Shaw Cross Sharks failed in their bid to reach the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup third round, going down 40-6 at home to Castleford Lock Lane last Saturday.
It was a big day for the Shaw Cross club as the RFL had chosen them as match of the weekend. They brought along their PA system to announce teams and try scorers and even had the Challenge Cup on display.
The teams walked past the famous trophy as they stepped onto the pitch, ahead of the eagerly anticipated clash.
Shaw Cross struggled to get going and were punished by the opposition, who raced into a 24-0 lead after the opening quarter.
Good runs and quick passing enabled Lock Lane to find gaps in the Sharks’ line, while the visiting goalkicker was also on top form as he made the task even harder.
Danny Flowers was withdrawn from the contest clutching a shoulder but he is expected to recover in time for the Sharks’ opening National Conference League game in a fortnight.
The Sharks finished the first half strongly and were only prevented from getting on the scoreboard due to resilient Lock Lane defending.
Shaw Cross started the second half much brighter than the first and put pressure on the Lock Lane defence.
However, the visitors survived and broke away for another converted try to extend their lead to 30-0.
The Sharks got a deserved try after great work by James Davies saw him power through several defenders to touch down.
With Flowers out of action, Poching took on the kicking duties and added the extras to make it 30-6.
Despite the effort Sharks had put in they conceded two late tries after more excellent play from Castleford Lock Lane.
Sharks captain Andrew Fawkes was disappointed at the result, saying: “Lock Lane are a fantastic team, they showed us that on the pitch.
“There were times when we looked like we were in the game but when they had the ball in their hand they were far too clinical.”
Fawkes knows there is plenty of work to do ahead of the new season but admits there were positives for his side to take from the defeat.
Coach Brett Turner added: “We played a team in a higher division and I honestly thought we would be able to match them but we were beaten by a better team to be honest.”
Turner and Fawkes both still have high hopes for the season ahead.
Despite bowing out of the cup, the coach and captain have set the target of reaching the Conference Division One play-offs.
The Sharks kick off the new National Conference campaign with a trip to Featherstone Lions on Saturday March 5.