BIRSTALL VICTORIA scored a late try to secure a 46-42 victory at Sheffield Hillsborough Hawks in a high-scoring match.
Birstall started the game full of confidence and a 10th-minute try from centre Jonny Parrish was followed five minutes later by winger Daniel Kirk. Both were converted by second-row Matthew Gowland.
After the relatively easy start, the hosts bounced back with two tries on the back of several penalties – although there was a question mark over the second after the Sheffield player appeared to be held up over the tryline.
The visitors were playing some superb rugby with ball in hand and added another two first-half tries from loose forward Ryan Jackson and player-coach Brendan Sheridan, taking the half-time score to 18-24.
The second half started with an early try and goal from Sheffield to level the scores, but in the next 10-minute spell of the game Birstall were red-hot and ran in three excellent tries.
Sheridan scored his second of the game, with a great solo effort from 30 yards out.
Captain Matty Smith – playing at prop – scored next after a classy inside pass from winger Kirk, and it was Kirk adding his second just three minutes later after receiving Arundel’s pass to score in the corner.
With 25 minutes to go and a 16-point advantage Birstall looked in complete control, but unfortunately the penalties started again and Sheffield scored two quick tries.
The hosts then added a third, despite the ball appearing to have been knocked on by both sides, the Sheffield full-back hacked the ball upfield to score under the posts.
The decision to allow the try and give Sheffield the lead pushed the Vic players to boiling point and after heated exchanges between both teams and the referee, Birstall had three in the sin-bin and Sheffield had one player sent off.
With less than a minute to go, the 10 men of Birstall forced an error from the kick-off and after backchat from the Sheffield players, it was Birstall who received the penalty.
Sheridan kicked for touch, leaving the Vic 20 metres out from the Sheffield line, and with only seconds remaining, Jackson managed to get one hand free to offload the ball to captain Smith who touched down to seal the win for the Birstall side.
This result takes Birstall to third in the table, and only four points off current leaders Scarborough Pirates, who travel to Birstall tomorrow (Sat 3pm).