As reward for beating Haresfinch in the opening round of the 2024 Challenge Cup, North West Mens League team Orrell St James were rewarded with a home fixture against National Conference League Premier division side York Acorn in what looked on paper to be a massively one-sided affair.
The visitors were massive favourites with everyone but diehard Orrell supporters expecting a big win for the Yorkshiremen, but the Challenge Cup is a strange beast and if Orrell could find the perfect eighty minutes then they could sneak into tomorrow night’s third round draw.
With just thirty-five second on the clock George Hunt crashed over the line off an Ant Chilton pass to put York into a four-point lead and serve as a stark illustration that it was going to be a tough afternoon. Chilton added the conversion.
Rather than capitulate, Orrell dug deep and ploughed their effort into defence preventing what had looked like an inevitable scoring onslaught.
Orrell’s Jake Williams was sin-binned on thirty-two for a swinging arm, the referee finally losing patience after repeated penalties conceded by the home side.
There was a long break in play after a serious injury to York´s Luke Swales on thirty-five, the players returning to the changing rooms for almost an hour and after the game resumed there were no further first half incidents of note.
One minutes after the restart Anthony Chilton made the most of a dropped high ball as he dove over the line from acting half back for the second York try of the afternoon. Chilton converted his own try for a 12-0 lead.
Orrell registered their first points of the game on forty-six when Jack Gallagher took a neat pass in plenty of space to dive in at the right-hand corner. Brad Calland converted brilliantly from the touchline for 6-12, the home side right back in a game in which they had clearly been second best.
The chink of light was quickly extinguished when fast hands from right to left put Parker over to score in the corner. Chilton converted from the touchline for 18-6. York were taking control on fifty-four with Hammerton offloading to Hill to dot down in the corner. This time Chilton was off target but at 22-6 the writing was on the wall for Orrell.
Just after the hour mark the home side were in again when Bradley Kelk took a neat inside pass to dive over. Calland added the conversion, again from wide for 12-22.
Despite the best efforts of Orrell they couln't find their way through the York Acorn defence for a third time and the visitors defence held on for a ten point win and progress into the third round and the entry of the semi-professional sides. Orrell will regret their early mistakes in both halves which cost them two tries, York knowing that they were in a battle to make progress.
Orrell St James: Burns, Gallagher (T), McLoughlin, Taylor, Round, Causey, McHugh, Whittle, Morters, Siyani, Ellis, Gallagher, Calland (2G). Subs: Rogers, Kelk (T), Williams (SB on 32), Findlow. 18th Man: ?.
York Acorn: Chilton M, Worthington, Swales, Potter, Parker (T), Chilton A (T, 3G), Hammerton, Prescott, Crawford, Byrnes, Hunt (T), Myers, Shepperton. Subs: Woodall, Welburn, Hill (T), Burns. 18th Man: ?.
Score Progression: 0-4, 0-6, (SB) : HT: 0-10, 0-12, 4-12, 6-12, 6-16, 6-18, 6-22, 10-22, 12-22 :FT.
Lead Exchanges: York.
Referee: Warren Turley.