A 26-20 victory for the Bramley Buffaloes at Warrington Woolston on Saturday sets up a titanic tussle with Bradford Dudley Hill next week at Stanningley.
Woolston, who went into the game as league leaders, were undone thanks to a monumental defensive effort from the Buffaloes and some clinical finishing.
The Buffaloes drew first blood on 15 minutes when a rampaging run from Danny O’Connor set up Marc Gibson for the touchdown. On the half hour Bramley stretched their lead to ten points after great work by Chris Mills and Ross Gratton saw Simon Bowker canter over to score.
Chris Gardner stepped up to convert that try and was on hand again on 38 minutes to despatch a penalty. On the stroke of half-time Bramley made it 18-0 with Bowker setting up Aussie centre Paul Cummings for a try which Gardner ably converted.
Woolston hit back with a try early in the second half but a second try from Cummings proved the gamebreaker with the midfield powerhouse intercepting and sprinting a full 70 metres to score on 50 minutes. A penalty for Gardner on 63 minutes made it 26-10 but the visitors were in for a rough ride.
Rovers battled back with two tries in the last five minutes and were camped on the Buffaloes line but resilient defence kept the Wilderspool outfit at bay.
Buffaloes coach Phil Hellewell was ecstatic: “I was a very relieved man when the full-time whistle went and this really was a victory to savour.
“We played very well throughout in all areas of the game and held on to the bitter end. This really does boost our chances of getting a top four spot and who knows, maybe more?
“It proves that anyone can be beaten in this division but it will count for nothing next week as we face Dudley Hill. They are in top form and it promises to be an unmissable classic,” added Phil who is urging for the whole of Bramley to turn out in support of rejuvenated Buffaloes.
“We need as much support as possible next Saturday as this really does lift the players when they take to the field. We want our growing band of loyal supporters to really turn up the heat!” concluded Phil.