Rovers bowl over Wests in Pennine Cup
Sharlston Rovers A ...19
West Bowling .. 14
Rovers turned the form book upside down with this superb victory against premier league outfit west Bowling to progress to the next round of the Pennine Presidents trophy.
In poor conditions Rovers started slowly while the Bradford based Bowling side started well, putting Rovers under pressure from the off with some slick handling despite the weather. Good defence from Timms and Whitehouse prevented a score with Smith and Golec also working hard on defence. Rovers were made to pay for too many penalties and too much lost possession as Bowling opened the scoring with a 4 pointer on 15 minutes and again on 25 minutes as the visitors looked to take control with an 8 point lead. Rovers hit back when Jones crashed over after a good break from Kendall created the opening, Richardson adding the extras on 30 minutes.
Good work from Hawkins and Wilson saw Huskins go close and Rasool was unlucky not to score after Smith’s good break. Rovers were gradually inching their way back into this match with the defence the platform as time and again the strong visiting side could find no way through the tough Rovers defence.
As half time approached Rovers were awarded a penalty and Richardson levelled the score at 8 all at the break.
Rovers knew they would have to up the tempo to match their premier league opponents and did so with some fine attacking play as Wandless and Jones showed their experience with Richardson and Kendall also influential.
Rovers hit the front for the first time when Torvill scored his 1st try for the club after Jones well timed pass caught the defence flat footed, Richardson converting on 60 minutes. Wandless was extremely unfortunate not to score following Jones superbly weighted kick through behind the defensive line 3 minutes later and Garfitt thought he had scored on 65 minutes after a good break from Whitehouse but the official ruled no score. Rovers increased the lead to 7 points on 70 minutes with a drop goal from Wandless, this then set up a tense last 10 minutes as the visitors realised they were on their way out of the cup if they didn’t react quickly.
Excellent line defence from Matt Lingard and Torvill saved a certain score from the restart and some strong hits from Kendall, Golec and Pearson kept out the now desperate visiting forwards who threw everything at the home line. Garfitt and Smith kept out another seemingly certain score with good defence when the visitors looked to have an overlap out wide.
The Rovers defence was finally breached on 77 minutes when sheer weight of numbers saw them score out wide with a fine conversion from the touchline leaving Rovers just 1 point in front setting the stage for a grandstand finale to a pulsating cup tie.
Rovers managed to force an error from the restart to regain possession and after Hawkins and Wandless were both stopped just short Wilson’s outrageous reverse pass saw Garfitt crash over out wide to seal the game in the final seconds.
This was a superb effort from the young Rovers against a very good West Bowling side and the confidence running through the side at the moment is there for all to see. Both sets of players can take credit for some excellent rugby played in very poor conditions on the day.
Best for the Rovers side were Smith, Wandless and Golec with Adam Jones taking the Motor City Motorists centre sponsored sponsored man of the match award for an excellent effort on the day.
Rovers are back in league action with a visit to old rivals Huddersfield based Lindley swifts, players meet at 11-45 at the club; bus leaves at 12-20 for a 2-00pm kick off.