical move five minutes later, the Panthers increased their lead to 0 – 12 following another converted try after exploiting some poor Celtic defense wide out on the left.
Celtic continued to make uncharacteristic errors and give away unnecessary penalties for off side before rallying slightly on twelve minutes when Lewis Teale finished off Celtic's first full attacking set with a relieving try in the right hand corner.
With the scores on 4 – 12 a succession of penalties and further errors saw the Panthers march up field as Celtic gifted them territory and possession.
On 18 minutes, Celtic eventually paid the price with the visitors scoring a third converted try and extending the Panthers lead out to 4 – 18.
Ten minutes from the break did see an inventive move from Celtic advancing at speed up the right hand flank, George Hirst completing the move with a well-deserved try tight in the right hand corner.
The visitors added a penalty kick and a converted try in the last five minutes of the first half with Celtic going into the sheds at half time trailing 8 – 24 after an indifferent performance.
Celtic however opened the second period much stronger, attacking the Panthers line from deep with some great, more expansive rugby on display.
Hard-working Ethan O'Hanlon finished off a good Celtic attack when he barged his way over from short range after just three minutes after the break.
Charlie Heaton added the extras to reduce the deficit to 14 – 24. Three minutes later and Celtic went on the offensive again with hard-running prop George Bussey eating up the metres in the centre of the park with a powerful carry, setting up a strong platform to eventually send Joel Russell over in the left corner following some great rugby from the green and whites.
Heaton's kick unfortunately hit the upright leaving the home side still trailing at 18 – 24.
Celtic's comeback was short lived however as the Panthers ran in two more converted tries in the space of five minutes to reassert their dominance in the game at 18 -36.
A resolute and spirited Celtic dug deep however and they played some great rugby with only ten minutes remaining on the clock. Jack Kelly found his way over from dummy half just shy of the Panthers line for a try which raised Celtic’s intensity. Heaton added the extras with the boot to narrow the gap down to 24 – 36.
Celtic continued to press forward, shipping the ball skillfully from right to left before full back Jacob Feiweles crossed the line to set up a tense, nail-biting finale with just five minutes remaining and the score line finely balanced at 30 – 36 after Heaton's conversion.
Celtic threw everything into attack and tried desperately to break through the Panthers desperate defenses with just minutes remaining. Jacob Carr barged his way over the line close to the left hand corner flag but was held up and bundled into touch in goal. The Panthers eventually ran out 30 – 36 winners despite Celtic’s heroics in the second period, yet again paying the price of an indifferent first thirty minutes and unable to complete a memorable comeback.
Newsome Panthers’ coach praised Celtic’s efforts and applauded what was a great spectacle of junior rugby league. He added that the Celtic’s halves had dominated during long periods in the game while sighting prop George Bussey’s contribution as exceptional. It was another very close game between the two sides and he looked forward to meeting in the league later in the season.
Celtic coach Paul Heaton said that the final score line flattered his Celtic side and full credit went to the visitors. He highlighted that his side were still struggling to achieve their full potential, going on to admitting to being frustrated as a coach after a very poor first half performance by his side. He praised the impact that Jacob Sheard and Liam Metcalf had had in the front row off the bench before awarding the Celtic Man of the Match to Ethan O'Hanlon.