League leaders sneak points
Sharlston Rovers ‘A’ .. 24
West Leeds .. 38
Pennine Division 3
Rovers almost pulled off an amazing victory here against unbeaten League leaders West Leeds in this hard fought division 3 encounter. Despite losing key players to 1st team duties and with a number of others injured 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. West Leeds took the lead against the run of play with a try on 8 minutes when Rovers were caught at the play the ball.
With forwards Barlow, Hick 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 Richardson burst through to score following excellent work from Hill and Smith, Hill converted to give Rovers a deserved 2 point lead.
Good pressure from Rovers forced an error and from the resulting scrum Rovers almost scored out wide through Kavanagh, and Hopton was unlucky not to score following Simpsons good break. Rovers extended their lead when a well worked set piece play saw Hill and Gallagher combine well to send Smith crashing over near the posts, Hill again converting.
Leeds came back strong and were rewarded with a converted score on the half hour mark before Rovers extended their advantage when Hill calmly slotted over a penalty with 3 minutes to the half time break. Rovers were caught napping again seconds before the interval and the visitors converted score gave them a 2 point lead at the break.
The 2nd period saw Rovers concede an unconverted score within minutes of the restart to give them a big task to overturn the now 6 point deficit but the young side responded in style and took the game to the much more experienced physical Leeds outfit. Time and again the Rovers pressed the visiting line and only desperate defending kept them out.
Gallagher and Hill were pinning the home side in their own half with their excellent kicking game and the forwards were tackling anything that moved to keep the Leeds side firmly bogged down. Rovers were rewarded with a score on 55 minutes when good support play from Barlow’s clever offload led to Kelly crashing over for a well deserved try.
5 minutes later Rovers were level when a period of sustained pressure saw Rovers go close through Hick, Heath and Smith before Simpson was stopped just short with an illegal tackle, Hill took the extras and Rovers were looking strong at this stage. Sharlston then took the lead on 65 minutes when excellent work from Hick and Gallagher led to Richardson’s break and he put Shaw into acres of space for a wonderful try.
Rover’s hopes of glory were dashed though as the youngsters could not close the game out and cruelly the visitors started to take the upper hand, a dubious converted score gave them the lead on 67 minutes and 5 minutes later another 6 point effort was enough to effectively wrap up the match.
The visitors completed the days scoring with a converted try in the closing seconds and took the spoils with them but Rovers took all the praise and credit for an excellent determined display which should stand them in good stead in the coming weeks.
This was a superb team effort with some big standout performances from Hick, Barlow, Shaw and Pajor all catching the eye and Phil Hill taking the David Palmer Travel sponsored man of the match award.