Rovers Exit National Cup Competition
Thornhill Trojans .. 23
Sharlston Rovers .. 18
BARLA National Cup Round 3
Sharlston Rovers exit the BARLA National cup last 16 to the hands of the national conference premier outfit Thornhill Trojans after coming back from behind trailing 14-4 half time to go in front 18-15 with 10 minutes to go, but hosts Thornhill added the vital score 4 minutes from time to seal passage into the quarter final stage.
Rovers looked to make the dream start when Craig Miles drove for the line but pressure from several defenders saw the ball come free just as it was going to ground. On the back turnover the Trojans managed to get within 20 meters of the Rovers line with a fresh set of six with the 5th and last kick being fumbled deep in the Rovers half. Thornhill used the possession and a man over lap to add the first score of the afternoon with Richard Bostock crossing out wide.
Sharlston soon replied with Davies offloading in the tackle to Jonathan Czopcyzc who crossed in the corner too far out for Matty Bell to improve. Minutes later Thornhill regained the lead when winger Chris Walker latched onto an offload down touch side and Liam Morley added the testing kick to give the hosts a 6 point lead. With 20 minutes gone Rovers were dealt another blow when the ball was spread across the line in a flowing moving giving space for the winger Walker to cross for his second. Rovers pushed to add the much needed comeback points and with Gareth Davies returning the kick from fullback making breaks up field it looked certain that Rovers would go over in the half but with Rovers not able to hold the ball chances went begging with Thornhill entering the interval 14-4 a head.
The built up pressure told on the Trojans defence and Rovers forwards James Lockwood and Gareth Handford earning the yards down the middle before spreading wide to Dale Potter who took advantage of a poor sliding cover. On the hour mark Rovers held out several sets of attacking from the Trojans and with a firm defence on show Thornhill elected to take the 1 pointer meaning Rovers would need to score twice with the score at 15-8 in favour of the hosts. Minutes later Rovers got down field and half back Saville spotted a gap blindside supplying Craig Miles to power through and wrestle the ball to ground, Bell added the testing kick to bring Rovers to within a point of the hosts. From the kick off Rovers forced their way to half way before getting a fresh set with Thornhill holding down for too long, Rovers worked to the line before spreading the ball to Davies who showed great footwork to cut inside the sliding defence to score the all important score, putting the visitors in front for the first time in the game 18-15.
With 6 minutes to go Rovers looked like taking the victory but Thornhill pushed up the incline and were given another 6 tackles with a failed interception attempt resetting the tackle count. Thornhill attacked towards the sticks sucking in several defenders before spreading to center Bostock for his second score, Scott Dyson goaling the sideline effort to regain the lead 21-18. With 4 minutes left on the clock Rovers still looked good to come back with the much needed try attacking down the hill but as throughout the game Rovers lacked that killing blow with the final attack going to ground. Thornhill made ground up field and nearing the sticks and the seconds ticking the Trojans added a penalty goal when a tackle strayed high.
Rovers still able to take victory with a converted try gave one last effort but again resulting in a dropped ball with Thornhill taking the victory but Rovers looking the better throughout.
Gareth Davies sponsored by Dave Brown Contractors took the man of the match accolade but was pushed close by James Lockwood and Craig Miles, Davies breaking the Trojans line constantly from the full back position.
This weekend see’s Rovers back on much needed league duties as they play host to Keighley Albion who last season completed the double of Rovers, Kick off 2.30 pm.