Rovers made to work for Blacks victory
New Earswick All Blacks .. 10
Sharlston Rovers .. 26
Pennine Premier League
Rovers travelled to New Earswick with the comfort of a 52-10 result in the previous home tie, but this encounter was to be a much closer affair with the York outfit working hard to keep out a Rovers side that attacks with flair.
Only 8 minutes in and with some early errors behind them Jonathan Waddle opened the afternoons scoring, skittling several tackles to go from half way, Geoff Hick added the early conversion.
The hosts soon wiped out that score though as an astute kick through from the scrum down managed to force a fumble from the Rovers wingman with Steve Perks being the first to react, Nick Speck added the goal to tie the scores.
Rovers with an excess of errors elected to play a more patient style of rugby and grinded through the sets while attacking up the incline, Lee Maskill & Lee Bettison turning the possession around well. The visitors defence worked overtime and dominated the tackles in which Sean Emblem, Lee Bettinson and Craig Miles were involved in almost everything.
The persistence of Rovers’ improved completion paid its toll only minutes before the interval as Gareth Davies raced in for a quick-fire brace the first completing a 5th and last power play before sealing the half with a quick reaction to a defensive error. Rovers fullback and man of the match Geoff Hick was kept busy all afternoon with testing kicks returning way over the gain line each time.
With the thick fog setting in for the second period of the match visibility fell to a minimum and the defence would probably like to blame that for the hosts second try as Carl Barrow sneaked over from acting half. Rovers rapidly replied as driving force Andy Booth pushed over, Chris Hill taking the kicking duties to take the visitors 10 points clear.
With New Earswick’s improved defence from earlier in the season they earned a more reputable home scoreline but red hot scoring machine Gareth Davies who has amassed 23 tries already this season completed his hat-trick with minutes to spare, Hill added the goal to bank another 2 league points.
The hard fought victory in freezing temperatures was a baptism of fire for new signing Brad Chatfield who joins Sharlston from New South Wales side Eden Tigers. The 21 year old hard running center made the long journey over last Tuesday having played with touring Rovers players James Lockwood and Chris Bingham who return from Australia next week.
Sharlston now face a tough few weeks in preparation of the big Yorkshire cup final clash on 28th December with a visit to Fartown to face St Joseph’s in the league this weekend before hosting NCL premier top 4 side York Acorn in the second round of the national cup.
The club will be running a supporters bus to the St Joes league game, leaving the Sharlston HQ 12 noon prompt.