The second round of the President's Cup was played out last night at Lock Lane in Castleford with two entertaining games that brought wins for Great Britain Police and UK Armed Forces.
The first encounter of the evening pitted England Universities, fresh from a 32-12 win over GB Teachers, up against GB Police and the Police side raced into a 10-0 lead with early tries from prop forwards Ste Costello and Sam Wood, Sam Leatherbarrow converting one.
Quickfire tries from Nathan Taylor and Jack Cherry, the first converted by Jack Quinn saw the Universities side draw level but the final ten minutes of the half belonged to the Police.
Rob Worrincy picked up a loose pass to go 85 metres and two more tries from Jon O'Donnell and Ryan Pickles in the minutes before half-time, aided by Scott Leatherbarrow's goalkicking put the Police 26-10 up after Leon Stewart picked up a yellow card for the Universities.
The second half saw GB Universities surge back into the contest. Sean Croston scored the first try from a Quinn kick before Wood was sin-binned for the Police. During his absence, the students scored two tries. Leon Stewart and Tyler Hepple got over the line with Quinn's boot squaring things at 26-26.
Stewart's second try had the Universities 32-26 ahead but the Police had belief and with Scott Leatherbarrow and hooker Ben Dawson, two of the outstanding players. Costello crossed for his second try in the final ten minutes to level matters before Callum Sampson supported to go under the posts in the last minute and Leatherbarrow completed a five-goal haul.
GB Police 38
- Tries: Ste Costello 2, Sam Wood, Rob Worrincy, Jon O'Donnell, Ryan Pickles, Callum Sampson.
- Goals: Scott Leatherbarrow 5.
England Universities 32
- Tries: Nathan Taylor, Jack Cherry, Sean Croston, Leon Stewart 2, Tyler Hepple.
- Goals: Jack Quinn 4.
UK Armed Forces and GB Teachers then took centre stage with the Teachers surprising their opponents with a magnificent effort.
The first ten minutes were scoreless before Harry Hayes plunged into the corner for the Teachers and Rob Marsh converted. Ethan Cross was halted just short of doubling the Teachers advantage and UK Armed Forces responded with a cheeky dummy half try from Kevin Brown, Danny Johnson converting.
Elliot Liku then claimed an audacious try, chipping forward and collecting to sail under the posts. Marsh goaled. Just before the half-hour mark, the Forces worked a sweeping try for fullback Jake Boardman but it was too far out to convert and the sides went in at half-time with the Teachers holding a slender 12-10 advantage.
Jordan Kerman was a key figure for the Armed Forces in the second half and opened scoring a couple of minutes in. Another two tries fell the way of the Forces with Olly Toms and James Parry both getting through the line and Johnson's boot advancing the score to 12-28.
The Teachers continued to battle with Jack Walton impressing and scored again through a dummy half raid by Luke Johnson, but the Armed Forces soon found a way through again with Kerman grabbing his second try, and then near the end, Declan Baines completed try-scoring with Johnson booting his sixth goal to secure a hard-fought 18-40 success.
GB Teachers 18
- Tries: Harry Hayes, Elliot Liku, Luke Johnson.
- Goals: Rob Marsh 3.
UK Armed Forces 40
- Tries: Kevin Brown, Jake Boardman, Jordan Kerman 2, Olly Toms, James Parry, Declan Baines.
- Goals: Danny Johnson 6.
The final round of action and the title will be decided at Leigh Miners Rangers Twist Lane ground on 25th May 2022.