25 Feb 2018 in News
LEIGH EAST 16 SHEVINGTON SHARKS 12
By Dave Parkinson
For the second time in East's pre-season their opponents changed at short notice with Shevington Sharks accepting an invitation to play after Ashton Bears pulled out.
Despite the less than ideal preparation both teams went well, scoring three tries apiece with only the goal-kicking of Jordan Hellam separating the sides at full-time.
For the second game running Hellam was at halfback and his prompting and general intelligence made a real difference in the game.
A first half of few chances started well enough with both packs tearing into each other and Adam Holland kicking wide with the ball going dead. At the other end Andrew Beanie couldn't control a similar play. East forced a drop out but Shevington held firm and threatened again with Jay Yarwood pouncing on a kick from Deane Meadow. Another chance went the way of the visitors when Paddy Boyers kicked on but couldn't regather cleanly. At this point Shevington were getting closer to the line and Meadow was held short before hooker Andrew Moss fumbled in an attempt to dive over.
East came down field well and after a cheap turnover from the Sharks, set up their attack. Moving left Hellam, Connor Johnson and Danny Griffiths all linked quickly with Alex Holcroft taking the final pass and having enough strength to force his way over. Hellam converted brilliantly and East led 6-0 after 21 minutes.
Five minutes later Shevington battered the East line with Adam Robinson held short before a tackle dislodged the ball from the grasp of fullback Dan Rogers. East then created a chance of their own on the back of a contested attacking kick but Louis Else was brought back from a scoring position.
Shevington eventually got on the board after 35 minutes with a smart finish by Beanie after Holland saw a kick charged down in centre field but he was unable to convert.
Early in the second half, Leigh East took control with Hellam linking with speed merchant Ryan Gray. The young fullback sped through the defence to finish from over thirty metres. Hellam again goaled to make it 12-4 and the hosts were looking strong when a third try followed after 52 minutes.
Griffiths finished good approach work from Hellam and Gray to extend the lead to 16-4.
Shevington clawed back, with much hard work provided by back row forwards Sam Pepper, Mike Norton and Chris Dunn. A last tackle spread saw the ball float through four pairs of hands before an incisive pass by Boyers brought a second try to Beanie. Again the conversion fell short.
East could have claimed the game after 65 minutes. James Teixeira put the ball out to Josh Swift but he couldn't ground in the corner. Things got really interesting ten minutes from the end when Dunn sent Norton over. Beanie missed his third kick on goal but at 16-12, East were wobbling.
Committed defence kept Shevington at bay in those last minutes and Leigh East picked up a hard fought win. Perfect preparation for the rigours ahead.