Sharks secure third victory and move off bottom of table

Shaw Cross forward Matthew West produces a strong drive as he attempts to force his way past Milford defender Andy Barker
Shaw Cross forward Matthew West produces a strong drive as he attempts to force his way past Milford defender Andy Barker

Shaw Cross Sharks moved off the foot of National Conference League Division One last Saturday thanks to a 23-10 victory over Milford Marlins.

Tries from Joe Halloran, Nathan Wright, Paul March, Ash Berry and Sam Ottewell, along with a conversion and a drop goal from Shaun Squires, sealed a deserved third win of the season for Shaw Cross.

The Sharks were in front within five minutes, as strong carries from Halloran and Owen Lamb put them in a good position for Ryan Chalkley to send Halloran in to score, with Squires adding the extras.

They continued to dominate and more good play ended with Wright scoring at right corner after Matthew Tebb had been held short.

The Sharks were in control but Milford got a try back out of the blue when Lumb lost the ball, allowing Josh Nathaniel to sprint away to score, with Martin Loveridge converting.

The Sharks responded well and a good break saw Brandon French send Halloran down the left wing before the ball was moved right for March to score.

More expansive play created an overlap on the left for Berry to go over and put them 12 points in front at the break.

The second half was a tighter affair as both sides tired in the heat, but it was Milford who scored next when Harry Gillfillan was sent over in the left corner.

A Milford error allowed Ottewell to sprint down the right wing for the Sharks’ fifth try of the afternoon and their defence then held firm before Squires sealed victory with a drop goal.

Head coach March praised the positive attitude of his players said: “We had 17 players on the field and 22 to pick from, and I said it’s about a performance and a result.

“We believe that we are a lot better than our position shows, but only we can get ourselves out of (trouble).

“It’s alright coming and playing and enjoying it, but at the end of the day we’re rugby players and we want to win.

“We showed that we’ll fight for everything and we out-enthused Milford, even though they were a younger team and the tries we scored in the first half were class.”

“Obviously we’ve gone through a rough patch of results, and with work commitments and injuries, so we just said we needed to come through it and play with a smile on our faces and enjoy our rugby.

“We controlled the game, especially in the first half hour. For three of the tries we scored, the skill level was excellent.

“When you’re not defending for long periods of the game, you feel fresher and we had some middle units who did a lot of minutes in that heat, and we can’t ask for more than that.”

The Sharks face a huge test this Saturday when they travel to local rivals Thornhill Trojans, and March will want his players to keep their cool in what is expected to be a heated battle.

March added “A local derby is about saving energy and playing with your heads and not your hearts, because if your hearts take over it could be a wild game.

“If we show some skill, hopefully we can cause them problems and take our opportunities.”