Shaw Cross Sharks gave themselves a much need confidence boost as they produced a clinical performance to overcome Heavy Woollen foes Batley Boys – and booked their spot in the Jim Brown Heavy Woollen Cup for the third time in three seasons.
Sam Ottewell scored a hat-trick of tries as the Sharks ran in eight scores on Wednesday evening.
Shaw Cross welcomed back their coaching staff and a whole host of players after a depleted side turned out against Underbank.
Head coach Brett Turner was proud of his players but feels that there is still much more to come.
“It is good to get a win, we weren’t at our best but we got the result, Batley Boys gave a good account of themselves but it is a good win for us,” said Turner.
“The break on Saturday is coming at a bit of a bad time for us, but the break does give us a good chance to prepare for Normanton next week.”
Shaw Cross got off to the perfect start as they opened the scoring inside the first minute, Luke Hudson attempted an unconventional kick over the line, Aiden Scully was alert and ran onto the ball before easing his way past the tackler to score.
It didn’t take long for the hosts to double their lead as Sam Ottewell sent a cut out pass to Ross Roebuck on the wing, Roebuck burst down the line before feeding the ball back inside to the supporting Ottewell who dived over for his first try of the night.
Josh Whitehead responded for Batley as the Shaw Cross tacklers fell off the Batley centre who touched down and halved the deficit.
Roebuck and Ottewell combined for a second time as Roebuck gave Batley fullback Jay Jay Price the show and go before being brought down, Ottewell picked the ball from dummy half and forced his way to the line to give Shaw Cross breathing space.
The hosts then began to turn the screw as minutes into the second 40 Matthew Tebb provided a lovely ball for Dickie Piper who crashed over from close range.
With Casey Johnson missing from the Sharks line-up Nathan Smith was handed the kicking duties and made it four conversions from four as he successfully added the two points.
Batley responded to falling further behind as Price provided a short ball for Whitehead who darted through a gap to score his and Batley’s second of the evening, Adam Bingham was sent to the sin-bin shortly after for dissent.
The Sharks punished the 12 men almost immediately as Adam Masson offloaded the ball back, the ball went to ground but Smith was alert to pick the ball up and jink his way over for a try.
Tebb then played the ball to Ottewell who stepped his way past the tackler and touched down to complete his hat-trick.
Aaron James reduced the Sharks’ advantage as he barged his way to the line to score by the posts.
Scrum-half Paul March then scored Shaw Cross’ seventh try of the evening with a superb solo effort, March broke the line 40 metres out before evading the on-rushing fullback to get the ball down.
March then turned from scorer to provider as he popped the ball up for Ash Lindsay who barrelled through the tackle and shrugged off another three men to score with the final play of the game.
Tonight (Thursday) Dewsbury Celtic host Thornhill Trojans in the other semi-final, the winner will meet Shaw Cross in this year’s final.
Sharks are not in action until next Saturday, when they travel to Normanton Knights in the National Conference Division One.
Updated 17:12 - 15 Jun 2017 by Ben McKenna