Rovers 2nd half comeback seals first home victory
Sharlston Rovers A .. 34
Lindley Swifts .. 22
Pennine Division One
Rovers got their home campaign off to a winning start with a real hard fought victory against a tough Huddersfield based Lindley Swifts.
Both sides started the game eager to get their seasons started and the visitors looked strong in the opening exchanges although the warm weather was always going to suit the much younger home side the longer the game progressed. Good defence from Rovers withstood the early onslaught from Lindley with C Hill and Kelly leading the way for Sharlston. Rovers were on the score board after 6 minutes when Hick picked up P Hillís neat inside ball to score under the posts, C Hill converting.
Swifts hit back when regathering the kick off and following a good set they were within 2 points after a try out wide. Rovers were determined not to lose concentration as is the norm and dug deep to repel the visitors over the next 5 minutes with some real dogged defence keeping the line intact, Shillabeer, Wood and Palmer showing their experience and leading by example and well supported by youngsters Kendall and Richardson.
Rovers again came back strong and after good play from Beecher, P Hill put Hatfield in for a good score Richardson converting. Switching off at the restart again saw Swifts scoring this time under the posts to trail by 2 points after 20 minutes. Rovers extended the lead with some good work from Hatfield and Rasool leading to Whitehouse scoring his 1st of the day but the complacency and errors by Rovers saw Swifts take control of the match, first levelling the scores then taking a 6 point advantage after 35 minutes.
Rovers did well to regain possession from the restart with Kendall out jumping his opposite number but with Rovers throwing caution to the wind in an effort to level the game the visitors winger intercepted a stray pass and raced 80 yards before being held inches short following a superb cover tackle from Beecher, then good work from C Hill and Beecher caused the visitors to lose possession on the next play leaving Rovers 6 behind going into the break.
Rovers regrouped and regained their composure at the start of the 2nd half taking the game to Swifts with some enterprising play before reducing the arrears with a try for wood after a good offload from Nicol. Shillabeer went close as did Rasool before Whitehouse notched his 2nd score to give Rovers a lead they would not relinquish on 50 minutes.
Rovers then played a clever tactical game and pinned the larger visiting side deep in their own half for long periods with some astute kicking from Both Hills and Richardson coupled with some excellent tackling from all in the Rovers camp. Time and again the youngsters repelled all from the Swifts side with the visitors frustration becoming apparent as they were unable to break the determined Rovers defensive line.
Kelly was next on the score sheet with a thundering run from 40 yards out seeing him crash over for the score of the day, Richardson successful with the conversion this time.
Rovers went close when P Hill broke through and fed Mee who was stopped short by a tremendous cover tackle with Hick also agonisingly close to scoring with a superb 60 yard run to the line that was again foiled by desperate defending. Rovers finished the days scoring with Whitehouse crashing over for his hat trick try after some good work from Hunter, Kendal and Clayton carved open the visitors defence on 74 minutes.
Rovers showed they can work for the full 80 minutes and will take a lot of positives from the match as there were some excellent performances from individuals while as a team they have not played this well for a long time.
Best for the Rovers side were Richardson, Shillabeer Whitehouse and Beecher with Oliver Wood taking the Sharlston Fisheries sponsored man of the match award.
Next up is another home game for the Rovers where they will be looking to back this performance up with something similar against Bradford based rivals Victoria Rangers. Players meet at 1-00 pm at the club house for a 2-30pm kick off