WHAT a difference a week can make – just seven days after a 62-0 defeat to West Bowling, Shaw Cross produced a similar trouncing over Askam to breathe life into their survival hopes.
That loss had sent them to the bottom of the table but, against their fellow strugglers, a scintillating second-half display saw them leap straight back off the foot of the table.
They are now only three points from safety and travel to Hull Dockers tomorrow (Saturday) before taking on the other side in the bottom three, East Leeds, two weekends in a row.
It was still all to play after a late first-half try saw them lead by two points at the break, but the Sharks stepped it up in the second 40 minutes to complete a resounding win.
“We seem to be getting there slowly but surely, and today’s win is part of that recovery to trying to become a better team,” said a delighted head coach Mark Barlow after the game.
“We haven’t had the best season, and for every point we’ve earned we’ve had to really dig deep and scrape a win or a draw, but today we’ve managed to score 52 points, and to score 52 points against any team at any level is an achievement.
“We came for the win, we got the win, and I just want the lads to enjoy it because it’s been a long time coming.”
Shaw Cross got off to a fantastic start with a try inside two minutes. Two of their senior crew linked up to provide it, with Greg Wilby making a break down the right and offloading to Michael Wainwright to run in.
They came under some pressure following that opening score though, and eventually it told as Zak Steel went over from dummy-half after Ben Lewney had been stopped close to the line.
Askam continued to attack and took the lead when Grady Slater took Todd Steel’s pass to score.
Ryan Ospital was sent to the sin bin for conceding a penalty after the Sharks had been placed on a team warning, but they managed to survive the following 10 minutes without any further damage.
That allowed them to take the lead a minute before the break. Luke Hudson did well to force a knock-on from Askam close to their line, and a quick move to the left saw Brad Baines score.
Sebastian Boudie added a brilliant kick from the touchline – and would go on to convert all seven of their tries in a second-half rout.
Like in the first half, they made a quick start following the kick-off, with Boudie finding Baines for his second on the end of another slick right-to-left move.
Harrison Sutcliffe came close to another score before Shaw Cross were in again when, on the first play from a penalty, Dec Brereton attracted defenders and offloaded to Wainwright to complete his own brace.
They had to work hard in defence to repel pressure from Askam, before cutting loose with five tries in the final 17 minutes.
Steve Talbot touched down for his first try of the season to stretch out the lead before a brilliant individual try from Callum Barker with a feint which fooled the defender.
Elliott Richardson then charged over for the next try and Brereton added his name to the scoresheet after Wainwright had been denied his hat-trick.
The Sharks were determined to make it to 50 points and they hit the half-century mark with two minutes to spare as Andrew Tillotson darted over for the final try.