MIRFIELD Stags kicked off their 2017 Yorkshire Men’s League campaign in style as Brad Delaney bagged a hat-trick to help sink Norland Sharks 36-10, at Hillrich Park.
The hosting Stags marched into an early lead and were three tries clear at the break.
Visitors Norland threatened to battle back after half-time but their efforts proved in vain as Alex Muff’s Mirfield romped to victory.
Luke Manning grabbed the first try of the game after connecting with a kick from Delaney, who converted to make it 6-0.
Norland went down the other end and scored through Luke Wilson.
But the Stags replied almost immediately through half-back Delaney, who appeared on dual-registration terms with parent club Coventry Bears.
He sold the Sharks’ backline an outrageous dummy, allowing him to break clear and touch down, before goaling to move Mirfield further in front.
It was a piece of individual brilliance from Delaney to put the home side into the driving seat.
On the last tackle, he chipped over the defensive line and eventually regathered before crossing beneath the posts. His goal made it 18-4.
Boasting a comfortable 14-point lead, pressure from the away side called the home defence into action.
Mirfield stood firm to deny the away side, though, and eventually moved clear of their Hull-based opponents.
It was a matter of seconds into the second half before Mirfield struck again as substitute Callum Green barged over to touch down.
Just before the hour mark, Mirfield grabbed another pair of tries.
Nathan Hadfield scored from close range, before Delaney finalised a memorable hat-trick of tries – on debut.
Harry Burgess had the final say for Mirfield, though, after racing clear of the tiring Norland backline to dive over in the corner.
STAGS: Burgess, Shaw, Rhodes, Rounding, Coates, Batty, Delaney, Smith, Hadfield, Casanove, Carter, Manning, Jowett. Subs: Howard, Green, Berry, Mather.
TRIES: Manning (10), Delaney (20, 32, 65), Green (41), Hadfield (59), Burgess (71).
GOALS: Delaney 4/7.
SHARKS: Watson, Wilson, Cowan, Laughan, Parkinson, Cassidy, Jarratt, Higgins, Smithies, Storey, Bitton, Rowam, Hawle. Subs: Gardiner, Marshall, Jackon, Miller.
TRIES: Wilson (17, 45).
GOALS: Watson 1/1.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Brad Delaney