Sharks give Egremont fright in Trophy clash

Ben Spaven scored a first half try as Shaw Cross Sharks threatened to pull off a National Conference Trophy upset at Egremont last Saturday.
Ben Spaven scored a first half try as Shaw Cross Sharks threatened to pull off a National Conference Trophy upset at Egremont last Saturday.

Shaw Cross Sharks gave Premier Division Egremont a huge scare in the National Conference Trophy, before they were edged out 22-17 last Saturday.

The Sharks produced an excellent first half display and threatened to shock their Premier Division opponents.

Egremont piled on early pressure but the Sharks held firm to deny them on several occasions before Sam Ottewell produced a clever kick which he regathered to score. Casey Johnson landed the simple conversion to put the Sharks 6-0 ahead.

Egremont had former London Broncos and England player Rob Purdham dictating play but the resilient Sharks were in determined mood and some excellent defence saw them grow in confidence.

Ben Spaven broke and powered through for the Sharks’ second try and Johnson’s conversion saw the visitors lead 12-0.

Further good field position then created the space for Martyn Holland to slot over a drop goal and the Sharks sensed an upset.

Egremont were reeling further when a superbly timed pass from Brandan French put Tom Rogers over to score on the stroke of half-time.

Johnson’s conversion attempt struck the post and bounced out but the Sharks deservedly led 17-0.

Rogers scooped up a loose pass and raced 45 metres to the line.

The linesman flagged and play was brought back only to see Shaw Cross awarded the scrum.

The Sharks then lost scrum half Jordan Anderson with a hip injury and Egremont capitalised with a converted try to get a foothold in the game.

Further injuries to Rogers and Rourke disrupted the Sharks and they were vulnerable on the wide right which Egremont took advantage of as a slick passing move saw them score another converted try.

Egremont were roared on by a partisan home crowd and edged in front when their left centre was sent on a run and despite Sharks’ claims of a forward pass, he continued the move and sent the supporting full back diving over.

A further Egremont try put them 22-17 ahead but the Sharks, with an average age of 21 years old, kept battling.

In the closing seconds, Ottewell raced away for a potential match winning try but had his ankles tapped and stumbled a few metres out.

The Sharks will seldom play as well without winning but the experience of the Premier side just edged them out in a thrilling game.

Robbie Byatt, Aiden Kay and Declan Naughton were outstanding with forwards Luke Hudson, Zack Parkinson, Declan Ellis and Steve Talbot working hard.

MoM was John Rourke who rallied his young side throughout in a superb effort against the experienced Cumbrian outfit.