Rovers lose grasp on Batley victory
Batley Boys .. 22
Sharlston Rovers A .. 16
Pennine Division 1
Not for the 1st time this season Rovers were dealt a harsh reminder that they must compete for the full 80 minutes as they again lost a game they should have won.
As in the early season loss to the Batley side both teams started cautiously with neither side looking to make mistakes. Batley started the stronger and put the visitors under some pressure but the defence held firm with Whitehouse and Gallagher leading the way. Batley almost took the lead on 15 minutes with a break down the blind side but a good cover tackle from Hatfield prevented a score. Good work from P Hill saw Barnett go close for the Rovers before Batley opened the scoring on 20 minutes with a try out wide superbly converted to give them a 6 point lead.
Rovers hit back and went close through Pajor and Mee before an excellent break from Taylor and a well-timed offload saw Gallagher cross for Rovers on 25 minutes, C Hill tagging on the extras. Both sides had chances over the next 10 minutes with the game flowing and some good entertaining rugby despite the heavy pitch.
Barnett and Gallagher combined well but were prevented from scoring by some desperate home defence. Rovers were dealt a double blow late in the half when they were unlucky first following a break from P Hill that led to C Hill crossing the line only for the score to be harshly ruled out for an alleged infringement in the build-up. Batley then rubbed salt in the wounds by scoring a try on the next set after a mix up in the Rovers defence saw the home side cross out wide with again another touchline conversion successful.
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 Palmer, Barnett and Golec leading the way for the visitors.
Rovers levelled on 48 minutes when Golec saw the smallest of gaps around the play the ball and he crashed over for a try again converted by C Hill. Sharlston were in control now and Golec had a 2nd score ruled out before Shaw forced his way over in heavy traffic out wide after a good off load from Whitehouse following Smith’s strong run to give Rovers a 4 point lead on the hour mark.
Batley came back strongly and only good defence from Smith and Reville prevented a score as Rovers repelled the home side for 2 consecutive sets following a forced drop out. Batley were extremely fortunate to level on 67 minutes when a kick on the last tackle saw the home wingman score out wide with the visitors protests regarding offside ignored.
The next score was again hotly disputed as another kick this time to the opposite corner again saw the home side scoring this time converted to give them a 6 point cushion with 8 minutes remaining.
Rovers forced the game then and tried hard from the restart with P Hill and Smith combining well to see Pajor stopped just short. In a frantic last few minutes Rovers forced a drop out when a clever C Hill kick saw Taylor almost score and then P Hill created a chance and Garfitt crashed over but the score was ruled out following another alleged infringement in the build-up.
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.
Rovers will again take some 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 Golec, Palmer and Hatfield with Phil Hill taking the MotorCity Motorists centre sponsored man of the match award for a tireless display on the day. Next up is a rare home game for the Rovers where they entertain Morley Borough. Players meet at 1-00pm at the clubhouse for a 2-00 ko.