Big White Rose double-header approaches

HOLDERS Lock Lane and Upton will face off at the LD Nutrition Stadium on Sunday (30 December) in the BARLA Yorkshire Cup Final.

The Lane are seeking their third White Rose trophy success in the BARLA era, having beaten Jubilee 19-13 in 1982-83 prior to accounting for Ovenden 31-10 last year.

Upton, who are making their first appearance in the Yorkshire Cup Final, are on centre stage after Doncaster Toll Bar were found to have fielded three ineligible players in their 22-16 semi-final win. Lock Lane, meanwhile, edged Castleford neighbours Cutsyke Raiders 32-24 at the penultimate stage.

Lane coach Paul Couch – whose father, Steve, picked up winners’ medals in 1975-76, with Pointer Panthers, and with Lock Lane seven years’ later – said: “We’ve a younger squad than twelve months’ ago, but last year’s experience will certainly stand us in good stead.

“We’ve entered the Yorkshire Cup for the last two years partly to keep our lads together and the strategy has served us well, in fact I’d recommend that other Kingstone Press National Conference League clubs do the same.

“It’s been a wholly positive experience each time and we’ll now head into the NCL season in March, when we’ll be back in the Premier Division, with the young players who have shown up so well in the Yorkshire Cup pushing for places. We’ll certainly have no qualms about pitting them against the likes of Hunslet Club Parkside or West Hull.”

Upton Secretary Dave Welsh said: “It’s the biggest game in our history. We’ve won trophies in the Doncaster & District League, and the Wakefield League, and we reached the semi-finals of the BARLA National Cup in 1988, losing to Thatto Heath, but this is a new level.

“We’ve not reached the final in the way we would have wanted and we’ll obviously be underdogs. I’m just hoping that we don’t freeze on the big occasion but we’ve a good mix of youth and experience and I think we’ll acquit ourselves well under our coach Fran Welsh.

“Lee Land has been an inspiration as captain and of course played for Fryston in a National Cup Final. Such as Steve Beal and Jack Iley also bring a lot to the table and we’ll be going all out for victory.”

Welsh added: “I’m delighted that BARLA has reverted to a Yuletide slot for the final, which is something I and others pushed for. There will hopefully be a big crowd for a game which involves a lot of friends, with Lane coach Paul Couch having spent some time at Upton previously.”

Siddal and West Hull, meanwhile, will square up in the Under 18s final, which gets underway at noon, with the Open Age game kicking off at 2.30pm. BARLA has yet to confirm the match officials for either contest.

Admission is £5 (£3 concessions, Under 16s free).