SLAITHWAITE Saracens’ dream of Pennine President’s Cup glory is over.
Less than a week after beating Emley Moor in the Holliday Cup final, the Pennine League Division I champions-elect suffered the rarest of defeats as they went down 24-14 at Premier Division leaders Sharlston Rovers in the semi-final.
This was always going to be Saracens’ toughest test of the campaign, and as well as being able to challenge themselves against the best side in the League it also gave the visitors a taste of what to expect next season.
And their opening effort couldn’t have been any better as early pressure created a try after just five minutes for Richard Flooks in the corner.
Danny Garside was unable to land the touchline conversion, but Slaithwaite had still wasted little time underlining their potential.
Sharlston did find a response with a converted try eight minutes later to edge ahead.
But within five minutes Darren Hawkyard charged over for one of his typically robust tries and Garside added the goal to give the Saracens a 10-6 advantage.
Unfortunately, in-form centre Mick Bostock was then forced off the field with a recurrence of a knee injury and Lee McAfferty soon followed him to the sidelines after being sin-binned.
Those were just the breaks Sharlston needed and on the stroke of half-time they scored their second try to level the scores.
And at the start of the second half while McAfferty was still in the bin, Rovers added try No3 to nudge ahead for a second time.
The home side followed up five minutes later with another score from an interception close to their line, but two minutes later Hawkyard gave his side renewed hope when he struck for a second time to reduce the deficit to six points.
With man-of-the-match Joe Fitzpatrick and Matt Lodge leading the forwards by example by punching holes into the Sharlston defence, the Huddersfield side looked capable of going on to produce a major shock.
But with 10 minutes remaining, Sharlston crossed for what proved the match-clinching score and shatter Slaithwaite’s hopes of securing the treble.