Shaw Cross Sharks retained the Ben Restall Memorial Trophy with a hard-fought 12-8 victory at Dewsbury Celtic last Saturday.
Both sides were playing their first game of 2019 season as pre-season begins ahead of the National Conference campaign and it proved a useful work out ahead of the Sharks Challenge Cup first round tie this weekend.
The Sharks got off to the perfect start with a try after eight minutes when a kick behind the defence ricocheted around before falling for Nathan Wright to score in the corner.
Wright is one of three Sharks players who have been included in Featherstone’s Reserve squad and the winger was also on the scoresheet in Rovers recent 14-10 defeat to Hunslet Parkside.
The Sharks lead was soon cancelled as Celtic hit back, with Dom Senior driving through the defence and then evading two more tacklers to touch down and level the scores.
Celtic were the more dominant force for the remainder of the first half, but the Sharks defended their try line admirably as the sides went into the break level at 4-4.
Shaw Cross came out rejuvenated for the second half and they could have scored within seconds of the restart when Cam Benson broke clear and looked to sprint away for a long range try until Celtic’s Jamaican international Danny Thomas was able to stop the attack and haul him into touch.
Shaw Cross remained on the front foot and their efforts paid off when Sam Ottewell produced a grubber kick which fell perfectly for Luke Somers to touch down on wide on the right to regain the lead.
The Sharks followed up with a brilliant third try just five minutes later to give them breathing space.
Celtic were attacking close to the Sharks line but lost the ball and Barker was sent away to sprint the length of the field to extend their advantage to eight points.
Celtic responded as Anthony Dunford scored in the left corner to give his side hope with four minutes remaining, while the conversion attempt rebounded off a post before the Sharks held on for victory.
There is five weeks to the start of the new National Conference season when Shaw Cross begin their Division Two campaign on March 2 when they host Clock Face Miners, while Celtic entertain Hunslet Warriors in Division Three.