Late penalties deny Sharks opening Conference victory on Underbank trip

Nathan Wright scored the Sharks opening try at Underbank.
Nathan Wright scored the Sharks opening try at Underbank.
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Shaw Cross Sharks produced an encouraging performance away to Underbank but a penalty five minutes from time condemned them to an agonising 24-22 defeat in their opening National Conference Division One game.

The Sharks had added the experience of former Super League player Paul March and ex-Batley Bulldogs forward Ash Lindsay to their starting line-up and they looked a different side to the one who slumped to defeat at Eastmoor Dragons in their previous outing.

Shaw Cross struck first when Nathan Wright collected Brandan French’s offload to score in the corner.

Wright almost doubled his tally soon after but knocked on in the act of scoring.

Underbank levelled as winger Alex Chatterton intercepted the ball 10 metres from his own line and burst away to score between the posts.

Nathan Smith chipped over the Underbank defence and touched down but the referee, who was right in front of the play, deemed the ball to have gone dead.

Underbank’s Luke Pogson scored near the posts but the conversion was put wide leaving only four points between the sides.

Underbank added another score when winger Johnathan Tinker was on the end of a sweeping move to the left wing but again the conversion was unsuccessful.

The Sharks rallied before half-time as they scored two tries to go ahead.

Sam Ottewell latched onto a pass from March and the full-back raced through a gap to score.

March then scored from the last play of the half as French, wrapped up by two players, offloaded the ball to his team mate who gladly accepted to score.

Danny Flowers showed his class to land his third conversion from the touchline.

Underbank regained the lead at the start of the second half as Tinker gathered a cross field kick and went over but the Sharks hit back to level with a Flowers penalty goal.

The Sharks were awarded another penalty close to the posts after Flowers was dumped off the ball.

Flowers stepped up and kicked the goal to edge his side two points ahead.

However, Underbank levelled with a penalty for a high tackle.

In a tense finale, Flowers struck the post with a long range penalty attempt before Underbank were awarded a penalty five minutes from time and the successful goal was enough to earn them victory.

Sharks coach Brett Turner was disappointed with the result but has positives to take from his side’s opening game as they prepare to host promoted Hunslet Club Parkside this Saturday (kick off 2.30pm).