Wath Brow’s exploits in topping the National Conference Premier Division’s regular season table will be the limit of their exploits for 2019.

The Hornets had hopes of going on to complete the League and Grand Final double but that ended on Saturday.

Given a second chance in the qualifying semi-final after being beaten by West Hull a week earlier, they crashed out to Thatto Heath Crusaders.

Two home defeats in a row meant they miss out and Saturday’s Grand Final at the home of Featherstone Rovers will be contested by West Hull and Thatto Heath.

Wath Brow were up against it at Red Beck when they had stand-off Karl Dixon controversially sent off a minute before half time for alleged use of the knees.

The subsequent penalty, put over by Bobbie Goulding, meant the Hornets trailed 14-0 at the break.

The fact that it finished 12-18, after playing the second half with 12 against 13, demonstrates how well Wath Brow fought against the odds to turn things round.

Indeed it wasn’t until six minutes from time when winger Corey Lee touched down for an unconverted try that the Crusaders could breathe more easily.

They had been the better side in the first half when they built their lead, encouraged by a third-minute try from Matty Norton, converted by Goulding.

Prop Jamie Tracey, sin-binned on ten minutes for alleged punching, returned to power over for the second try, which Goulding converted.

That was still the score when Dixon was shown red, despite protesting his innocence and Goulding’s successful penalty gave Wath Brow more work to do.

But they responded superbly with loose forward Lewis McCarron an inspiration. They took the game to Thatto Heath and within seven minutes of the restart were right back in the contest.

Luke Davison and Dean Rooney both got in for tries, which were converted by Cole Walker-Taylor and the deficit was only two points.

But try as they might the 12 men just couldn’t get over again, and Thatto Heath came up with the late game-breaker.