High flying Panthers given cup scare by plucky Rovers
Sharlston Rovers ‘A’ .. 12
Newsome Panthers .. 24
Andrew Bennet Memorial Trophy - Round One
Rovers almost pulled off an amazing victory here against unbeaten League 2 leaders Newsome Panthers in this Andrew Bennett Memorial trophy 1st round tie. Despite losing key players to 1st team duties the 2nd string put in a fabulous team effort and shocked the visitors with some excellent defence and some enterprising play with the ball in hand.
Rovers went close through Kelly and Shaw soon after the start and some good work from Gallagher enabled Hopton to make a good break. With forwards Whitehouse, Palmer and Pajor leading the way the visitors were penned into their own half for long periods of the game and it was only a matter of time before Rovers got their reward when Stalwart Smith burst through to score following excellent work from Hick and Kelly, Hill converted to give Rovers a deserved 6 point lead.
Good pressure from Rovers forced an error and from the resulting scrum Rovers crashed over out wide through Kavanagh only to see the scored wiped off for an alleged infringement but Rovers had their higher league opponents definitely worried at this stage and it was no wonder as the home side were in fine form.
Panthers levelled the score on the half hour mark against the run of play when they were fortunate to get a kind bounce of the ball from a clever kick and a converted try under the posts gave them the gee up they needed. Just before the interval Panthers took the lead after a period of intense pressure from the visitors finally broke the Rovers determined resistance but Rovers were far from finished in this tie.
The 2nd period saw Rovers continue their excellent work and some good breaks by Bailey and Richardson saw youngsters Kavanagh Shaw and Hick causing the visitors all sorts of problems. Hill and then Gallagher kept the pressure on with some astute kicking and Shaw was unlucky not to score when chasing a deep kick and was stopped inches short. Panthers were looking to their experienced players to get them away from the Rovers but the dogged determination of the home side just would not yield.
On the hour mark Panthers extended the lead when repeat sets gave them good field position and the score on the last tackle play was cruel on the home side. Rovers hit back and superb work from Smith enabled Hill to break free and he jinked his way over for a self converted score.
The visitors were again under pressure when first Sharp then Lawson and Palmer went close and with Bailey and Smith keeping the pressure on an upset was definitely on the cards going into the last 10 minutes of the hard fought match. The glory was not to be though as in the dying moments Panthers influential playmaker Phil Joseph broke the home side’s hearts with a converted score to give the visitors a 12 point winning margin.
Rovers were beaten but certainly not disgraced or outclassed as they gave the visitors an almighty scare throughout the afternoon.
This was a superb team effort with some big standout performances from Hill, Bailey and Kelly all catching the eye and Stan Smith taking the David Palmer Travel sponsored man of the match award.
Next week sees another tough cup encounter against local rivals Ryhill Hammers in the semi final of the Wakefield and District Physiowise sponsored trophy.
Players meet at 12-30 at the clubhouse.