Nervous times as All Blacks push Rovers close
New Earswick All Blacks .. 26
Sharlston Rovers .. 40
Pennine Premier League
Back in league action Sharlston Rovers pulled around a tight game at bottom of the league New Earswick All Blacks which could have been a banana skin for the champions hopes of retaining the title. Going into the final 10 minutes Rovers held only a 2 point lead but put 3 late tries to make the score look more comfortable that 40-24 result suggested.
The York hosts were first to get on the scoreboard when new signing Ben Jones was the first to a 5th and last kick with the stand off converting his own under the sticks touchdown.
With Rovers still in the changing rooms the early wake up call spurred on Craige Miles to hit back with a solo break down the middle of the park before offloading to Gareth Davies who turned on the pace to score in the corner, with the kick proving too far out for Malyan to square the scores.
New Earswick went further in front when old school hooker Alan Pallister tricked the markers to go in on the blindside to put the All Blacks 6 points ahead. Rovers soon expunged that lead when Tommy Malyan hit a short ball from Adam Jones to go under the sticks for a self converted try.
5 minutes before the interval Rovers took the lead for the first time in the game when Davies latched onto an interception pass and raced out of his half for his second of the afternoon, Malyan adding the extras.
With the game looking to turn in the visitors favour a lapse in concentration in the last play of the game saw Rovers leak another try with prop Jack Stearman taking advantage of a static line. All Blacks Ben Jones hiting the upright for the easy kick which would have brought scores back level going into the break.
A few stern words at the interval looked to kick start Rovers from the restart as they looked more like the attacking power they have been known for. A spilt kick through gave the Rovers the break through they needed with Miles cleaning up before supplying Saville to race under the posts, Malyan adding the easy extras.
With Rovers looking more like breaching the line it was their defence that needed attention as All Black Jo-jo Hnesh was allowed to offload near the line for fullback Steve Perks to go over untouched. The introduction of player-coach Chris Chester from the bench put Rovers in a more commanding position and after a Davies trademark break, Chester took advantage of the backtracking defence to ship it out wide to Ben Grundy in the opposite center.
The scales were looking to tip in the visitors favour but on the hour mark the game was tipped on its head when Alan Pallister stole the ball one on one as Rovers were coming out of their 10 meters, Jones added the goal to leave his side trailing by only 2 points.
With the wind in their sails the hosts threw everything at Sharlston and it took some gutsy defending from Hall, Bingham and Miles to weather a period of attacks. The All Blacks had given all they had and with 10 minutes remaining looked out on their feet.
Rovers took advantage and looked to make the result more credible as Davies added 2 late tries to his first half tally before a sublime run from Lee Maskill set up Grundy in the corner.
Attentions now turn to the BARLA Yorkshire cup where Rovers travel to Norland Sharks (Hull) in the semi finals. A supporters bus will be making the journey to hopefully cheer them on over the final hurdle leaving 11.30am for the 2pm kick off.