Victoria take spoils in A team fixture
Sharlston Rovers A 18
Victoria Rangers 30
Pennine Division 1
Rovers came off second best in this tough encounter as they again lost concentration to gift the visitorís points at crucial times.
Rovers started well and for the opening quarter were much the better side as they took the game to the Bradford based outfit from the off, forcing a drop out from the kick off with some solid defence restricting the visitors to limited progress with the ball. Rovers went close through Rasool who was forced into touch after crossing the line and with Richardson calling the shots the young Rovers outfit looked dangerous.
On defence Kelly, Whitehouse and Clayton led the way keeping the Victoria side at bay and Taylor went close for Rovers after good work from Hick. Mistakes then started to creep into the Rovers game and the visitors took the lead on 27 minutes with a converted try from a speculative kick following a mistake by Sharlston when they were in possession. Straight from the restart Rovers were in trouble, conceding a penalty then some sloppy defence led to another converted try. With the visitors now in a confident mood Rovers needed to take a grip on the match but were unable to do so and they were in trouble when Victoria scored a 3rd converted try after 34 minutes with the home side looking shell shocked at this stage.
Rovers dug in and came back strong and after good play from Beecher, Kaye went close in his comeback match while Hatfield always looked a threat with the ball. Rovers went into the break 18 points adrift but determined to change things in the 2nd period.
Rovers regrouped and regained their composure at the start of the 2nd half taking the game to Victoria and were on the score sheet when Hick picked up a neat inside ball from Richardson to crash over on 45 minutes. Good work from the restart saw Dixon and Kelly making good yards then clever play from Taylor saw youngster Kendall smash his way over for his 1st try for the club; neither tries were converted but Rovers were back in contention and playing some nice football. Victoria tried to stem the Rovers flow but Hick was starting to make ground with ease and after a good run Shaw was unlucky not to score.
With 55 minutes gone Rovers narrowed the gap to 6 points when Hick notched his 2nd of the day with an excellent solo score with the full back beating several would be defenders before a 40 yard foot race to the line leaving the visitors full back trailing behind.
Rovers were well in this game now and just needed to continue with the same game plan to give them a chance. A penalty to the visitors saw them extend the lead to 8 points then Rovers again seemed to switch off allowing Victoria to get back into the match with some poor ball control and unforced errors gifting possession to the visitors.
Victoria extended the lead with a try on 65 minutes leaving Rovers with too much to do going into the final stages of the match. Hick completed his hat trick on 75 minutes with another good individual try with Lingard successful with the conversion reducing the deficit to 8 points but there was to be no fairy tale comeback from Rovers as the visitors showed how to close out a game and they secured the spoils with a last minute unconverted try following a long break and some good hands in the build-up.
Rovers showed they can match teams in this division but will need to work for the full 80 minutes if they are to be successful at this level.
Best for the Rovers side were Richardson, Kendall and Kelly with Hick taking the Arkaanís Indian Restaurant sponsored man of the match award.
Next week sees the much talked about 1st round Wakefield and District City Plasterers cup match where Rovers A will play away at Sharlston Rovers 1st team in what is sure to be an entertaining afternoon followed by a bit of a do in the clubhouse where the Super league Grand final will be shown on the big screen.
Players meet at 1-00 pm at the club house for a 2-30pm kick off