Rovers take local bragging rights
Crigglestone All Blacks .. 16
Sharlston Rovers A .. 20
Pennine Division One
Rovers stunned their near neighbours Crigglestone with a superb display to take the spoils in this hugely entertaining local derby.
With both sides keen to ensure bragging rights there were no early chances with defences well on top for the opening 10 minutes, with Medforth, Taylor and Bettinson leading from the front for the visitors. Crigg broke the deadlock on 14 minutes when a rare mistake by Rovers saw them score a converted try to start the scoreboard rolling.
Rovers struggled for a period where they failed to keep hold of the ball allowing the home side good field position and making the visitors work hard on defence to keep the line intact, some good solid tackles were required and Tom and Nick Taylor led the way with good support from Whitehouse and Golec.
Rovers gradually worked their way back into the game and with Bettinson and Gallagher running the show it was only a matter of time before they opened their account, Gallagher’s neat ball allowing Shaw the space to crash over for a 4 pointer on 25 minutes. Rovers kept the pressure up and had a good spell where they were unlucky not to score through Edwards and Kelly before a superb long cut out ball from Thaler saw Shaw break through and his good offload led to a deserved try for Medforth, Hill Converting to put Rovers in front for the 1st time on 35 minutes. Crigglestone had the last word of the half when a mix up on the last tackle led to a bungled kick with the home side quickest to react to give them a converted score and a 12 v 10 half time lead.
Rovers were quick out of the blocks and after a mistake by the home side a well-rehearsed set saw Gallagher put Tom Taylor over for a try on 42 minutes just too far out for the conversion attempt. Crigglestone hit straight back and were denied once before scoring on 45 minutes to regain the lead.
Then the real work started as both sides upped their defences and the chances were few and far between as a war of attrition over the next 20 minutes saw some brutal no nonsense defence. Neither side was prepared to take a backward step and some excellent scrambling defence kept the lines intact. Hill and Whitehouse combined not once but twice to hold a player up over the line and Nick Taylor, Bettinson and Golec worked overtime to ensure the visitors stayed in the game.
As time progressed it was Rovers who looked likelier to break the deadlock and so it proved on 70 minutes when a clever short ball from Bettinson saw Thaler crash over, with Hill tagging on the extras to give Rovers the lead they would not relinquish.
Crigg threw everything at the Rovers line in the closing ten minutes but the hard work in both pre-season and during the opening part of this campaign paid off as the visitors showed enough strength and determination to close the game out effectively.
In a superb team effort the best for Rovers were N Taylor, Golec, Medforth and Shaw with Bettinson taking the Boomerang sponsored man of the match award.
Next game for Rovers is away at Leeds based Morley Borough and this should be another cracker of a game as Rovers look to continue their good form.
Players meet at 12-15 at the clubhouse, for a 2-30pm ko.