Rovers let slip league points
Dudley Hill A .. 18
Sharlston Rovers A .. 16
Pennine Division 3
A lack of concentration at crucial times cost Rovers the points here in a game they could and should have won. High flying Hill fielded a strong side but if they were expecting an easy afternoon they were given a shock by the hard working Rovers outfit. The home side took the lead on 6 minutes when catching Rovers short on the blind side but from then on it was the Sharlston side that looked like promotion favourites for much of the afternoon.
Rovers were held just short when Smith sent Hampshire racing to the line on 10 minutes and shortly after Golec and Hill combined well to send Timms close as Rovers gradually worked their way back into the game with some good completion and a good kicking game from Gallagher and Hill.
A well worked scrum move saw Gallagher stopped just short then Smith and Palmer went close before Joe Whitehouse crashed over for a try on 25 minutes to get the visitors off and running. Rovers were now taking control of the game and the very robust and physical home side were struggling to match the Rovers youngsters for pace and fitness.
Simon Reville and Pajor combined well to send Shaw on a good run then Sam Whitehouse scored a superb try after a 40 metre run to the line, converted by Hill on 32 minutes to put the Rovers in front. Rovers extended the lead when Gallagher showed some neat footwork to leave the full back stranded as he ghosted in from 20 yards out, Hill again converting to give Rovers a well deserved 10 point lead at the break.
Dudley Hill started the 2nd period strongly and put the Rovers line under intense pressure from the restart with the much larger home pack running hard forcing the visitors on the back foot for a good while. Wave after wave of home attacks were repelled by the Rovers defence which was well led by Golec, Whitehouse and Timms with good support from Gallagher and Hill.
Rovers were guilty of trying to play enterprising rugby when a more defensive outlook to the game was required and consequently were forced into making errors resulting in more possession for the home side.
Dudley Hill kept up the pressure throughout the half and were rewarded when following the 5th consecutive set the Rovers line was finally breached on 52 minutes. The home side now threw everything at the Rovers and again repeat sets gave them another score on the hour mark to put them just 2 points adrift going into the final quarter.
Rovers desperately tried to stem the onslaught but inevitably the home side edged in front with a dubious score on 70 minutes to set up a grandstand finish to an exciting game.
As hard as Rovers tried in the closing stages they were destined to fall just short on this occasion but will have realised they played their part and for large chunks of this game were more than a match for the home side who will have been relieved to snatch the victory.
In a very good team effort the best from the Rovers were Hill, Sam Whitehouse and Hatfield with Gallagher taking the Chip Goldie Gas Services sponsored man of the match award.
Next game is at home against struggling Bradford based Victoria Rangers where Rovers will be looking to bounce back from this defeat. KO 2-30pm. Players meet at 1.15pm at the clubhouse.