Radclyffe Reserves lift Hellawell Shield after pulsating final

Radclyffe reserves lifted the Hellawell Shield after edging Salford Storm 6-5 on penalties in a pulsating final. 

In a weekend of tight and tense finals, this was perhaps the most thrilling of the three to date. 

Played at West Didsbury & Chorlton FC, the game swung back and forth, with two goals in the final five first-half minutes giving Radclyffe a healthy and deserved two-goal advantage.

But Salford stormed back after the restart with two goals of their own and it was fitting that only sudden death penalties could separate the two sides who had the same number of points after the end of the regular season.

Radclyffe flew out of the traps in the first half, only to be denied by the excellent Darren McCartney in Salford Storm’s goal. 

He could do nothing about Kade Howarth’s 40th-minute penalty though, which broke the deadlock and Howarth doubled his and Radclyffe’s goal tally for the afternoon just before half-time. 

Salford’s Shea Smyth notched a penalty of his own within three minutes of the restart and Dale Taylor completed the comeback 15 minutes from time. 

But it was heartbreak for Salford Storm, who couldn’t convert after 11 perfect penalties had been taken in the shootout, sending Radclyffe into raptures who celebrated wildly after securing the trophy.