thEY have done it.
After 18 years of hurt Wetherby RUFC have won promotion, and moved out of the doldrums, earning the right to play next season in Yorkshire Four after a magnificent season on the pitch.
Saturday’s superb 76-5 win over Hornsea sealed their fate and now all eyes are on tomorrow’s trip to Knaresborough (3pm ko).
Victory in their away visit to Hay-a-Park would sew up the Yorkshire Five title and spark wild celebrations at Grange Park.
A delighted Wetherby coach Wayne Pawson said: “My job was to prepare the players to play error free attacking rugby with pace and precision.
“That was demonstrated superbly on Saturday as the team ran in 11 tries from anywhere on the field. Wetherby have never won 13 league games in a row before so this team is history in the making.
“The club have gone from strength to strength over the last two seasons.”
On Saturday it took Wetherby only three minutes to open the scoring when Dan Simpson raced in for a converted try.
Hornsea tried to hit back but Wetherby scored next with a beauty.
The Grange Park forwards drove the ball into the visitors 22 with Nick Oates appearing to have messed up the chance.
However he then fed a sublime reverse pass to Alex Fraser who gratefully dived over.
It was the wily veteran Oates scored next after plucking the ball from the base of scrum.
He beat three defenders for speed to crash over the whitewash.
The Reds’ teamwork was in evidence again after 18 minutes.
Pawson’s men strung a number of passess and off loads together before a brilliant pick up by Paul Jefferson allowed Nick Young to score.
The visitors had a brief period of possession and tried again their tactic of pick up and drive but the home defence held out. The next try was a great effort by right wing Ben Dalby after a line out was won on the left.
He shaped to run outside his opposite number but curved infield to score a try which was loudly applauded by an appreciative crowd.
Wetherby crossed again when James Gibson proved unstoppable as he galloped round a despairing defence.
Soon after Dan Simpson and Ben Dalby fed the young Tom Bottomley to add another touchdown before the break.
Immediately into the second half Myles Oates got a wonderful individual try turning the defence inside out before touching down under the sticks.
To their credit Hornsea hit back and were rewarded with a try scored by their speedy winger.
But Wetherby were soon back on the attack.
Gibson picked up a loose ball and handed to Bottomley.
The youngster then threw a miss pass to winger Luke Wraith who sprinted through and dived under the posts.
Dan Simpson then got his second try after some good work by Sean Lally.
The visitors were unable to mount any attacks thanks to Wetherby’s flankers Olte, Youlden and Paul Jefferson who who were constantly quickest to the breakdown.
Myles Oates then wowed the crowd with a perfectly taken drop goal before Wetherby scored their final points of the afternoon.
Simpson was the architect- Gibson the point scorer to wrap up a fanastic afternoon for the club. He also added nine conversions throughout the match.
The applause for a stunning victory echoed over a happy Grange Park with promotion accomplished.
“Credit belongs to club captain Nick Olte who has been tireless in his approach to training, playing and off field aspects, backed up by James Gibson who has been one of the star performers at number 8,” added Pawson.
“We are very happy to have gained promotion, but Knaresborough is a game we are very focused on and it would be very satisfying to win a League Leaders championship shield.
“There is no secret to success, it has been a combination of ambitious players with a supportive motivated back room team.”
For a report on their final game of the season see next Friday’s Wetherby News.