Rovers bow out of prestigious cup with no shame
Sharlston Rovers .. 12 (4)
Leigh East .. 20 (6)
Carnegie Challenge Cup Ė Preliminary Round
Sharlston Rovers felt the retribution of Leigh East at the weekend after the NCL Premier top dogs dealt a blow of revenge after Rovers dumped them out the same competition last season.
The fixture which was originally scheduled for the start of the year was postponed on several occasions and finally the field was given the thumbs up for a Sunday fixture which was watched by 400+ spectators.
Rovers who were missing several key players like Bingham, Booth and Saville were on the receiving end from the off as East sneaked in at the corner, taking advantage of an overlap.
Sharlston hit back almost immediately as Lee Maskill put in high testing kick to collect himself and release Gareth Davies who raced away to score the equalising try, Tommy Malyan couldnít take Rovers in front with the conversion attempt.
Lack of discipline from the hosts gave the lead back to East, slotting over the conversion when Rovers were penalised for back chatting to the official.
Rovers were starting to make inroads into their opponents as Tommy Crowther and Sean Emblem made the hard yards for the hosts but Rovers couldnít cross the resilient line of the visitors.
On the half hour Rovers were reduced to 12 men as Carl Sayer was sent off for an alleged headbutt which no doubt would hamper Rovers chances of coming from behind.
Despite the numerical disadvantage Sharlston kept on the pressure and could have regained parity after a penalty infront of the sticks, but instead decided to run it in a power play that didnít come off to leave the visitors with a marginal lead going into the interval.
Ten minutes in East extended their lead when Craig Millington couldnít be stopped on the way to the line to score under the sticks. Influential hooker Daniel Kilshaw added the extras to go to 12-4 up.
When given a chance to add 2 points Rovers didnít make the same mistake as the first half as Tommy Malyan added the penalty goal for having the ball stripped.
With 20 minutes remaining Sharlston got back into the game when Lee Maskill put in a kick for Davies to chase, the East fullback got the ball first but Davies put in a firm challenge to dislodge the ball and Carl Spencer was first to react pouncing on the loose ball. Tommy Malyan added the easy goal from in front of the sticks to level scores.
Rovers had the chance to take the lead for the first time in the game when awarded a penalty just inside their opponents half for a challenge which saw East lose earlier scorer Millington to the sin bin. The attempt from Malyan sailed agonisingly wide.
With only 10 minutes remaining Rovers had a few attempts at adding the one pointer but none were close. To add to problems Rovers lost Maskill and Miles to injury to soften their fire power in the final stage.
With 2 minutes remaining East regained the lead and all but sealed the victory with a soft penalty for not marking square as Kilshaw posted the important 2 points.
East added gloss to the lead on the stroke of fulltime when Brett Longstaff crashed over for a converted try to make the score line look more artificial than the performance deserved.
Best for Rovers in an outstanding effort against tough opposition were Emblem, Maskill and Gamble but Tommy Crowther was the S.Hall Builders man of the match with a confidence boosting performance for the young prop forward.
Next week Rovers travel to Westgate for the replay of the Pennine Presidents cup game that had an abrupt ending when an error from the referee regarding score concluded the game before time, Kick off 2pm.