A depleted, injury-hit Shaw Cross Sharks fought bravely against the odds in a 72-16 defeat at Skirlaugh in National Conference League Division One last Saturday.
The Sharks scored three good tries in the first 35 minutes despite a lack of numbers, earning the admiration of all at the ground, despite an inevitably heavy end result.
Skirlaugh got the opening try with their first set of the match, but the Sharks hit back with good play sending Nathan Wright in at the corner to level.
The hosts got three more tries to build a comfortable lead, before the Sharks grabbed their second with Paul March’s short kick sending Ryan Chalkley away and he went over after good combination with Brandon French.
Skirlaugh scored another before the best try of the match came from the Sharks.
Delightful offloads from March and French worked the ball to Sam Ottewell, who managed to glide past a number of defenders to make it to the line.
Two more tries for the home side took the score to 40-16 at half-time.
The monumental effort was always going to take its toll and the Sharks players were clearly tired in the second-half.
Skirlaugh added another six tries onto the total in the second period, to make the final score 72-16.
Despite the heavy defeat, Sharks coach Paul March was proud of his side’s efforts, saying: “We went understrength but the lads who went put their hand up.
“We are scratching around for a side but we made the effort to do it tough, and I’m proud of every one that turned up.
“With less men than them we’ve scored three good tries, well worked tries as well.
“It doesn’t matter who we had playing, we would have finished them off, and it’s just defensively they had the numbers and overran us.
“We’ve got 12 on the injury bed and had another six with work commitments but those who played put dibs on the shirts next time.
“We’re not having the same players playing every week, we’re swapping and changing due to injuries or work commitments or going on holiday, and that’s only going to get worse over the next few weeks with the summer coming up.
Defeat leaves the Sharks bottom of the table but just two points off safety and they have a week off before entertaining Milford Marlins on June 30.