Captain Scott Glassell kicked Sharlston Rovers to a dramatic BARLA National Cup victory on Saturday as Rovers edged to a 31-30 victory over Wibsey Warriors to complete a momentous season.
The final, played at Fylde RUFC, proved a closer contest than many anticipated, with Wibsey pushing favourites Sharlston all the way before Glassell kicked a dramatic drop-goal winner deep into injury time.
It prompted wild scenes of celebrations for the Weeland Road club, who lifted their fifth trophy from as many competitions in a magnificent, all-conquering campaign.
Gordy Long’s side were clear favourites going into the contest thanks to their trophy haul this season and their past experience in the competition - it was their third National Cup final in a row.
Things started well for Rovers, who had already added the Pennine League, Yorkshire Cup, Pennine President’s Cup and Wakefield ARL Brian McDermott City Plasterers Cup to their trophy cabinet, with Gareth Davies feeding Geoff Hick for the opening try.
But Bradford-based Warriors were relishing their underdogs tag and hit back with two tries to take a shock 10-4 lead.
Rovers centre Gareth Davies played a crucial role in his side’s victory with four tries and he scored his first in the 17th minute. Scott Glassell converted to level the scores.
Just minutes later Davies was over again to give Sharlston the lead and he soon completed his ten-minute hat-trick to see Long’s men in control at 20-10 to the good.
Warriors did not throw in the towel, however, and ensured the game was in the balance at the interval with two quick tries to reduce the deficit to 20-18.
Wibsey took that momentum into the second half with a converted try to regain the lead and Sharlston’s task got tougher when Chris Bingham was sent to the sin-bin for an illegal ball steal.
Rovers held out with reduced numbers, however, and made their opponents pay for their missed chance when Geoff Hick scooted over the whitewash following goof work by prop Sean Emblem.
The final swung back Sharlston’s way and Davies saved his best try for last, breaking free of the Wibsey line and holding off a number of challenges before touching down for his fourth of the match.
It looked like it was going to be enough for the Weeland Road side but Warriors battled back again to level with a converted score to ensure a nail-biting finish to a thrilling contest.
Both sides had chances to grab the winning points in added time but it was Sharlston who won it when the ball eventually found its way to Scott Glassell, who kept his cool to send over a one-pointer that completed a superb season for Rovers.
Rovers: D Glassell, Hick, Davies, McHugh, Jackson, S Glassell, Wandless, Bingham, Aiton, Emblem, Sutton, Waddle, Saynor. Subs: Gamble, Dooler, Crowther, Wallis.