Shaw Cross Sharks head coach Zach Johnson believes there were “more positives than negatives” to take out of their 24-10 Challenge Cup defeat at Oulton Raiders.
Steven Talbot and Ross Roebuck scored tries for the Sharks but it wasn’t enough to beat a tough Oulton side as their cup quest came to an end.
Speaking after the cup defeat, Johnson said: “I think there’s more positives than negatives to take. Yes we lost, but there are a lot of lads still getting used to our systems.
“It was a good test to see where we are and I think it just highlights how much we need to improve our attack, but overall I’m still confident on how we’re going to perform this year.”
Oulton made a bright start and scored the first try as Jordan Gayle sent Lee Gomersall breaking through the defence to score between the posts, with Tom Egan converting.
The Sharks were soon back in it as Johnson offloaded to Talbot, who forced his way through numerous tacklers to crash over the line. Shaun Squires converted to level.
Oulton regained the lead when Dominic Flanagan broke through to score. Egan converted and added a penalty following a clash which saw the home side’s Will Ingleby sin binned.
The Sharks had a penalty of their own on the stroke of half-time but the long range effort was struck wide.
Oulton pressed again at the start of the second half and it required strong Sharks defending to keep them out but it eventually breached, as a high kick from Andrew Williamson was taken in the in-goal area by Flanagan for his second try.
The conversion was unsuccessful, which kept the deficit down to two converted tries.
The Sharks kept believing and hit back when Ross Roebuck made a brilliant burst down the right wing to score, although a tricky touchline conversion was put wide leaving Shaw Cross 18-10 behind.
Sharks continued to push but defeat was confirmed by another Oulton try, as Josh Lancaster broke and passed to Chris Hope to score. Egan missed the conversion but slotted another penalty soon after to round off the scoring.