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Sharlston Rovers reign supreme as Wyke's hopes are dashed
Buy this photo » Wyke replacement Barry McShera drives forward for Wyke against Sharlston Rovers
Wyke 0, Sharlston Rovers 46
Wyke’s hopes of pulling off a major giant-killing act against last season’s BARLA National Cup runners-up Sharlston Rovers came crashing down to earth in the opening round of this year’s competition at Towngate.
The visitors, who have already won the Yorkshire County Cup this term, struck straight from the kick-off when wingman Geoff Hick raced 80 metres to the side of the posts.
Wyke player-coach Ian Wormald led by example when he was held inches short before Rovers showed their undoubted superiority with a sweeping passing move, second-row forward John Waddle brushing aside some feeble defence to plant the ball over the whitewash.
Sharlston then scored the best try of the one-sided encounter when centre Wayne McHugh raced up the middle and produced a classic side-step off both feet to leave Wyke's veteran full back John Exley grasping thin air.
The shell-shocked black and whites stemmed the tide, with hooker Ian Watkinson dictating events from acting half which enabled their outstanding scrum half Aidy Doherty to put the Rovers defence under threat with a neat kick and run.
Wingman Paul Bapty narrowly failed to reach a raking kick from substitute Barry McShera in the corner but all the pressure failed to gain any reward, however, and normal service was resumed when Hick powered up the touchline to allow McHugh to coast over for his brace, leaving full back Ian Jackson to add his third conversion for a 22-0 half-time lead.
The black and whites' task was clearly damage limitation on the restart.
The home crowd enjoyed a rare cheer when Doherty dumped the biggest Sharlston player on his back with a monster hit before the visitors were awarded a dubious try from prop Tom Crowther, who clearly made contact with the referee en route to the corner.
Wyke were reduced in numbers after centre John Rayner did little to help the cause with comments to the match official that saw him sent to the sin bin.
There was a suspicion of a forward pass when McHugh galloped over for his hat-trick, and Rovers then added two more touchdowns to clearly state that they are favourites to once again contest this season’s final.