Rovers give Clayton presidential treatment
Sharlston Rovers .. 34
Clayton .. 8
Pennine Presidents Cup Semi Final
Sharlston Rovers have taken steps to repair some of the heartache of losing to the Irish last weekend by reaching the final of Pennine Presidents cup and will face either Drighlington or Keighley Albion which will be decided this weekend.
Rovers earned their passage after a 34-8 home victory over Clayton which will also go down as the scheduled league game as a double header. Clayton were the first to strike after some early pressure put them in front of the sticks and after being awarded a penalty stand off Scott Pendlebury added the 2 points.
Both sides who are approaching busy end of the season were bolstered by the addition of A team players who battled hard, 14 minutes in Rovers hit with the first try of the game from second rower Keith Brook taking a quick tap and battling through the defence, Matty Bell added on the extras. Clayton continued to probe at the Rovers defence who held the visitors to marginal gains with Craig Miles and Andy Booth solid in defence.
Not making much yards down the middle Clayton bombed the back line with testing kicks in the conditions but James Byrom, Lee Maskill and Stephen Harber returned well and when attacking Gareth Davies quickly boosted the hosts lead with 2 quick fire tries one of which Bell improved. The first a 40m break after being unleashed by a great pass from Alex Muff and the second attacking a short stacked blindside from close range, Rovers took that 16-2 lead into the interval.
Only 3 minutes into the second half full back Lee Maskill burst through several tackles to get within 10 meters and with only the full back to beat threw a dummy to give himself acres of space to finish under the sticks, Bell added on the extras. On the hour mark Stan Smith showed his strength and determination when close the line, powering over under the sticks with Dale Potter adding on the easy conversion.
Nearing the close of the game Dale Potter added his 18th try of the season hitting a superb line leaving the defence for dead, Bell improving the centers effort. 2 minutes before the final whistle Clayton were rewarded for their determination when Scott Pendlebury jinked his way through a tired Rovers defence.
Rovers this weekend will take the first steps towards Blackpool with eyes set on a final place in the Champion of Champions series. Rovers will travel to Ashton Bears (Wigan) in the elimination qualifier which if successful will put them in the bag for the semi final draw along with the 3 county cup winners. The club will be running a supporters coach to the fixture which is scheduled to kick off at 2pm, the coach will leave the Sharlston Hotel at 11.45 on a first come first served basis.