No luck for the Irish as Rovers take notable victory.
Halifax Irish .. 18
Sharlston Rovers .. 28
Having only just started their league championship campaign Sharlston did their Pennine premier title aspirations a huge boost by defeating reigning champions Halifax Irish on their own midden.
Rovers were dealt an early blow in opening minutes as the hosts crossed outwide with a clever kick giving them the overlap and after rounding the full back an easy kick gave the hosts a 6 point lead. Second row powerhouse Jonathan Waddle who is relishing his new position in the engine room skittled his way through several defenders to reply for the visitors but the kick failed to return parity.
Rovers soon took the lead as Gareth Davies put on the trademark footwork to bamboozle the defence and score touch side, again the kick failing. With the Irish pack beaten by a superior go forward from Booth, Hodgson, Crowther and Emblem and breaks of excellence from Craig Miles Sharlston found themselves with the ball on several occasions in their opponents half and the defence eventually broke down as Gordy Long put Chris Hill in space on the touchside.
With Sharlston missing all three conversions there was only one converted try separating the teams, and the Irish punished the kicking as they registered a length of the field break from brothers Darren and Dean Williams with Dean touching down from the return pass, Charlesworth drew the hosts level going into the interval.
Sharlston continued their first half attacking supremacy but failed to finish off with the try although Hodgson came close having his effort wiped out for an earlier forward pass. On the 50th minute Irish who had conceded several penalties for high tackles lost loose forward Alex Muff having close-lined wingman Mark Hudson.
The 10 minute spell while Muff was off proved to be the turning point as from a set move Hodgson wrapped up several defenders under the sticks before offloading the all important pass to Carl Spencer who was eager in support, Hill again added the extras.
Soon after Sharlston punished the man advantage further as Davies was first to react to a clever kick from Tom Wandless and Hill didn’t disappoint with the conversion attempt.
On the hour mark Hill completed his brace finishing some slick handling between Saville and Miles, the kick from touch side by Hill put the visitors 16 points clear. The Irish couldn’t re-group properly when soon after returning to 13 men, ill discipline meant they would finish the match with twelve men with another player going to the bin for a head high shot.
Irish couldn’t get close enough into the opponents half to contest the result as the steadfast defence held out until the closing minute when Charlesworth jinked through for a long range effort which he then converted, but it was too little too late as Rovers made it 2 wins from 2 and the notable away victory against the title favourites building the squads confidence for the future.
Captain Craig Miles took the UNISON sponsored man of the match with an uncompromising defence but was pushed close with an all round team effort.
Sharlston will take a break from the league campaign as they host old foe’s Elland in the Yorkshire cup second round, kicking off at 2pm.
Halifax Irish : 1. Jake McCarthy 2. Micahel Reed 3. Chris Norman 4. Darren Williams 5. Dean Williams 6. Graham Charlesworth 7. Michael Holden 8. Ashley Taylor 9. Paul O’Byrne 10. Luke Brown 11. Chris Moran 12. Chris Muxlow 13. Alex Muff 14. Will Midgley 15. James Yarker 16. Richard Mudd 17. Joss Bentley
Sharlston Rovers : 1.Geoff Hick 2. James Byrom 3. Gareth Davies 4. Keith Brook 5. Chris Hill 7. Thomas Wandless 8. Andy Booth 9. Lee Bettison 10. Phil Hodgson 11. Sean Emblem 12. Jonathan Waddle 13. Craig Miles 14. Carl Spencer 15. Tommy Crowther 16. Carl Saville 17. Mark Hudson