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Sharks show bite against Marlins

2 months ago By Ben McKenna

Milford Marlins 20-27 Shaw Cross Sharks

Shaw Cross Sharks won for the first time since the beginning of July as they produced a gutsy performance against third-placed Milford Marlins.

The Sharks moved three points clear of the relegation places and with only three games left to play a win next week could be enough to secure their Division One status for another year.

Stand-in head coach Andrew Fawkes was ecstatic with the performance from his players after a superb all-round display.

“Against all odds we came out with the win, the lads dug deep today and played with some heart,” said Fawkes.

“Our lads wanted it today, their backs were against the wall and they put their heart and soul into absolutely everything.

“We defended our line for several sets and managed to keep them out, it could’ve been an easy loss if we didn’t defend as hard as we did, I think we held them up four or five times.

“We have not had a great season but there are not many teams who will come to Milford and turn them over so it is a really big win for us at this point in the season.”

Things looked grim for Shaw Cross ahead of kick off as only 16 men were named on the team sheet.

However it was the Sharks who opened the scoring inside the first minute as Paul March received the ball on the last tackle and dinked the ball over the Milford line.

Nathan Wright picked the ball up and attempted to throw a pass back inside to Danny Flowers, the Marlins intercepted but a big hit from Flowers and Wright forced the ball loose and Tom Rodgers latched onto it and found March who raced clear to score.

Rodgers then played a key role at the other end as he raced across to tackle the Milford winger into touch and stop a certain try.

Minutes later the visitors doubled their lead through Wright.

Casey Johnson offloaded the ball to Jamie Searby who in turn sent it wide to Flowers who flicked the ball brilliantly to Wright who dived over in the corner.

Shaw Cross were then forced into defending their line and held out valiantly for the majority of the half.

Milford finally managed to penetrate the away defence as Matt Brocksom stumbled over in the corner.

At the beginning of the second half Shaw Cross were temporarily down to 12 men as Tom Rodgers was yellow carded for dissent.

However Johnson then earned the Sharks a penalty as he charged down a kick and raced 70 metres before being brought down.

The referee then found Milford guilty of holding Johnson down and sent the tackler to the sin bin for a professional foul.

The powerful forward opted to kick for goal and stretched the Sharks’ lead to 10 points from in front of the posts.

Milford then drew level with two tries in a matter of minutes.

Josh Parke broke the line and darted over on the left-hand side, the hosts then forced their way over in the opposite corner to level proceedings.

Shaw Cross soon regained the lead as Ash Lindsay received the ball and fainted to kick before passing to Joe Buggle who crashed over beside the uprights.

March then kicked only the second drop goal of his career to put the game out of Milford’s reach.

The hosts did get to within one point of the visitors as the left centre made use of some poor defending to score in behind the posts.

With only minutes left on the clock Andrew Tillotson sealed the win for Shaw Cross as he went from dummy half and ghosted in underneath the posts and sparked jubilant celebrations from the Sharks players and supporters.

Next weekend the Sharks host bottom-club Blackbrook at Shark Park - kick off 2.30pm.

Updated 16:42 - 8 Sep 2017 by Ben McKenna

Where next?

Johnson praises team spirit Interim coach pleased with recent progress
Shaw Cross Girls star at Schools Finals Sharks girls feature in two finals

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