Andrew Trotman’s scintillating hat-trick took Wetherby step closer to a dream end of season clash at Twickenham.
The winger found himself on the end of three excellent team moves as the Reds recorded a comfortable victory over Merseyside outfit Wallasey 25-8 away on Saturday.
Wetherby will face either Buxton or Bedford Queens in the semi-finals next month, with the winner earning a spot in the National Junior Vase final at England’s national stadium on May 14.
Dubbed as the biggest game in the club’s history, Wetherby travelled to the Wirral to face Wallasey on the back of a tough draw against Goole the week before.
Wetherby controlled the early periods with strong carries from the forwards led by Tom Bottomley and Mattie Chappel.
Early pressure turned into points as Wetherby battered both in attack and defence and bought two penalties. Grange Park golden boy Conor Sheridan missed on his first attempt but succeeded with a simpler second kick.
A knock-on close to the Wallasey line gave the home team a scrum on their own five metre line but the ball was again hooked back on the Wetherby side and pressure from the Reds pack brought a penalty try.
Wallasey looked to hit back and after a poor attempt to clear their lines,
Wetherby surrendered possession. Nick Oates attempted to snipe in defence and was adjudged to have deliberately slowed the ball down and was sent to the bin for ten minutes. The resultant penalty was kicked.
Wetherby continued to play with tempo even with a man short and with nothing on, Sheridan came up with something special. He kicked ahead and turned the opposition fullback, chasing the kick well before winning a penalty. It was taken quickly and as the ball was shipped wide second row Tom Bottomley off-loaded to Andrew Trotman to run in an unconverted try to end the half.
The first try after half time came off the back of a good kick and chase by Harry Kaye. His pressure allowed the Wetherby backs space to set Trotman down the left wing for his second try.
The Wetherby set piece continued to pose threats to the Merseysiders and was the platform for Wetherby’s fourth try.
A neat change of direction off the back of a scrum gave Sheridanspace to cut through the defence and set Andrew Trotman free for a well deserved hat-trick.
Wallasey responded with more intent than they showed at any point in the first half but were consistently met by strong tackles by Wetherby back-rowers Rob Adair and George Gilbert.
A rare Wetherby error allowed the home side to kick to the corner and a well worked maul helped them drive over for a try that threatened to bring them back into the game.
The game then started to fizzle towards its climax but there were hairy moments as Conor Sheridanand Danny Warden threw horror passes to leave team mates in trouble.
The game threatened to have one final twist as Barney Roberts was sin binned for not rolling away but Wetherby calmed it down to reach the semi-finals.