Rovers return to Yorkshire Cup Finals
Sharlston Rovers .. 24 (12)
Keighley ARLFC .. 0 (0)
Hamuel Reichenbacher Yorkshire Cup Semi Final
Sharlston Rovers are to be reacquainted with the BARLA Yorkshire cup final thanks to a masterclass performance which derailed the fantastic cup run of Keighley.
The visitors who had knocked out current holders Hunslet Old Boys in the first round before going onto dump Drighlington out of the competition couldn’t deny Rovers of a 5th final appearance in the last decade.
Rovers haven’t featured in the final for the last 2 seasons having bowed out in the semi final stages in both attempts and the eagerness to make the final was obvious from the off as the home side came straight out of the blocks with some uncompromising tough defence.
That enthusiasm to physically dominate their opposition seemed to unnerve the visitors who struggled to make any inroads into the Rovers defence. Despite winning the arm wrestle Rovers couldn’t take the lead until the 25th minute with James Cryer having a try wiped off minutes earlier.
The Rovers pack was playing with dominance as Emblem, Crowther and Bingham made some real damage in the middle. It was 80 minute prop forward Chris Bingham who opened the scoring as he took 4 defenders over the line with him. Ian Jackson goaled the conversion from under the posts to give Sharlston a slender but well deserved lead.
The Keighley side stayed with the hosts and it was only Rovers robust defending, led by Gamble and Lingard that kept the visitors at bay as the game evened out. 6 minutes before the interval Tommy Crowther was causing destruction with ball in hand and it was a similar run that saw the young prop skittle the defence as he crossed the whitewash, again Jackson gaoling the simple conversion.
A smart blindside play on the last tackle between Danny Glassell and Cryer looked to put the winger free but a superb cover tackle by the full back denied Cryer the try close to the half time whistle and Rovers had to be content with a 12-0 lead going into the break.
Keighley came out firing and knowing they couldn’t match the Rovers pack tried to go around them with one or two breaks which couldn’t be turned to points. Sharlston kept their composure and smart kicking from Jackson and Wandless kept the game in their opponents half for long periods.
With half an hour still left to play Sharlston added a much needed converted try which nudged them 18 points clear. Dean Gamble put in a crafty kick across the floor and he was first to react from the deflection it made from the post pad, Ian Jackson added the 2 points from under the posts.
Rovers having defended heroically throughout the game tired a little and Keighley had a few opportunities to get on the scoreboard with a few testing kicks that Rovers dealt with or lacking composure to convert the change to points.
With 5 minutes left to play Rovers sealed their finalists place when Joe Childs spotted at gap from acting half and darted for the line to close the afternoon's scoring. Jackson ended the afternoon with his 100% conversion rate intact and Rovers were into the final after a 2 year absence.
RCK Groundworks man of the match went to Tommy Crowther for some strong running and the important first half try pushed close by Bingham and Emblem.
Rovers now face local Pontefract rivals Nevison Leap in the final which is being sure to attract a huge crowd at Big Fellas Stadium Featherstone Rovers on Saturday 29th December, kick off TBC.
This weekend Rovers turn attentions back to Pennine league action looking to play catchup with a visit to early league leaders Queens. Kick off 2pm.