Cook’s back at Leeds Milford Marlins and eyeing promotion

CHALLENGE: Former Leeds and Bradford player Paul Cook, celebrating above, has been appointed Milford Marlins coach.
CHALLENGE: Former Leeds and Bradford player Paul Cook, celebrating above, has been appointed Milford Marlins coach.
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Former Leeds Rhinos and England star Paul Cook is returning to Milford Marlins in 2013 charged with steering the club into the National Conference Premier Division.

Cook, who shot to fame as a teenager winger with Leeds and featured in the 1995 World Cup before switching to Bradford Bulls, has most recently been coaching Huddersfield Giants’ Under-20s side.

The 36-year-old started his coaching career at Milford 10 years ago helping the Leeds side win promotion from Division Two.

Current boss Dave Bray will continue as Cook’s assistant next season as they bid to take the squad, made up mainly of Marlins junior products, in to the top flight.

Milford showed their promise, meanwhile, by edging into the Challenge Cup second round with a terrific 19-18 victory at North West Counties champions Pilkington Recs.

A last-minute drop goal from man-of-the-match Josh Parle proved decisive for the visitors who showed tremendous spirit to force their way through.

They had led 10-0 with tries from John Elkington and Ryan Oxtoby before trailing 12-10 at the break.

Adam Fairhead put them back ahead but a 78th-minute converted try seemed to have put Pilkington through.

However, Milford earned a late penalty to draw level before Parle held his nerve from 30 metres.

East Leeds produced one of their best performances of the year to storm into the second round, too, with a 38-17 win at North West Counties high fliers Bank Quay Bulls.

Young substitute James Forsell had an outstanding game for the National Conference Division Two champions, scoring a second-half brace.

Jake and Jordan Normington both crossed twice for Easts, who led 20-16 at the break and Lee Fisher and Joey Walkin also touched down. Jason Priestley kicked two goals and Nathan Conroy landed one.

Hunslet Old Boys reached the second round with a 17-16 win over Widnes West Bank.

Disappointing Thornhill Trojans lost 18-10 at home to Queensbury in the Pennine League Premier Division.

The away fixture between these sides earlier this year had been abandoned due to a brawl but it was the Bradford outfit who came out on top this time around.

Despite some player shortages – Thornhill A’s game at Queensbury was postponed due to their lack of numbers – the Dewsbury side had been hopeful of earning a result.

However, further injuries in the game, most notably to youngster Mason Bailey, saw them lose their shape and fade away the longer the match went on.

Second-rows Simon Walker and Bret Simmonds scored tries, Andrew Bates adding a conversion, while man of the match was the determined Ben Kendall.

Methley Royals captain Sam Payne scored a hat-trick and four goals as they romped past Sharlston Rovers A 44-0 in the Pennine League First Division.

There was further scores for winger Josh Dixon (2), full-back Dave Williams (2), second-row Stu Biscomb and hooker Chris Woolford.

Hunslet Hawks-bound Lee Mapals warmed up for his return to semi-professional Championship football by scoring five tries in Methley A’s 34-22 friendly win over Beeston Broncos.

Prop Luke Pickering also powered over but centre Danny Snowden’s five goals were crucial given Beeston’s oppositie number Shanes Danes could only land one of his conversion attempts.

Castleford Tigers' Joe Wardle.

New boy Joe Wardle sets sights on silverware with Castleford Tigers