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Shaw Cross Sharks 10 Pilkington Recs 38
5:43pm Wednesday 31st October 2012 in Sport
JAMIE Smith and Ryan Rogers led a brilliant display from an under-strength Recs side to make a mockery of the underdogs tag handed to them by bookmakers.
After 14 months of continuous rugby and with a cluster of first teamers unavailable, a trip to Yorkshire to face a National Conference side in the Challenge Cup preliminary round may have appeared a daunting prospect on paper.
But, against the odds, Recs’ senior players and a raft of A teamers stood up to the mark with a mightily impressive victory.
In fairness Shaw Cross were also badly depleted through injury but that should not take away from the ruthless manner that Recs disposed of their opponents.
Wearing Saints colours to avoid a kit clash with the Dewsbury-based Sharks, Recs absorbed 15 minutes of pressure before their attacking game clicked.
Firstly, Rogers and half back partner Danny Lynch combined to put John Rees into space who in turn showed soft hands to send John Pennington over the line.
Substitute Jono Peers made his mark by twisting out of a tackle and touching down under the posts.
Sharks struck back when Danny Smith finished a well worked move on the last tackle.
However, after full back Ben Gravener had put Recs on the front foot with a surge from deep in his own half, Lynch and Josh Leatherbarrow exchanged passes to send hooker Ryan Liptrot over.
Lynch had completed all three first half scores to give his side a 6-18 lead and with Lancashire half back Rogers in dazzling form the scoreboard was soon ticking over again as his inside pass sent Rees over from close range.
The rampant Smith then fed his younger brother Chris, who surged down the left flank for his first of the afternoon.
Sharks replied again, courtesy of Smith’s second, but Lynch then bobbed and weaved past a handful of defenders to stem the Yorkshiremen’s revival.
It was left to Rogers, in front of watching BARLA coach Mick Turner, to add the gloss with an outrageous around the man pass that sent Smith over for his second to complete a satisfying day for assistant coach Kurt Haggerty and A team boss, Dave Archer.
Jamie Smith was the Duke of Cambridge man of the match and Rogers took the Mansion House supporters’ man of the match.
Forwards Mike Loughlin, Liptrot, Leatherbarrow and Pennington were also worthy of praise.