Rovers return from Cumbria with points
Dalton .. 10
Sharlston Rovers A .. 12
Pennine Division 1
Rovers continued the winning start to the season with a superb defensive display against a very strong Cumbrian outfit. This was as tough as it gets as both sides were unbeaten going into the game and the wet conditions made for a difficult afternoon with the ball.
Rovers started confidently and made their intentions clear as they took the game to the hosts from the off with Smith unlucky not to score after a good break. Rovers opened the days scoring when Jones superbly placed kick through fell just right for Dixon to touch down under the posts, Wandless converting to give the visitors a dream start after 7 minutes.
With conditions not right for flowing rugby Rovers adapted the better of the sides and played a safety first game to keep the home side pinned in their own half for long periods. Jones and debutant Butterworth pulled the strings for Rovers well supported by Golec and Wandless and the strong running from Field and Dixon caused problems every time they had the ball.
Rovers defence was superb in the opening half as time and again the experienced home pack was forced back by some brutal hits, Kendall and Shillaber stood out with Field, Dixon and Foster also giving their all to keep the line intact.
Rovers were the better side throughout most of the opening half but didn’t quite take their chances, Wandless created the opening for Rasool and the young wingman was stopped just short and Shaw was also unlucky not to score after a good break from Timms but the score remained at 0 v 6 to the half time break.
Rovers started the 2nd period as they finished the first with some excellent defence and some good attacking play leading to Hawkins and Whitehouse almost scoring.
The home side realised they had to up the tempo and also change their tactics as there was no way through the middle of the solid Rovers defensive line, and from around the 50 minute mark they did with the result being an unconverted try from a clever kick to the flanks allowing the home winger to score in the corner, crucially the conversion was missed.
Rovers were then pinned in their own quarter for some considerable time as the home side peppered the line with some excellent kicks that caused havoc in the by now very wet conditions.
Rovers weathered the storm and gradually made their way back into the home side with some telling breaks from Whitehouse, Field and Dixon giving them good field position and Jones and Wandless using their experience to keep the home side on the back foot. Debutant Huskins was desperately unlucky not to score from Smith’s fine offload before Wandless scored what was to prove to be the winning score, self-converted after he finished Shillaber’ nice break on 62 minutes.
Rovers defence was the platform for the rest of the match as the visitors could not find a way through the strong visiting line well led by Dixon until 78 minutes when another fine kick saw the home side put pressure on the Rovers line and quick hands led to a converted score out wide to set up a tense final couple of minutes.
From the restart the home side threw caution to the wind and some excellent hands saw the winger in some space before a superb cover tackle from Butterworth stopped him in his tracks. That was the game for Rovers then and they can take much pleasure from this as not many sides will come away from Cumbria with the points this season .
Best for the Rovers side in a very good team effort were Adam Jones, Phil Golec and Josh Field with Ronan Dixon taking the Suntan Shop sponsored man of the match award for an excellent effort on the day.
Next game is the Yorkshire cup 2nd round at home against old rivals West Leeds kick off 2-00pm players meet at 12-30 at the clubhouse.