Shaw Cross Sharks are still searching for their first home win in the National Conference Division One after they were out muscled in a 38-4 defeat against league leaders Underbank Rangers.
The Sharks were missing both members of their coaching staff and made several changes from the side that slipped to defeat against York Acorn the previous weekend and only named 16 players on their team sheet.
The visitors started the game on top but were unable to breach the Shaw Cross line after valiant defence from the hosts.
Toronto Wolfpack trialist Casey Clark opened the scoring after 15 minutes as he barged his way over from close range, the referee waited for the tacklers to roll away before awarding the score and waved away any appeals for double movement.
Liam Green reduced the deficit for Shaw Cross moments later as he gathered a difficult offload from Brandan French and got over in the corner.
Richard Knight appeared to hit Brandan French in an off the ball incident but both players were sent to the sin-bin, despite the Sharks second row man claiming not to have retaliated.
Two quick tries before half-time put daylight between the sides as Sam Ansell took advantage of a knock on to score his first of the afternoon before Sam Rochford sold a dummy to dart over between the posts.
Underbank sealed the win inside the first seven minutes of the second half.
Courtney Allette extended the visitors’ lead as went over after the ball was moved out wide to the left.
Ansell crossed for his second try of the game as he scooped up the ball after a knock on from Sam Ottewell and some soft defending from Shaw Cross allowed the winger to move infield and go over to score by the posts.
Ottewell then showcased some superb individual play, chasing back to prevent a certain try, tackling the attacker and legally stealing the ball in the process.
Owen Restall put Underbank further ahead as the ball was moved out wide and then back inside to the centre who dived over between the posts.
Ansell then completed his hat-trick as the ball was moved out right and the visitors had the numbers needed for Ansell to comfortably get over. Underbank received their second yellow card of the game as Rochford was penalised for a late tackle but they closed the game out to prevent the Sharks adding further points.
Stand in coach and club chairman Chris Smith was proud of the team’s efforts despite the disappointing result.
He said: “It was a big effort from the lads against a strong side on a roll, I’m very proud of the work the players put in but we were outmuscled by a team in top form.”
Defeat leaves the Sharks seventh in Division One but they have chance to recover with no game this weekend.
They return to action with a trip to third placed Normanton Knights on June 24.
The Sharks A team host East Leeds in Yorkshire Men’s League Alliance Division One on Saturday.