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Local rugby league: Beaten, but not disgraced

SHAW CROSS SHARKS 18 – 0 BEVERLEY ARLFC (LADROKES CHALLENGE CUP FIRST ROUND, Saturday February 3)

The Blue & Golds came away from this Challenge Cup tie with their heads held high, despite bowing out of the competition. In a game played in miserable conditions of freezing rain on a heavy pitch, the home side adapted better to the conditions. They spilled possession on fewer occasions and mainly concentrated on percentage rugby.

Beverley Director of Rugby Pat Howdle,  in charge of affairs due to Scott Taylor being on a plane to Austrailia, commented: ”We can be proud of our efforts today against a side two divisions higher. If anything I thought we played better in the first half even though we conceded all 18 points in that half.

“We have become very used to dry tracks of recent times and that was the worst conditions we have played in for two years. If one or two passes just stuck like they would have done on a dryer day then maybe it could have been a different story.”

Aided by a string of penalties, the Dewsbury outfit enjoyed the early pressure and were on the score sheet in the fifth minute – Luke Hudson diving over and being awarded the try despite the fact he appeared to lose the ball in the act of scoring. Sean Squires adding the extras.

In an attacking set down the other end, Lewis Poskitt, who never stopped using his footwork all afternoon long, was taken high but the penalty and ensuing repeat set came to nothing. Steve Talbot extended the home side’s lead with a try in the 18th minute. In the 29th minute Sam Otterwell extended the lead still further. Squires again converted both tries for an 18-0 lead.

The last 10 minutes of the half saw Beverley at their most dangerous. Lewis Poskitt and Lewis Straw combined to see the ball shipped to the left for Josh Poskitt to stretch out to score, but was unlucky to put a foot in touch. Moments later Lewis Poskitt sent brother Josh away down the left flank for him to kick ahead and chase. The kick had too much strength on it and went dead.

Right on the stroke of half time, Pete Starling, who was the pick of the outside backs, broke clear from deep inside his own half. But with the line in sight he just could not evade that final chasing cover defender.

The second half saw the hosts enjoy much more possession and territory, but failed to score. The defensive stint put in by the visitors was admirable but sapped much of their energy in attack. But they still had their moments . . .

Alex Calvert rampaging run up the middle in the early moments of the half saw his inside pass to his support go to ground. Shortly after, Lewis Poskitt chipped ahead and got the perfect bounce to re-gather. The wet ball slipped from his grasp with a clear run to the line ahead of him.

As full-time approached Lewis Straw neatly slipped the ball into the in-goal area for Ben Bardle to touch down for a deserved consolation try. The unsighted referee did not award the try despite a flurry of protests from the Beverley players and promptly blew the final whistle.

A number of forwards did themselves credit in the trying conditions. Man of the Match Alex Calvert alongside youngster Brad Kirkby and recent signing Charlie D’Arcy provided most of the go forward. In summary, a good club day was had by all with the Beverley Braves under 15’s taking on their Shaw Cross conterparts. They just lost out 18-4 to strong Yorkshire Youth League opposition.