Stags worry Shaw Cross - but conference quality wins

DESPITE dominating for long periods Mirfield Stags fell short in their first Jim Brown Heavy Woollen Cup outing, going down 37-22 at the hands of National Conference League Shaw Cross on Wednesday night.

The Stags made a solid start but found themselves two tries down after a Sharks attack inside the opening quarter of an hour.

Mirfield eventually got a foothold in the tie and bagged successive tries, late in the first half, to move to within two points of levelling.

After squaring up the scoreboard, the visiting Stags marched into the lead for the first time prior to the hour mark.

But against the run of play Shaw Cross scored a breath-taking try and then kicked on to win.

Veteran John Rourke broke the deadlock and he was joined on the scoresheet shortly after when Sam Ottewell touched down, with Ryan Chalkley adding extras to both to make it 12-0.

The Sharks were in a commanding position but the Stags were in no mood to roll over.

On the half-hour Mirfield hit back through the returning Sam Crowther, whose effort was improved by Ross Hayden, and on the stroke of half-time the Stags went over again.

Half-back Graham Charlesworth fired a looping three-man miss pass and Danny Howard got on the end of it to score in the corner.

Shortly after the interval, Mirfield were handed a penalty just metres from the uprights and Hayden delivered, making it 12-12.

The Stags had picked up from where they had left off and appeared to be in the driving seat.

And they were in the ascendancy when Hayden delivered a piece of magic, chasing up his own kick-through and pouncing on it just to the right of the posts.

He added the extras and Mirfield led 18-12, with the clock ticking down at Leeds Road.

However, Shaw Cross then delivered a hammer blow in response.

Rourke ran 50 metres, bypassing a pair of Stags defenders along with way, and found Ottewell, who finished brilliantly.

Chalkley improved and was on hand to convert a Tom Rogers score shortly after, which gave the hosts a 24-18 advantage.

Tom Coates brilliantly finished a Hayden bomb nine minutes from time to move Mirfield to within two points.

But Shaw Cross finished the stronger, displaying their experience in the game’s dying moments to move clear on the scoreboard.

Late tries courtesy of Chalkley and Greg Wilby, in addition to a Will Gledhill drop-goal, took them clear.

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