Sharks hold on for massive victory in battle to stay up
Shaw Cross Sharks hung on for a crucial 11-10 win against Featherstone Lions in National Conference League Division One last Saturday.
The Sharks deservedly led 11-6 at the break, with tries from Joe Halloran and Ryan Chalkley, and what proved to be the winning drop goal from Andrew Tillotson.
They were up against it for much of the second half, but strong defence kept the visitors down to just one try and ensured a first league win since the opening day of the season.
The Sharks went close early on as Thomas Stuckey almost got through down the right before play moved left and Brandon French was kept out.
The opening try came after 10 minutes, as great hands moved the ball left across the pitch and Halloran did brilliantly to round his opposing winger and accelerate to the line.
The Lions hit back with their first real opportunity as Scott Glassell went over from acting half-back and Ian Jackson converted to give the visitors a two-point lead.
Chalkley looked to have scored soon after, but play was pulled back for a forward pass.
The Sharks continued to control the tempo of the game and regained the lead through Chalkley’s determined drive to the line after quick hands worked the space down the left.
He converted his own try before Tillotson added a crucial drop goal.
A high kick by Lions bounced wickedly into the hands of Kieran Redfearn, but scrambling Sharks defence managed to wrap him up.
Featherstone had more chances in the second half but hard defensive work preserved the lead and when Glassell broke through and crossed the line, he somehow knocked on in his attempts to ground the ball.
The hard work was epitomised during a couple of repeat sets as twice players were held up over the line.
Featherstone pulled a try back, crossing out wide, while Halloran was inches short of getting to Tillotson’s kick through at the other end.
Feathertsone looked to have scored a winning try with a minute to go but a knock on was ruled and the Sharks managed to hold on for a narrow, yet massive, win.