Sharks dig in to clinch Challenge Cup success

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Shaw Cross Sharks booked their place in the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup second round with a 22-14 victory at London Chargers last Saturday.

The clash had been in doubt following torrential rain on Friday evening but went ahead in blustery conditions. Shaw Cross made the perfect start when a dropped ball by the home full-back gave them a great opportunity and Danny Flowers carved an opening for Sam Ottewell to feed Brandon French.

He, in turn, slipped a smart ball to Tom Stuckey who dived over in the corner. Flowers hit a sweet conversion and the Sharks led 6-0 after less than two minutes.

The Chargers boasted several Australian and New Zealand players in their ranks and they struck back after a period of pressure to score an unconverted try after 30 minutes.

London continued to turn the screw with some strong forward play and great prompting from their half-backs, which put them 10-6 ahead.

This sparked some urgency and the Sharks produced a fine try to level when a superbly judged kick from Flowers saw Joe Halloran gather to touch-down wide out.

Flowers’ attempted conversion narrowly missed to leave it 10-10 at the break.

The Sharks began the second half strongly with the wind behind them and strong running from James Davies, Joe Buggle and Jordan Clayton put them on the front foot.

Andy Fawkes and Flowers combined to send Ben Spaven bursting through and Ottewell was in support to sprint clear from 40 metres and score between the posts to give Flowers a simple conversion.

London’s impressive half-back produced a precise kick for the home centre to gather and score but the missed conversion ensured the Sharks held a slender 16-14 lead.

James Davies powered over after a spell of pressure and MoM Flowers converted.

Will Poching, Steve Shaw, John Rourke, Adam Masson and Scott Howarth put in some sterling defensive work with Davies and Buggle also impressing.

Shaw Cross Sharks have been drawn at home to Castleford Lock Lane in the second round of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup, with ties to be played over the weekend of February 13 and 14.

Full second round draw: Kells v Underbank Rangers, Millom v Pilkington Recs, Shaw Cross Sharks v Castleford Lock Lane, Hunslet Club Parkside v West Hull, York Acorn v Distington, Hull Dockers v Featherstone Lions, Wath Brow Hornets v Oulton Raiders, Egremont Rangers v Rochdale Mayfield, Siddal v Northumbria University.