East book quarter-final spot

Gavin Hunter about to touch down
Gavin Hunter about to touch down

EAST booked a quarter final spot at home against Wigan St Pats on November 12 in the NCL Interim competition with a hard fought victory against Wath Brow Hornets.

Three of the youngsters who travelled to Egremont the previous week were rewarded with inclusion in the squad, Andrew Ball, Sam Grainey and Robbie Smythe. Second team captain Mark Starkie was also called in and former Leigh Centurions academy player Ryan O’Toole made his East first team debut.

East opened the scoring within the first five minutes, Steve Ormersher breaking through the opposition line on half way slipped the ball to full back Mark Kay who found U18’s hooker Nicky Ratcliffe in support who managed to kick through for the try line as he was tackled, centre Gavin Hunter shooting through to collect and ground the ball.

Minutes later Hunter crossed again and the conversion from Adam Holland gave East a 10-0 lead. Wast Brow responded on 12 minutes, Ian Curnow reaching out to score, Peter Caddy adding the conversion. East looked close to increasing their lead via Lyndon Robertson (held short) and Adrian Dootson (ball stripped) but it was the visitors who next scored when Carl Dixon scored, Caddy adding the extras to give Wath Brow a two point advantage.

East regained the lead on 25 minutes when Steve Ormersher, playing his final game for East, blasted through three would-be tacklers for a true forward’s try, Holland landing the conversion for a 16-12 lead.

Then former Whitehaven and Cook Islands half-back Leroy Joe managed to slip the ball out of the tackle to young Kyle Lofthouse to jink through with Caddy landing the kick to give Wath Brow a half time lead of 16-18.

In the second half Hunter collected a short ball from Danny Kilshaw at full flight and shot through the Wath Brow defence to score his hat-trick, Holland’s conversion taking East four points clear at 22-18.

With 10 minutes remaining Leroy Joe put up a high ball on the last tackle close to the East line, Scott Pink out-leaping the defence to catch and ground 10 metres to the left of the uprights to level at 22-22.

Caddy missed the goal for the first time in the game.

But Troy Brophy cut back inside off Kilshaw to score the match winner in the final minute, Holland slotting the conversion over.

Saturday’s KO is 2.30pm at Ledgard Avenue.