Rovers stay upbeat despite Upton defeat
Sharlston Rovers A .. 12
Despite late withdrawals meaning fielding a slightly understrength side Rover’s came so close to an upset in this pulsating local derby against old rivals Upton with a gutsy and determined effort. Following on from last week’s excellent victory the Rovers youngsters took the field full of confidence although Upton were quicker out of the blocks forcing Rovers on the back foot in the opening exchanges.
Upton took the lead with a converted score on 7 minutes following a Rovers mistake in their own quarter and went close shortly after when only good defence from Burns and Wallis saw the Rovers keep out a certain score. Rovers then got themselves into the match and with an excellent completion rate soon showed why they are holding their own in this tough division.
Thaler and Hill probing the home defence with their kicking game and some determined strong running from Wallis and Burns ensuring Rovers were on the front foot for the next 20 minutes. Both sides went close to scoring over this period with good defence from Wilson, Golec and Gallagher keeping the visitors line intact while debutant Mee was unlucky not to score following Barnett’s good run to the line.
Rovers went close when Pajor and Woodward both had strong runs and were rewarded for their enterprising play when Wallis broke and his neat offload and good support play saw Hill crash over for a self-converted score on 30 minutes to level the scores. Rovers were in the ascendancy now and the home side had to be at their best to prevent Bond and Taylor from scoring following good work by Wilson and Thaler. Rovers thought they had taken the lead right on the interval when a superb run from Reville saw him crash over but the score was harshly ruled out.
The second half commenced and the game then centred on defence with both sides in top form and neither wanting to give any advantage there were some terrific tackling displays on show with Hill, Gallagher and Wilson leading the way for the visitors. Of the few chances that were created Rovers were unfortunate not to score through Shaw and Burns while at the other end Hatfield and Taylor both pulled off superb cover tackles to deny the home side.
It was not until almost the hour mark before the next score was registered when after Rovers had been so close to taking the lead at one end Upton broke through and the almost farcical last tackle kick saw the home side score a disputed try with the official ruling the ball had been grounded to give them a 4 point advantage. Five minutes later and the home side gave themselves a 10 point cushion when scoring out wide following a suspect forward pass and an excellent touchline conversion.
Rovers were determined not to lose heart and showed immense character to battle back into the match with some good work from the forwards both on attack and defence laying the platform for a spirited comeback. After good defence held out the home side an excellent passage of play led to Shaw receiving the ball on the Rovers 20 yard mark and the youngster showed his pace and awareness to race 80 yards for an excellent try, converted by Hill to put Rovers only 4 points adrift going into the last 10 minutes.
The afternoons exertions was now beginning to take its toll on the overworked Rovers defence however as fatigue set in and Upton wrapped up the game with a 4 point score with 5 minutes remaining.
Rovers tried hard from the restart and there was still time for the visitors to mount a last effort but forcing the play saw the chance go begging and with it the points went to the home side so there was to be no glory today for the home side as Upton hung on for their victory.
Rovers will take a lot of positives from the match as there were some excellent performances from individuals and as a team they seem to be progressing in the right direction with only a matter of time before they get the results they deserve,
Best for the Rovers side were Hill, Wallis and Wilson with Taylor taking the Boomerang bar sponsored man of the match award for a tireless display on the day.