Promotion hopes drop after gutsy performance
Morley Borough .. 32
Sharlston Rovers A .. 24
Pennine Division Three
A vastly under strength Rovers just came up short in this promotion battle against close rivals Morley Borough. Despite missing several key players and only able to muster 14 fit players the young Rovers side stunned the home side with a blistering start to the game.
Bailey’s excellent kick off resulted in a scrum feed for Rovers and immediately they put pressure on the Morley line, with Smith and Lawson going close before Gallagher put Reville through a gap and he ghosted over the line for an excellent score. Morley showed their credentials with a fine converted score following some good approach work to take the lead. Rovers are a resilient outfit of late and hit back with some good flowing football to get within touching distance of the home line only for Weight to be just stopped short after Bailey’s good break.
Rovers hit the front on 12 minutes when Golec and Richardson linked well to put Whitehouse into a gap and the big 2nd row man brushed aside 2 would be defenders to notch a good try, Bailey adding the extras. The blustery conditions were causing problems for both sides but Rovers seemed to adapt the better and went close through Pajor and Simpson before Bailey burst through from deep and powered his way over carrying 3 defenders with him.
On the half hour mark Morley broke from deep within their own half and notched an unconverted try to bring the score difference to 4 points. Excellent defence from Weight and Simpson prevented a try forcing the home centre into touch but then the wheels started to fall from the Rovers wagon with a last play of the half kick landing straight in the home side wingman’s grateful arms he raced in unopposed from 20 yards out to level the scores at the break.
The 2nd period saw Morley step up a gear and take the lead with a converted try 2 minutes after the break and Rovers from looking comfortable with a 4 point advantage were now 6 points adrift. Good defence from both sides saw chances limited although Gallagher and Richardson were creating openings for the Rovers. Rovers drew level when the influential bailey crashed over from a set play after good work by Golec and Smith confused the home defence.
Morley regained the lead on 65minutes when they exploited gaps out wide that the by now tiring Rovers defence were struggling to close down. Rovers put their all into getting back on level terms and after some strong determined running from Palmer, Lawson and Pajor the neat skills of Gallagher allowed bailey to crash over for his 3rd try of the day to level the scores, an achievement that the hard working Rovers side deserved. With time now running out the home side threw everything at Rovers and despite sterling efforts from Simpson, Kavanagh and Gallagher the home sides effort was just too much to withstand and the inevitable score came with less than 5 minutes to go.
Rovers pulled out all the stops in a desperate attempt to salvage something from the game but their adventurous play when chasing the game was always liable to see them left vulnerable and the home side clinched the points with a last minute score.
The effort and commitment shown by all the Rovers players did not reap the reward it so justly deserved but they could walk away with the knowledge that they had given their all for the Cause, but ultimately this defeat will probably cost Rovers the 2nd promotion spot as Morley are now in a good position with them only having one game left to play.
There were some excellent displays all around the park from the Rovers side with Greenbank, Simpson Lawson and Reville all catching the eye and Whitehouse really showing his potential with a massive display.
The Unison sponsored Man-of-the-match went to Bailey who showed tremendous character to lead the young side to a glorious defeat.
Next game is Away v Bradford based outfit Undercliffe Wildboars. Players meet at 12-15am at the clubhouse.