Valley Cougars ran in eight tries to beat Leicester Storm 42-18 on their return to Nelson RFC and qualify for a home semi-final in the RFL Conference South play-offs.
Their nearest rivals, Nottingham Outlaws, lost 40-22 at home to Sheffield Hallam Eagles, so it’s the Cougars who will host the Outlaws on the weekend of September 6.
Cougars took the lead in the August 16 clash after ten minutes and were never behind after scoring through Mike Hurley. Paul Emanuelli added the conversion.
Ryan Davies bulldozed over and Emanuelli again added the goal as the Cougars doubled their advantage.
Dan Davies added a third after a long Emanuelli cut out pass put him in space but Emanuelli’s goal attempt went wide.
Cougars’ fourth came off the back of a penalty, giving them good field position, and Chris Speck broke through and ran in from twenty metres for a converted try.
Emanuelli added a try of his own following a great break by Gareth Way and, although the goal attempt went wide, the Cougars were 26-0 ahead at the break.
It didn’t take the Cougars long to extend their lead as Davies added his second in the corner, again the conversion kick went wide.
Leicester had a purple patch around the hour mark as first left wing Oli Saville and following a break down the middle Roddy Jonas crossed for tries both converted by Oli Furrins.
The Cougars responded with a well worked try by Gareth Way and Emanuelli added his fourth goal of the afternoon.
Leicester refused to buckle and following a penalty full back Joey Luttrull sprinted through for a six pointer.
Cougars had the last word as shortly before the final whistle Mark Thomas ran through for a try under the sticks.
Emanuelli easily slotted the goal to complete the scoring and give the Penallta club confidence ahead of the play-offs.
• Match report by Ian Lovell