Rovers rule the roost over Champions
Sharlston Rovers 22, Drighlington 20
Pennine Premier Division
Reigning Pennine premier champions Drighlington have had the rub of Sharlston over the last season taking the bragging rights in all 3 encounters but Rovers signalled this weekend the tables are turning with a hard thought 22-20 victory.
After last weekends uncontested victory over premier division newcomers Dewsbury Moor, Rovers knew this tie would be a different matter welcoming the Pennine champions. This respect for their opponents was plain to see when Rovers elected to take an early chance at goal when captain Scott Glassell was held down after breaking the Drigh defence. Ian Jackson added the 2 points to take an early lead.
Rovers had several chances to improve their lead most notable when new signing second rower Ryan Mallinder went on a barnstorming run before the final pass went to ground with several in support. Drighlington also had their chances only to be denied by a ‘ball and all’ tackle from full back Geoff Hick.
The hosts thought they had broken the 20 minute scoring deadlock when Danny Glassell supplied Wandless with an opportunity but the official had deemed the tackle complete before the grounding, despite the scrum half pleading the ball carrying hadn’t touched the ground. Only 10 metres out and on the last tackle Rovers forced the play and the ball went to ground. Drighlington’s centre Kevin Doyle was first to re-act and showed fleet of foot to go the length of the field to score against the run of play.
Drighlington now 4 points in front didn’t hesitate to expand their buffer when a strong challenge from Waddle and Crowther was harshly penalised with only 6 minutes of the half, Sanderson again added the goal for the visitors.
It looked as though Rovers would go into the break 6 points adrift but Rovers progressed the length of the field through strong carries from Mallinder, Wilson and wrecking ball Adam Saynor. With a roll on hooker Joe Childs spotted markers weren’t set and feign to kick gave him the space to jink over for an important try. Jackson improved the try with the conversion to tie the scores 8-8 just before the half time whistle.
Rovers started the 2nd half strongly with first Richardson then Scott Glassell held up over the line. Danny Glassell hit a nice line in support of Wandless initial break but the centre couldn’t take the pass. With points proving valuable Rovers took another 2 points when Drigh hooker was adjudged to use his head in the tackle, Ian Jackson converting from just outside the 30 meter line.
Like the first half Rovers couldn’t hold the lead for long and Drighlington replied from their own half when speedster Tom Moorby broke a weak tackle and raced down the wing before cutting inside to go over under the posts to make Sandersons conversion a formality.
With 10 minutes remaining Rovers needed a spark of creativity which came when Ian Jackson playing at stand-off chipped over 10 metres out to collect himself and ground just before the dead ball line, Jackson improved and Sharlston held a slender 2 point lead once again.
The see-saw scoreline looked to continue when Moorby was clear for a try but Jackson turned him in the act of grounding and the Drig winger spilt the ball over the line. Quick thinking from Wandless at the 20 meter gave Rovers more possession with a deep clearing kick from the restart.
Now deep in Drighlington’s half the hosts sealed the victory when Wandless attacked the line before taking on three defenders before offloading to Danny Glassell who made for his first half spill with a sublime take despite the best attentions of the cover defence. Jackson completed a 100% rate with the boot to go 8 points ahead with only 4 minutes to go.
Glassell’s try turned out to be match winning when with just a minute to go Drighlington threw everything in search for a reply and were rewarded when Moorby found him on the outside of the cover defence after a cut out pass from Newton which had the home crowd laughing with disbelieve that the official let it stand despite a blatant forward pass. Sanderson again converted to come within 2 points but the clock ran down and Rovers survived to take the victory over last years’ Pennine Champions.
Best for Rovers were Wandless, Jackson, Bingham and Scott Glassell but Ryan Mallinder took the R.C.K Groudnworks man of the match accolade with another strong performance.
Sharlston first team find themselves without a game this weekend after the rescheduling of the Yorkshire cup first round. So have a free week before the trip to Halifax Irish on 22nd September.
Rovers A’ team travel to Brighouse Rangers searching for their first win and it’s expected to see the return of Gareth Davies and Sean Emblem in search for some match fitness having not played in the opening 2 games. Kick off 2.30pm.
2' Pen goal #1 Ian Jackson 2-0
25' try #4 Kevin Doyle goal #7 Michael Sanderson 2-6
34' Pen goal #7 Sanderson 2-8
39' #9 Joe Childs Goal # Jackson 8-8
65' Pen goal Jackson 10-8
67' #6 Tom Moorby Goal Sanderson 10-14
70' try Ian Jackson Goal Jackson 16-14
75' try Danny Glassell Goal Jackson 22-14
79' try Tom Moorby Goal Sanderson 22-20