Rovers A dashed by Dragons
Sharlston Rovers ‘A’ 18
Wortley Dragons .. 22
Pennine Division 3
by John Brewerton
Rovers came up just short in this tough promotion battle against strong rivals Wortley Dragons who are now the odds on favourites for the division 3 title. In a pulsating opening quarter watched by a large crowd Rovers got away to an excellent start with Cooper and Shaw testing the home defence with some good runs.
Big defence from the home side put Wortley under pressure with Palmer and Golec leading the way, and a three man tackle from Rovers saw the ball spill over the try line with Smith quickest to react to give Rovers a try and the start they wanted with Hill converting. Wortley hit back and slotted over a penalty goal 3 minutes later to reduce the arrears’.
Good defence from Kelly and Heath kept out the visitors while Smith and Hill did well to chase a nothing kick and force the visitors to concede a drop out. Brooke and Shaw combined well to prevent a score in the corner and Spencer’s excellent take from a high kick eased the pressure on the Rovers line.
With Rovers pressing the line the visitors managed to intercept and race away to score a try and tie the game at 6-6. A good kick off from the restart forced another drop out and 2 plays later Rovers were awarded a penalty with Hill slotting over to restore the lead.
Good work from Cooper saw Shaw stopped just short and Spencer crossed the line only to see the score denied. Another good break from Smith led to a penalty with hill again keeping the scoreboard ticking over and Rovers taking a 10-6 lead at half time.
Rovers knew they had to start the 2nd period well and not allow the much bigger visiting pack the momentum, and Smith, Hill and Shaw did well to prevent a score when the visitor s created an overlap out wide. After some sustained pressure on the home line the visitors were rewarded when a loose ball was picked up and a converted try was scored from close range. The game was end to end at this stage with both sides attacking and defending with great passion, the visitors next to score with a penalty for offside slotted over on 58 minutes to increase the lead to 4 points.
Smith’s excellent take from the restart put the visitors on the back foot and a penalty was awarded for slowing the play the ball with Hill again successful. 2 minutes later the gap was again 4 points when a penalty for offside saw the visitors kick from 40 yards out. Rovers put pressure on the Wortley line but just couldn’t finish the moves while Wortley played some strong running rugby and gained ground to put the home side on the back foot.
After 3 consecutive sets the line was breached with a strong run from deep and a converted score saw a 10 point gap emerge. 7 minutes remaining and after some excellent work from Brook, Hill and Kelly Rovers were rewarded with a score from Heath who used his strength to crash over from close range with Hill converting to set up a grandstand finish.
With Rovers now chasing the game mistakes were inevitable and all too often they forced passes that were not on in an effort to salvage something. The final score of 18-22 was tough on the Rovers and it remains to be seen whether this result will ultimately cost Rovers in their push for promotion and the defeat was hard to swallow with the effort shown by the young side.
Best for Rovers in a very good team effort were Smith, Whitehouse and Golec with Hill taking the Motorcity Motorists Centre sponsored man of the match award.
Next week’s game is away at Ryhill Hammers in the Semi Final of the Wakefield and District Physiowise sponsored trophy.