Bucket & Spade packed - only to be denied with Bulls last dash effort.
Sharlston Rovers .. 12
Bank Quay Bulls .. 13
Bartlett Champion of Champions - Semi Final
Half-time : 8-6
Supporters of Sharlston Rovers must have been packing their buckets and spades for the trip to Blackpool as Rovers held a 12- 6 lead with only 6 minutes to go, but loss of possession gave Bank Quay Bulls the chance to score a converted try then post the one pointer with only a minute left.
The opening exchanges were fierce as the robust Warrington side threw hammer and tong at Rovers but not to be bullied Rovers ran solidly and were rewarded earning a penalty after Bank Quay tried to slow the play of the ball down to catch their breath. Newly appointed goal kicker and Gareth Davies had no problem adding the opening points with an accurate penalty conversion.
The Rovers defence were holding out the early attacks but while trying to smother the ball were penalised for ripping the ball out and Bank Quay had no hesitation to add the equalising goal.
Minutes later Bank Quay took the lead with a score out wide after when the Rovers defence was split by a looped pass. Rovers continued to hack at the deficit and on 25 minutes Lee Maskill was taken out with a dangerous high tackle for which Millington was given 10 minutes, Davies converted the attempt at goal to trail by only 2 points and with a man more on the field.
5 minutes before the interval Rovers regained the lead when a kick along the floor was collected for Fisher tie up several defenders to put Keith Brook in view of the try line. A brief altercation following the jubilant try scoring celebrations meant Rovers coach Andy Fisher would have an extended 10 minute rest in the sin-bin and Davies couldn’t improve the try as Rovers took a 2 point lead into the break.
The opening 20 minutes of the second half saw end to end rugby with both sides coming close to a score. Rovers should have been over under the sticks but the kick behind the line couldn’t be grounded. Bank Quay too had the opportunity to score and did so but the official wiped it out on the ground of the scorer being offside from the kick through.
With scores remaining close throughout Rovers needed a cushion to defend and on the hour mark Gareth Davies showed how he has notched up 35 tries this season with fine scoring splitting the flailing defenders to score out wide to go 12-6 up.
Sharlston continued to push in attack with Maskill and Dickens going close but with only 6 minutes left, Rovers who were holding out well lost possession close and penalties put the Bulls close to Rovers line. Bank Quay peppered Rovers who were defending on their own line with their large forwards, tieing up more defenders and a tidy ball put Prop forward Phil Braddish through a gap with brother Join converting to level the scores. With the ball back Bank Quay pushed back in field and came to within 20 meters and with runners getting the ball in front of the posts John Braddish slotted the one pointer that puts them through to the final at Blackpool.
Sharlston Rovers Team :
1. Alex Muff 2. Steve Harber 3. Gareth Davies 4. Dale Potter 5. James Byrom 6. Lee Maskill 7. Phil Hill 8. Pete Ratcliffe 9. Lee Bettison 10. Andy Fisher 11. Jonathan Waddle 12. Keith Brook 13. Criag Miles 14. Jonny Czopcyzc 15. Stan SMith 16. Andy Booth
Bank Quay Bulls Team :
1. Ryan Fieldhouse 2. Ste Caley 3. Neil Smith 4. Lee Caldwell 5. Frankie Bird 6. John Braddish 7. Anthony Braide 8. Jamie Peashell 9. Jason Berrashty 10. Phil Braddish 11. Craig Millington 12. Nick Braide 13. Jon Walker 14. Ste Bird 15. Dale Catterall 16. Jimmy Astbury 17. Jason Russell.