Rovers made to share spoils at Joes
St Joesphs .. 26 (24)
Sharlston Rovers .. 26 (10)
Pennine Premier League
Sharlston Rovers clawed back a point from this weekends away visit to Fartown and once again St Joesphs showed how competitive they can be at home. The dropped point doesnít do much to their league position and as long as they donít leak another point in their last 2 games, a home victory in the last game of the season against Drighlington will seal the league for a consecutive season.
Rovers started all guns blazing as Gareth Davies raced in for an early brace, Tommy Malyan who has found some real form with the boot converting one of the efforts and hitting the post on the other touchline attempt.
The early hint of a comfortable victory soon went out of the window as St Joes responded to take the lead. The hosts adding two converted tries penetrating the questionable defence from close range.
5 minutes before the interval the day worsened when they allowed former Rover Richard Aka space to show his pace and to burn down the wing and back under the posts for the 6 pointer.
Right on the interval Rovers found themselves 14 points a drift when while pressing for a comeback try a silly pace was intercepted by Craig Lee who raced the length of the field for a converted score.
Despite missing some key personnel in Emblem, Saville, Gamble, Crowther and Wallis; some self reflection and home truths smartened up their performance and were eager to put the game back in their hands.
Ably lead by player coach Gordie Long, Steve Hall and Jonathan Waddle Rovers sparked their comeback only minutes into restart when Geoff Hick back in his native fullback role finished off a Long offload close to the line with some bright footwork. Malyan added the testing conversion to bring the deficit to within 12 points.
Joes managed to keep the dominant visitors out until the hourmark when Tommy Malyan crossed in the corner after Ben Grundy drew the last man and got the ball out in the tighest of angles. Malyan added the difficult conversion to come to trail by only two points.
Rovers now looked like a completely different side to the first half and looked dangerous with ball in hand whilst not being tested much in defence. They thought they had regained the lead on two occasions with Long and Maskill both crossing the line but the official wasnít happy with groundings and harshly chalked off both attempts.
With 10 minutes remaining Rovers made sure they were at least level when being awarded a penalty and with Malyan in fine form with the boot elected to take the 2 points to regain parity.
The lead was to be short lived though as in a foreign visit into Rovers half a penalty for holding down was duly converted by Barret to return the lead to the hosts.
Sharlston continued in the same vain and Davies was sniffing for his hat trick and he looked to have got the all important try 4 minutes from time but the hosts touch judge found fault in the score and the referee in no position to differ crossed out yet another score.
The battling visitors continued to work for the much needed score but St Joes were fighting for the points that would keep them out of relegation. Minutes if not seconds before the final whistle and on a final flurry for the line Rovers gained a penalty and with no certainty of a try, they used their heads to take the points on offer and take a share of the spoils. Best for Rovers in spirited second half display were Long and Malyan with Steve Hall once again proving to be the go to talisman to earn the Kenmar Camping & Leisure man of the match accolade.
This weekend will see Rovers with another stern test in the Pennine presidents cup semi final at home versus hotly tipped division one promotion winners Slaithwaite Saracens, with the 2pm kick off sure to attract a large crowd eager to see how the visitors may fair next season.