Rovers exorcise the demons to race to hefty victory
Keighley Albion .. 6 (0)
Sharlston Rovers .. 56 (16)
Pennine Premier League
Sharlston Rovers opened up their defence of the league championís title with a hefty victory over bogey side Keighley Albion. On each of the last 5 visits to Albionís ground Rovers havenít managed to come away with more than a point, a fact Rovers were enthusiastic quash.
From the off Keighley Albion showed determination to match the league winners but it was only a matter of time before Rovers opened the scoring. On the back of Albionís poor discipline Steve Hall took a quick tap into the hosts defence and a swift playoff the ball gave captain Craige Miles a gap to kink through under the posts. Tommy Malyan added the first of his 8 successful conversion attempts.
Both sides were soon reduced to 12 men for a brief spell as Miles and stand out Albion forward Gary Boocock were given a 10 minute session to cool their heals after slight altercation.
The dismissal didnít knock Rovers off their stride as they used quick hands to spread the ball out wide where Chris Hill rounded the defender to score in the corner.
With only 10 points on the board Rovers were eager to extend a larger buffer but Albion defended resolutely and almost got onto the scoreboard themselves when Kris Gott looked to have beaten the defence down the touch side, but fullback Malyan headed the winger off with superb cover tackle into touch.
With 6 minutes until the interval Sharlston continued to drive for the much needed score and after good yards from Hall and Emblem, hooker Carl Saville backed himself from acting half to power over with several defenders in tow.
With only a 16 point lead Rovers still had the game to round up and a reminder of last years game where they enjoyed the same lead only for the hosts to come back to nearly take the game cemented the need to not be complacent.
After a steadying few completed sets Rovers soon found holes in the Albion defence with Carl Saville terrorising the markers with quick breaks from acting half, one of which lead to the opening score of the half where Andy Booth pushed through in support to take the pass at beat the man to under the sticks.
The first score of the half seemed to be sole destroying for the hosts and only minutes later Keith Brook added more torment with a bamboozling run from acting half.
28 points in front and with the confidence of the quick fire tries Albion were really on a hiding to nothing and the whistle couldnít come soon enough. Rovers were in no mood to ease up though with Jonathan Waddle using his giant fend to crash over before Hall split the markers for Emblem to power over untouched.
To the hosts credit they continued to strived to make sure they got on the scoreboard and in probably their only visit in the Rovers half Jamie Donnelly jinked over, Kris Gott converting.
In the closing 5 minutes of the game Sharlston enhanced their points difference with a rapid trio of converted tries with Miles and Saville both completing their braces and last years top try scorer Gareth Davies making sure he got in on the action.
In an all-round sturdy performance Carl Saville evaded the efforts of Emblem, Miles, Hall and Sutton to take the UNISON sponsored man of the match.
Next week Sharlston will look to take the same form into what will be a testing home encounter with newly promoted Kippax Welfare, kick off 2.30pm.
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Sharlston Rovers Team : 1 Tommy Malyan 19 Carl Spencer 3 Gareth Davies 4 Brian Sutton 5 Chris Hill 6 Lee Maskill 7 Danny Millington 14 Chris Bingham 9 Carl Saville 10 Sean Emblem 11 Steve Hall 17 Jonathan Waddle 13 Craig Miles
Subs : 8 Andy Booth 2 Keith Brook 16 Karl Wallis
Keighley Albion Team : 1 Andy Stokes 2 Kris Gott 3 Wayne Smith 4 James Bardgett 5 Luke Dowse 6 Darren McNulty 7 Jamie Donnelly 8 Matthew Mount 9 Danny Barrett 10 Gary Boocock 11 Steve Wrench 12 Chris Atkins 13 Anthony McNulty Subs : 14 Andy Bowness 15 Bobby Brown 16 Steve Cutler 17 Danny Bowness