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Harwood’s final joy

GREAT Harwood are through to their first final in over a decade after defeating Darwen on Friday night in the Division Two Trophy.

GREAT Harwood are through to their first final in over a decade after defeating Darwen on Friday night in the Division Two Trophy.

It was a fiery affair with Harwood winning 2-0 in the second leg at the Showground, after a goalless first leg.

The will face either Colne or Cheadle in the final with a date and venue yet to be decided.

"It was good to win - and I think it is Harwood's first final in 12 years so it is good for the club to get there," said boss John Hughes.

Both sides were reduced to ten men with Paul Brown dismissed for Darwen for an alleged elbow on Russell McKenna.

And Ryan Parr was sent off in the second half for Harwood although Hughes said they are hoping to appeal.

"He was sent off for an incident with Matt Anderton but we didn't think he did anything," said Hughes.

Harwood took the lead when a Brian Fogarty free kick was touched home by Andy Taylor on 68 minutes.

And sub Ryan Walsh made it safe on 80 minutes in front of 172 at the Showground.

"We had eight players missing so it was a good result. The lads were chuffed to bits after especially as it had been such a heated game."

And Harwood battled back to earn a 1-1 draw at local rivals Padiham on Wednesday night in the NWCL Division Two.

Ian Whittaker opened the scoring for the Storks on 17 minutes but Pete Smith hit back for Harwood on the half hour.

John Hughes's side were unlucky though as Darren Rodgers hit the bar with an 18-yard effort after the break.

And Harwood will hope to boost their hopes of a top of the table finish when Norton visit tomorrow - it is a rearranged game as last time the Norton coach broke down (ko 3pm).

Their games for next week are, as yet, unsettled.

Harwood were scheduled to replay the League Challenge Cup quarter-final at Ramsbottom on Tuesday night. The Rams won the game in January but fielded an ineligible player and so the league ordered a replay.

But Harwood decided to withdraw from the competition on Wednesday night - they feel that they should have gone through if Ramsbottom have broken the rules and shouldn't have to play the game again.

"We have done nothing wrong," said chairman Bill Holden. "We just keep hitting red tape and have got absolutely nowhere with the situation."

"At the end of the day our priority is to try to get into the promotion slots available for when the leagues are restructred next season. We want to concentrate all our efforts in fulfilling our league commitments and we don't want a backlog of league games."

"We are completely innocent and we just feel it is the best thing to do in the circumstances."

They were hoping to sort out a league clash at home to Flixton next week - either on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday.


Stuart Pike
Deputy editor specialising in politics
Alex Bell
Bethany English
District reporter
Beth Abbit
Court reporter
Jon Macpherson
Kate Watkins
Reporter specialising in communities
Garth Dawson
Photographer and columnist