On Sunday in Betfred Challenge Cup Round 1 Heworth, making their first appearance in the competition for eleven years, progressed to the second round after an outstanding team performance earned them a 22-6 success, in a tough physical encounter, over fellow NCL division 1 outfit Oulton Raiders in front of a sizeable crowd at Elmpark Way. The Villagers who were never behind in the match led 10-6 at the break and despite a determined effort by the visitors, produced a superb defensive display to keep them scoreless in the second period whilst crossing for two further tries of their own to complete a well-deserved victory.
The Raiders started promisingly after dominating the early possession and making strong yardage to create good field position but were unable to penetrate the home defence. Heworth though remained patient and gradually worked their way into the match and the deadlock was broken after 19 minutes when scrum half Liam Jackson found a gap in the defensive line and sent prop Liam Richmond crashing over close to the posts for substitute Jack Sadler to add the extras. The visitors however, hit back just four minutes later with an unconverted try by centre Adrian Holdsworth to reduce the deficit to two points. On 28 minutes the Villagers restored their six-point advantage after some good handling exposed their opponent's right edge and young winger George Atang dived over in the corner for his first try in the senior side. Both teams made strenuous efforts to gain the upper hand for the remainder of the half without success but in the final minute Raiders winger Keiron Walpole slotted a penalty goal to reduce the deficit to 10-6.
The Black and Whites had a dream start to the second period when in the opening minute the visitors failed to deal with a high attacking kick from Jackson and winger Billy Sturdy pounced to cross for an excellent try which Sadler converted to make it 16-6. Oulton showed that they were not about to lie down and exerted strong pressure on the home line but were repelled by some resolute defending and it was Heworth who struck the killer blow with quarter of an hour remaining. Jackson was again the provider this time with a neat grubber kick through the advancing defence which centre Harrison Briggs followed up to touch down and Sadler's third conversion completed the scoring to send the Villagers through to the second round for an intriuging encounter with League 1 professionals Hunslet whose Chairman is none other than Heworth President Kenny Sykes. Sturdy took the Villagers man of the match award.