Back to back Saturdays at Braidholm (June 16th and June 23rd) saw the Tyne Tees Tigers travel up from the North East of England to take on the top of the table Glasgow Sharks men’s team while the Port Malmo Lynx boarded their longboats and sailed west to face the women’s team.
Glasgow Sharks vs Tyne Tees Tigers
After a prolonged spell of good weather not seen in Scotland ever, both teams were in good spirits as they arrived at the ground, the travelling side coming by coach and in good numbers. Any hopes of playing for a second week in a row with a dry ball was short lived however as 15 minutes before ball up the rain arrived, and brought it’s pals thunder and lightning with it.
The game began a soggy affair with both sides struggling for clean possession out of the middle. From the word go it was clear that both teams were playing for keeps and had physicality in their game plans with big bumps and heavy tackles being laid in an effort to gain an edge. This struggle didn’t make for much free flowing footy and goals were somewhat scrappy and opportune until the end of the first half with the Sharks winning the majority of the up and over from the ruck and the in and under from the contest.
At the major break: Glasgow Sharks 62 – 24 Tyne Tees Tigers
The second half saw the clouds part, the wind pick up and the ball get stickier letting an overall higher quality of football break out. Where marks were being spilled in the first half due to the greasy pill, now they were being taken and targets hit. This was most notable in the forward line where Liam Dolling was coming more and more into the game. The Sharks top goal scorer didn’t have it all his own way, a persistent and tactically aware Tyne Tees full back keeping the young forward honest throughout. Every goal scoring opportunity having to be earned in his toughest test of the season so far.
*Liam has since been selected to represent Great Britain in a contest against the Netherlands in August. We wish him every success as he continues his footy development.*
With the ramifications of victory being a guaranteed entry into the finals series, the Sharks were able to maintain the pressure and intensity which has seen them overcome every team in the competition thus far. Slick interchanges to rest fatigued players and replacements being of equal quality meant no rest for the Tigers who had suffered a few knocks to key players throughout the 80 minutes. Locking the door and throwing away the key in defence saw the Tigers add little to the scoreboard in the second half and accurate kicking from the home side attack kept the blue numbers ticking over steadily. This was no picnic as the physical nature of the game and effort to the end from the Tigers meant that the league leaders knew this was a win they had had to take rather than be given it, the final score gave no comment on the efforts of the visiting team.
Final Score Glasgow Sharks 155 – 37 Tyne Tees Tigers
Glasgow Sharks vs Port Malmo Lynx
Having avoided each other at major tournaments the Port Malmo Lynx accepted the Glasgow Sharks invitation for a women’s match to test each other and keep skills sharp as international season approaches. The Lynx, who make up the majority of the Swedish National Team, travelled in fantastic numbers even bringing with them some supporters and cheerleaders to campaign for the cause. Showing the strength of the ladies’ game in Scotland, the Sharks fielded a team of 11 with the contest being played 7 a side over 4 x 12-minute quarters.
Impressive roving from super troupers Orfhlaith McCaughey, Jen Treacy and Caroline Sellar kept the midfield ticking over with (ironically Scandinavian) reliability and showed that desire for the footy is the name of the game. Quick handballs in tight spaces created gaps in the midfield which were exploited to great effect. Strong lead up play and soft hands in the forward third left the scorekeeper without a minute to himself all day. A second quarter overhead snap earning captain Stacey Hughes first prize in the Eurovision Goal of the Day Contest.
In defence the Sharks began resolute and steadfast, locking down and protecting key areas to thwart the fresh legged Swedes. Carolyn Baker and Ellie Sutherland delighted in clearing all but the most dangerous of attacks as the Lynx struggled to get a solid foothold in the game, their periods of possession coming in areas where they were unable to affect the scoreboard impactfully.
As the game grew so did confidence with defensive players and attacking players swapping roles freely with the fluidity of a side that had trained for years and played 100+ games together. This seamless cohesion seemed to come naturally for the group and was the most pleasing aspect of the performance according to coach Stephen Connor who also commented that the men’s team could learn some serious lessons in that regard.
Noticeable throughout the entire game, even when under pressure from an undeterred Port Malmo team, was the communication of the home team. Minor scores, missed tackles and skill errors were met with encouragement and positivity from every player at every turn. The fruits of this often-overlooked aspect of the game were clear to see in the second and third efforts being put in by the players on the pitch. Another indicator that this team is considerably more seasoned than it appears on paper.
Overall the Sharks skilled, accurate and savvy ball use coupled with tireless running and fierce tackling left the Lynx needing Fernando to send out an S.O.S on their behalf… Mamma Mia!
Final score: Glasgow Sharks 93 – 30 Port Malmo Lynx
The club will be hosting the Port Malmo Lynx in a friendly womens game on Saturday 23rd at GHA Rugby club.
Played in a 7 aside format the game will be a great opportunity for the Sharks to showcase the womens game in the local area and hopefully gain some more interest building on the recent successes of the Sharks Women`s team.
Women`s captain and representative Stacey Hughes commented on the coming fixture – “The Lynx are a great side and we cant wait for the chance to play them we are very grateful to them for agreeing to come over for the game. The main things we are looking to get out of the game would be some more experience against quality opposition and helping our newer players solidify the fundamentals skills we have been working on at training and our interclub CAFL games. Hopefully we can build on this fixture and the relationship with the Lynx in the future and perhaps hold regular women`s tournaments here in Glasgow.
Ball up is 1pm at GHA Rugby Club and everyone is welcome to come along.
The Glasgow Sharks swam into Saturday’s encounter looking to maintain their unbeaten start to the 2018 domestic campaign. After a tough season opener at GHA which saw the Blue and the White come out on top, it was time for the Sharks to travel to Nethercraigs Sports Complex for the away fixture against reigning Premiers, The Greater Glasgow Giants.
With conditions more akin to Western Australia than the West of Scotland it was clear that the Sharks turned up to play footy, not work on their tan.
The collective intent of the visitors was clear from the first ball up to the last with excellent ruck work from John McIntyre and Alex Young. At times rising early into the contest, winning the tap, and at others making good use of body and space, this gave the Sharks midfield first possession of the ball more often than not. This was a tactic which would prove lethal throughout the course of the game with seamless rotation between McIntyre and Young and the use of differing rucking styles confusing their opposite numbers to devastating effect.
The midfield combination of Hancock and Hespe began strongly and linked together beautifully with intricate handball play before delivering 5-star, silver service to the forward line which was not wasted by Dolling, McManus and Wolfenden. A ten goal first quarter serving as proof that the ‘perennial slow starters’ moniker given to the Sharks may be close to expiry.
Giants 13 – 66 Sharks
With confidence sky high as faith in the game plan grew, the Sharks began the second quarter as they ended the first, with intent!
Quality delivery into the path of quality leads from forward players led to the scoreboard ticking over frequently 6 points at a time. Dolling and Wolfenden embarking on a tit-for-tat goal scoring contest between themselves.
While the Giants tried in vain to penetrate a miserly Sharks defence bolstered by full back Bruce McLintock and marauding half back Derek Smith, it was Lewis Collett, in his breakout season, who shone brightest. Impressive performances in previous rounds have seen him demand more and more game time and his attitude was no different here. Particularly of note being his ability to make repeated efforts and a mentality which suggests he believes he is never out of the contest. Without doubt such enthusiasm will not go unnoticed and will certainly prove a headache for coach Stephen Connor in upcoming selections.
Midway through the 2nd quarter the game came to a halt as Giants Forward Michael Douglas went down with a serious injury. Thankfully between supporters and volunteers at the match there was a sufficient amount of expertise on hand to care for Michael until an ambulance arrived to escort him to hospital. Early reports are that Michael suffered a concussion and bruising to the spine but has been discharged from hospital to recover at home. The Glasgow Sharks would like to thank all those in attendance for their help and selflessness under these circumstances and we wish Michael a swift and full recovery.
Giants 28 – Sharks 105
With an expanded league and the potential for percentage to be a factor in determining the final standings the Sharks’ focus during the break was on maintaining intensity until the final whistle. With narrow defeats to the Giants in recent matches lingering in the memory, it didn’t take much of a team talk to keep the Sharks hungry for victory. Hungry for the ball and hungry for the contest was Phil Daly who broke from half back, through midfield and into the forward line repeatedly to set up easy set shots for Dolling.
Adopting more of a free role after the major break Brett Wolfenden took a grip of the game and showed his experience with excellent roving and retrieval skills (on one occasion retrieving his own kick and hitting a leading McManus lace out on the chest).
Having been used in a number of different roles for the day Robert McKinlay encapsulated the teams mindset, never being out of the contest. McKinlay made a marking contest which he couldnt complete though followed up with a terrific tackle that was rewarded with a free kick, feeling the energy on the field Robert played on and kick a lengthy goal.
Working at both ends of the pitch was Daniel Hespe who, while quiet (by his own standards) on the goal scoring sheet, was everywhere. Putting out fires at one end of the pitch and starting them at the other. His composure on the ball and calmness in playing backwards to go forward was a real catalyst for the runaway Sharks train.
Giants 29 – 163 Sharks
Any notion that the fourth quarter would offer any respite for the reigning champions was short lived as the Sharks were adamant about making a statement. Relentless defensive pressure from Neil Alexander from back to front and Andrew McManus from front to back forced errors from the home side that were snapped up by the Sharks and fed into the Great White trio up front.
Alexander Clark had been working hard throughout the day and showed great intelligence while the ball was in the air, getting to the right spots and mopping up from the middle to the Sharks back line to deny any advance from the opposition.
The feeding frenzy in front of goal continued until the clock ran out and the Sharks solidified their position at the top of the ladder with a performance that will put other teams on notice for the rest of the year.
Giants 38 – 225 Sharks
The forward trio of Dolling, McManus and Wolfenden managed to score thirty goals between them with The Wolf taking home half of those as well as Best on Ground Honours from his peers.
The Sharks take on the Tyne Tees Tigers next at GHA on Saturday June 16th.
|June 9, 2018||2:00 pm||SARFL||2018|
|Greater Glasgow Giants||13||28||29||38||5||8||38|
|May 19, 2018||2:00 pm||SARFL||2018|
|May 12, 2018||2:00 pm||SARFL||2018|