Rovers through to Pennine Presidents Semi Final
Halifax Irish .. 14
Sharlston Rovers .. 16
Pennine Presidents Cup
In the mouth watering Pennine Presidents cup quarter final tie between premier top dogs Halifax Irish and Sharlston Rovers it took a 70th minute penalty goal from Rovers scrum half Matty Bell to separate the teams. On a wind swept Saville Park visitors, Sharlston posted the first points as stand off Carl Saville jinked his way through the defence after from the offload, Matty Bell judged the swirling winds just right to add the testing conversion attempt.
Rovers lead was short lived as Irish hit back through Antony Irvine as he hit an inside ball with pace to take him over the whitewash. With Rovers holding onto a marginal lead both sides were putting their all into a game that was battling the conditions and with some massive hits the collisions were fierce, after coming in to the finish a tackle Chris Moran caught a stray knee which put him out of the game, going to hospital with a suspected fractured jaw.
The Irish got back to level pegging 20 minutes in with a Graham Charlesworth converted penalty goal but Rovers added another score just before the interval through James Byrom, who after great yards from James Lockwood attacked down the blind touch side beating several defenders for a magnificent score for Rovers to enter the second half 10-6 up.
Sharlston made a superb start to the second half when Dale Potter went hard and low to score millimetres from the touchline. Irish started the come back and on the hour mark several defenders couldn’t hold out Paul O’Byrne who crashed over the line. Irish moved on quickly to equalise once again and from the next set Chris Norman raced 60 meters stepping several defenders to register the all important score that brought the score to 14 a piece.
With it all to do Rovers made the hard yards into the Irish half and after being judged to be holding on too long Rovers elected to add the testing 2 pointer which Bell added with 10 minutes remaining. With the game being a low scoring affair Rovers stuck to a simple plan completing their sets and run down the clock to take a well earned passage to the Semi Final stages, but Rovers will have to pull off a similar performance later in the season if they want to take the premier crown in the two horse race that looks to culminate in a winner takes all match.
Sharlston will be without the services of James Lockwood and Chris Bingham for the foreseeable run in with the 2 young forwards moving down under for a spell at Eden Tigers, Lockwood who has been a mountain of strength for Rovers took the Dave Brown Construction sponsored Man of the Match and along with Bingham who has been unlucky this season with injury will be missed from the Rovers pack.
Next week Rovers make the journey to Fartown to play Huddersfield St Joseph’s in the Pennine Premier, with a delayed 3pm kick off due to an earlier A team cup fixture Rovers cant afford to drop a point for their quest for the championship title.