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Title agony for York Acorn
3:25pm Monday 29th October 2012 in Rugby League
PROUD coach Scott Rhodes was full of praise for his promoted York Acorn ARLC squad – despite seeing their title hopes dashed by Egremont Rangers.
The Blue and Golds crashed to a 29-20 defeat against National Conference League division one championship rivals Egremont in front of a 500-strong crowd at Thanet Road on Saturday.
That means Acorn will finish second and the title will go to either Castleford Panthers or Rangers, who need to win their last two games of the season to gatecrash the top three.
Having steered the club back into the premier division, Rhodes said: “I can’t speak highly enough of the players. It’s been a great effort.”
The Blue and Golds started their title showdown superbly, racing into a 12-point lead.
Nick Speck darted over from a play-the-ball then, on 16 minutes, Tom Hill handed off his opposing centre to touch down.
Antony Chilton converted both attempts, the second a towering effort from the touchline.
BARLA international stand-off John Paul Brocklebank then began to pull the strings for Rangers and he crossed for a good try on 20 minutes, goaling from wide out.
On 33 minutes, Egremont centre Liam Crellin latched onto a loose ball after another Brocklebank kick. The conversion levelled the scores.
Chilton got Acorn back in front on the stoke of half-time after a penalty for a high tackle.
The first score in the second half was going to be pivotal and the visitors got it when winger Dale Horn crossed on 42 minutes after Acorn failed to deal with a high kick.
Acorn hit back on 45 minutes when Mike Embleton charged over after a barnstorming run and Chilton goaled for a four-point lead.
On 56 minutes, Brocklebank again weaved his magic and jinked over.
The conversion handed the visitors a two-point lead and Acorn’s intensity dropped off.
Forward Richard Farrer took advantage with a try that Brocklebank goaled before substitute Peter Murphy dropped a field goal to secure the points.
Farrer took the man of the match award for the visitors, with Joe Porter getting the Acorn accolade.
Aaron Thompson and Hill also had big games.
Assessing the promotion-winning campaign as a whole, Rhodes said: “When you look at the players we haven’t had this year, it makes the achievement even greater.
“Johnny Waldron has only played six times, Leigh Rientoul has played about the same. Nic Caldwell was suspended for six games, and we lost Martin Wood and Matt Withers, to his knee injury, early in the season.
“We also lost Jonny Liddell and Kyle Palmer before the season started, and they’re all good players who you would expect to be first-team regulars.
“The players we’ve brought in from the reserves and the under-18s have been absolutely fantastic. Honestly they’ve been so good.
“At the start of the season we were thinking about consolidation after relegation but the team and these young lads have just got better and better with every game.
“Against Millom (in the penultimate game of term) we also had Mike Embleton out, Joe Budd away and Danny Caldwell out, yet we went to a place like that and got a result. Millom had won their last six games at home.”