MIRFIELD STAGS are through to the BARLA National Cup quarter-finals after overcoming two-time winners Wath Brow Hornets in a close-fought affair.
The cup rolled into Hillrich Park for the first time on Saturday, and it was Richard Silverwood’s men who raced into an early lead.
Despite a late charge from the visitors, the Stags defended valiantly to hold on for an impressive triumph on home soil.
Stags skipper Reece Spurr opened the scoring after a somewhat one-sided opening quarter of an hour, with Braden Hunter adding the extras.
Stand-off Hunter stepped up to make it 8-0 as the second quarter began, goaling a penalty from in front of the uprights.
The Cumbrian visitors were not going to give up without a fight, however, beginning their comeback just moments later.
Wath Brow clawed their way back into contention with a fine try and they went into the break trailing by just two points.
But the Hornets’ charge was halted just prior to the hour mark when loose forward AJ Boardman landed a drop-goal to make it 9-6.
The closing stages of the tie were extremely tense and Wath Brow threw everything at Silverwood’s side.
But Mirfield, much to the delight of the home crowd, held firm and clung on to ensure victory over tough opposition.
Next up for the Stags is a Pennine League Championship clash away at New Earswick All Blacks tomorrow (Sat, 2.30pm).