Coach Barlow praises impressive Sharks defence in Askam victory

editorial image

Shaw Cross Sharks claimed their second win of the National Conference Division Two campaign as they ground out an 18-0 success at Askam last Saturday.

Both sides went into the game having won one of their opening three fixtures and it proved a closely fought contest in Cumbria as they battled out a scoreless first half.

Sam Ottewell scored a try and kicked a goal for the Sharks, with Nathan Wright and Dec Brereton also crossing and Luke Somers landing two conversions to ensure it was a happy return journey.

A superb defensive effort throughout helped nil the opposition, which impressed coach Mark Barlow.

He said: “I know it’s a bit of a cliché but we won the game through our defence, and the sheer determination and desire to get a win away from home.

“We were beating them in every department. That was skill-wise, structure-wise, physicality-wise.

“The frustrating thing for us was that in the first half they had a bit of a hill advantage and they played to that, they knew the field better than us.

“Credit to our boys, we stuck in there with our defence and that’s what won us the game. It was only in the last 20 minutes we were pulling away and we could all breathe and enjoy the game.

“Cumbria is always a tough place to go, and we’ve come with a patched up team, we’ve got a lot of injuries, we’ve got three lads from the Under-18s, and we’ve had to borrow a couple of lads from the second team. Everyone who’s put a top on today has done the club proud.”

John Rourke and Dec Brereton were two of the top performers in a great team effort, and Barlow also praised the young players who filled in admirably as the Sharks did things tough.

He added: “Rourkey and Dec, every time they put a club shirt on they’re leaders.

“They’re senior players and you can always rely on those two so it goes without saying that they played well.

“We had Luke Hudson in the middle of the park, generally plays 60-70 minutes and played 80 minutes.

“We’ve got three lads coming up from the 18s, Elliott (Richardson), Brad (Baines) and Harrison (Sutcliffe), all putting a shirt on, stepping up and doing a great job.

The Sharks face a tasty trip to Bradford Dudley Hill tomorrow (Friday, kick off 7.30pm).