Promotion hopefuls given scare
Sharlston Rovers ‘A’ .. 12
Lindley Swifts .. 18
Pennine Division Three
Rovers almost pulled off an amazing victory here against promotion favourites Lindley swifts, in a thrilling hard fought division 3 encounter. Despite losing key players to 1st team duties and an injury in the opening minute to the scrum half Rovers more than held their own and were unfortunate not to take at least a share of the spoils.
After the usual slow start from the Rovers and a gifted try in the 5th minute the home side settled down and the 2nd string put in a fabulous team effort to shock the visitors with some excellent defence and some enterprising play with the ball in hand throughout the afternoon.
Rovers went close through Kelly and Hopton and some good work from Gallagher enabled Simpson to make a good break. Lindley extended their lead against the run of play with a try on 20 minutes when Rovers lost the ball in their own quarter and the inevitable converted try followed.
With forwards Barlow, Hick and Pajor leading the way Rovers worked hard to get out of their own half despite the boggy conditions and soon had the visitors 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 Kelly showed his pace to get to the line and immense strength to plant the ball down over the line despite several defenders in attendance, Simpson tagged over the extras.
Rovers were by now dominant and the strong running from Smith and Palmer coupled with some good work from Lawson and Cooper put the Rovers in good field position and the improving completion rate meant the visitors were tiring from the amount of defensive work they had to do.
Stalwart Smith burst through to score following excellent work from Golec and Gallagher, with Simpson levelling the scores just before the interval and Rovers were rightly pleased with the effort shown for most of the 1st half.
The 2nd period saw Rovers try to pin the visitors back into their own quarter with some excellent defence from Lawson, Hick and Kaye coupled with Gallagher’s astute kicking and this was successful for a while until a long range break led to the visitors restoring their lead with an unconverted score after 50 minutes.
Rovers upped the work rate and put extreme pressure on the visitor’s line with Whitehouse unlucky not to score following Kavanagh’s initial break and then Pajor and Golec combining to send Cooper close to scoring but the strong defence from Swifts held firm.
Time and again the Rovers pressed the visiting line and only desperate defending kept them out. Gallagher and Smith 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 visitors firmly bogged down.
Lindley broke away and were rewarded with a penalty for holding down at the play the ball and they gratefully accepted the 2 points on offer to give them a 6 point lead going into the final quarter. Rovers threw everything at the visitor’s line in an attempt to level the scores with Whitehouse and Simpson both unlucky not to score however the Swifts defence managed to keep out the home side and the points went the way of the Huddersfield based side.
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, Lawson, Kelly and Whitehouse all catching the eye and Stan Smith taking the David Palmer Travel sponsored man of the match award.
Next game Home v Dudley Hill 27-02-10 Players meet at 1-00pm at the clubhouse for a Kick off 2-30pm.