THE group stages of the Richard Flaherty Memorial Trophy produced a record number of the goals - and saw Union Rovers and Kirkdale top the top groups to set up last night's final showdown.

The last two group games last Thursday night decided who finished top of the respective pools.

Unbeaten Union Rovers needed only a draw but saw off Old Malton reserves 7-3, while Kirkdale scraped through. Slingsby needed to beat them by two goals but were left frustrated after winning only 3-2.

Malt shocked Union by twice taking the lead but it was short-lived both times as Rovers replied and took the game by the scruff of the neck to go 4-2 up by half time.

They bagged another three in a one-sided second half before Malton got a consolation.

The other game could hardly have been more exciting.

Kirkdale took an early lead but surprise package Slingsby got the bit between their teeth and midway through the first half deservedly equalised.

After a feisty opening to the second half, Kirkdale regained their lead, quickly followed by a disallowed goal as the ball appeared to go in through a hole in the netting.

Slingsby, though, went all out attack and scored twice in the last 10 minutes to set up a nail-biting finale in which Kirkdale defended for their lives and ultimately went through to the final by virtue of conceding one goal fewer than their opponents.

Last Monday night, Malton & Norton reserves beat Gillamoor 4-2 in a fast and furious game.

M&N took the lead with a bullet header from a corner and, although Gillamoor replied with two quick goals, M&N level after half-time with a penalty and bagged two more goals to win it.

In the other game, Sinnington had a slim chance of reaching the final but crashed 9-2 to a much-changed Ryedale side, who had little to play for.

Ryedale shot into a four-goal lead and, although Sinnington pulled two excellent goals back before half-time and rattled the post on the resumption, Ryedale woke up again and went on to dominate the rest of the game against tiring opposition.