Sheffield RUFC’s courageous captain Jimmy Pearson is aiming to use all his experience to guide his side to promotion play-off glory.
Pearson led the 51-7 demolition of West Hartlepool as the blue and whites finished unbeaten at Abbeydale, breaking the 90-year-old club record.
The 36-year-old, in his debut season as skipper with Sheffield, scored the fourth try for his side diving over in the corner, after magnificently catching a high kick clear out from their opposition and side stepping a helpless back.
The experienced fly-half, who has scored 89 points this season, was delighted to slide over but stressed that the focus was on an all-round dominating team win to maintain their home record after suffering a damaging league title loss away to Percy Park the previous weekend.
“Everyone was distraught after our loss. It was incredibly hard to pick ourselves up at the beginning of the week in training but against Hartlepool we played some of our best rugby of the season,” said the ex-Sheffield Tiger.
“We scored some excellent early team tries and then as soon as the ball was kicked high in the air I knew what I wanted to do. I’d spotted that only one player stood between me and the try line so 40 yards out I quickly side stepped and dummied my opponent before running as fast as I could.
“I was glad to get on the score sheet but it was more important to get a hefty result, and keep our home record. This result can really build confidence and momentum up for the most important game we will have to face all season.
“All the players were aware of the 90-year-old record so we were determined to give our fans something to cheer about.
“But on the final whistle there was a bitter sweet feeling after the match because although we played well the team wanted their hands on the league trophy at the end of it.”
Sheffield notched up eight tries in total with Andy Hodgson 2, prop Tommy Marples, left winger Rupert Broadley, No 8 Jonny France, second rower Ben Whitney, flanker Dave Bradford all crashing over. Hodgson also kicked three conversions and a penalty on a dazzlingly bright day at Abbeydale Park.
“We showed that we can score tries from all over the park and everything clicked for us. The weekend before we didn’t play for each other and I hold my hands up because I made a lot of mistakes,” added Jimmy.
“But we turned it around for each other, communicated well and played the phases that we do well with pace which ripped their side apart.”
Club chairman Andrew Langdale added: “It was an all round team performance, and we also had good impact from the players who came on off the bench which shows our depth and quality.”
“Every player stepped up their game and did the club proud. It was a great spectacle for all the steel city fans.”
However the club’s 21st win of their league campaign wasn’t enough to stop Ilkley from being crowned league champions on 105 points – three ahead of Sheffield.
The Abbeydale club now face a play-off against North One West runners ups Kirkby Lonsdale tomorrow, who were awarded the advantage after finishing their campaign on 106 points.
Despite the difficult challenge Jimmy is confident his side can get a positive result against their Cumbrian opposition, and hopes to use his experience of playing in Sheffield’s 2003/04 play-off victory against Rochdale which saw them promoted to National Three.
“We will be fully prepared. This is the big test but each player knows they have to do, what we are really made of and go out there and leave everything we have on the pitch. Losing isn’t an option.
“I want to repeatthat promotion win against Rochdale and will bring a level head into the game. We have a great mix of experience and youth and I will be asking the players to be focused and not let the occasion get the better of them.”