Rovers rally to fend off Fryston
Fryston .. 25 (14)
Sharlston Rovers .. 31 (6)
Yorkshire Cup Round 2
Current Yorkshire cup holders Sharlston Rovers nearly bowed out of the blue ribband competition to the hands of Fryston, after going into the closing moments of the match trailing by a single point having battled back into the lead heroically from 20-6.
The newly reformed Fryston team must have fought they’d continued their giant killing title after dumping Drighlington out in the round earlier. The hosts started off the brighter with former Featherstone Rovers favourite Gareth Handford bossing the show putting Jonny Jones in on the blind for the opening try with his stand off team mate Andy Speake converting the goal.
Rovers made the best of direct running from Chris Bingham and Andy Booth but were held out on several occasions as Rovers looked to regain parity. On the 20 minute mark Steve Hall put his team back in it with a show and go try with Tommy Malyan accurate with the boot.
The Sharlston defence were being bombarded by testing breaks and robust running and this again told as Fryston regained the lead with Jones ducking in for his second of the day and again Speake goaling.
Rovers were on the ropes and their cause wasn’t helped when they lost the creative flair of Carl Saville who had to retire injured. Just before the half time interval the Fryston fullback almost returned a kick the length of the field but Lee Maskill managed to back track and cover him off for a certain try. Maskill was judged to have held on too long waiting for his team mates to get back onside and with only seconds left on the clock Speake elected to kick at goal and take a 14-6 lead into the break.
If Rovers fans thought it couldn’t get any worse they were proved wrong from the kick off when Speake raced from half way after supporting a good offload to score a self converted try.
Sharlston now found themselves in a unfamiliar position looking at a second round early exit but they never gave up hope. Rovers forwards Booth, Bingham and Hall began to take control of the collisions and on the back of that no nonsense running were able to use their attack minded backs in the right area of the field. A flowing passing move gave Maskill the space to draw the defence to put winger Ben Grundy in a clear channel down the touch side, Malyan added the much needed conversion.
With only 15 minutes remaining and Rovers still trailing by 8 points they had to pull out all the stops and a blistering spell of form brought the break through with 2 Malyan converted tries giving them the lead for the first time in the game.
The first moment of magic came as captain Craige Miles broke several tackles before offloading to Jonathan Waddle score under the sticks. From the next set Rovers returned well and Miles put in a testing kick that was chased down ferociously causing the defender to spill the ball for Gareth Davies to collect cleanly and score the all important try.
The lead was to be short lived though as Fryston wasn’t going to give up the fight with a vocal crowd behind them. The hosts came back up field and quick hands put them in at the corner, Speake couldn’t add the goal to leave it all square at 24 points each.
Speake didn’t fail at his next chance, adding the one pointer to give them back the lead with only 6 minutes to go. Sharlston didn’t allow their heads to drop and pressed for a last gasp effort as Craige Miles took it forward before offloading to Grundy to race in for his second and crucial try, Malyan added the goal to give his side a 5 point buffer.
Not to risk the chance of conceding a converted try a few steadying drives to the sticks gave Miles the chance to add a drop goal of his own and brace his side for the last minute of the game with the ball back in their hands.
A nervous few drives past and the final whistle went as Rovers progressed into the last 8 stage of the Yorkshire cup where they will face Dewsbury Moor at home on Saturday 31st October.
Best for Rovers in a disjointed but gutsy performance were Bingham, Miles, Emblem but Andy Booth with his no nonsense defending and bullish runs gained him the P& S Groundworks man-of-the-match.
This weekend attentions return to the league where they host Elland for a 2.30 kickoff as they attempt to claw back to the top of table after dropping behind league fixtures.