“Adam Masson in his second game since injury ”
Photo by Paul Butterfield
Shaw Cross Sharks are still searching for their first home win in the National Conference Division One after they came out second best against league leaders Underbank Rangers.
The Sharks were missing both members of their coaching staff and made several changes from the side that slipped to defeat against York Acorn last weekend, as well as only naming 16 players on their team sheet.
The visitors starting the game on top but were unable to breach the Shaw Cross line after valiant defence from the hosts.
Toronto Wolfpack trialist Casey Clark opened the scoring with 15 minutes gone as he barged his way over from close range, the referee waited for the tacklers to roll away before awarding the score and waved away any appeals for double movement.
Liam Green reduced the deficit for Shaw Cross moments later as he gathered a difficult offload from Brandan French and got over in the corner.
Richard Knight and Brandan French where then sent to the sin-bin after Knight hit French off the ball, French was frustrated to be given a ten minutes in the bin after the Sharks’ number 12 did not retaliate to the incident.
Two quick-fire tries before half-time put some daylight between the sides, Sam Ansell took advantage of a knock on to score his first of the afternoon before Sam Rochford sold a dummy to dart over under the sticks.
Underbank sealed the win inside the first seven minutes of the second half, Courtney Allette went over after the ball was moved out wide to the left.
Ansell went over for his second try of the game after a knock on from Sam Ottewell was gathered by Ansell, some soft defending from Shaw Cross then allowed the winger to move infield and score by the posts.
Ottewell then showcased some superb individual played as chased back to prevent a certain and try, tackling the attacker and legally stealing the ball in the process.
Owen Restall put Underbank further ahead as the ball was moved out wide and then back inside to the centre who dived over under the posts.
Ansell then completed his hat-trick as the ball was moved out right and the visitors had the numbers needed out wide for Ansell to comfortably get over the whitewash.
Underbank received their second yellow card of the game as Rochford was penalised for a late tackle.
Stand in coach and club chairman Chris Smith was proud of the team’s efforts despite what was a disappointing result.
“It was a big effort from the lads today against a strong side on a roll, very proud of the work the players put in but we were just outmuscled by a team in top form,” said Smith.
“They have put 60 points past a few teams and we had some tight calls go against us so no need to panic, we have a cup semi-final this week so we need to get up for that.”
Shaw Cross Sharks host Batley Boys this Wednesday evening as they aim to reach the final of the Heavy Woollen Cup.
Updated 09:34 - 11 Jun 2017 by Ben McKenna