Rovers throw away openine league points
Sharlston Rovers A .. 34
Batley Boys .. 38
Pennine Division One
Newly promoted Roverís started life in division 1 with a stark reminder that these matches last for 80 minutes as they threw away rather than lost the 2 points on offer against newcomers to the Pennine league Batley Boys.
Rovers took the field full of confidence following some pre-season good performances but were caught cold from the kick off being forced to concede a drop out, and then put under some intense pressure defending 5 out of the first 6 sets. The defence held firm however with some sterling work from debutant winks and Taylor ably assisted by Kelly and Palmer keeping the visitors out on 2 occasions with some good scrambling defence.
Rovers eventually got into the Batley half and were rewarded when Whitehouse latched onto Palmers neat offload to crash over the line on 12 minutes, Gallagher converting. Batley levelled the scores with a try of their own following lost possession by Rovers in their own half as the game ebbed and flowed with both sides showing good touches and some neat attacking play.
Batley took the lead on the half hour mark with a try from another Rovers mistake before Rovers took the lead just before the interval when Bond crashed over from close range Gallagher again converting.
At the start of the 2nd half Rovers then had a superb 20 minute spell in which they put the visitors under some extreme pressure with some excellent attacking play. Kelly was first to score just 2 minutes after the restart Gallagher converting from wide out then Shaw scored after showing great determination to win the ball after a clever kick put the Batley full back under pressure on 46 minutes.
Batley stemmed the flow with a converted score on 50 minutes but Rovers were in full flow at this stage and increased the lead with Whitehouse finishing a well worked move on 54 minutes and the same player completed his hat trick on 58 minutes with another 4 point effort. Golec crashed over on 61 minutes to give Rovers a deserved 34 v 16 lead going into the last quarter of the match and with the home side in such good form the eventual collapse could not be foreseen at this stage.
A combination of careless play and over confidence starting around the 65 minute mark saw Rovers loose total control of this game, Batley scored out wide following a scrum break deep in their own half to start the comeback then reduced the arrears further with a converted effort 4 minutes later following another mistake then a penalty that put the home line under pressure. Trying to play football in their own 10 yard line saw the ball lost which led to a hotly disputed try on 75 minutes to put the visitors within 2 points.
The remarkable turnaround was completed on 79 minutes when Rovers failed to deal with the pressure and a converted score gave the Batley side the match.
Rovers tried hard from the restart but there was to be no glory today for the home side.
Rovers will take some positives from the match as there were some good performances from individuals but as a team effort the final quarter showing was below the expected Rovers standard.
Best for the Rovers side were Winks, Hatfield and Timms with Whitehouse taking the Edna Hill sponsored man of the match award for an excellent effort on the day.
Rovers will be looking for a much improved performance in the next game as they travel to Huddersfield based Newsome Panthers, where they will be looking to upset the established Division 1 side.
Players meet at 12-00 am at the club house, bus leaves 12-30 for a 2-30pm kick off