Top of the props

Rock on Tommy ... you’re a record-breaker.

Larger-than-life powerhouse Tommy Marples has been on active service with Sheffield for the past 12 years but it’s his try-scoring ability that sets him apart from other prop forwards.

He was at it again in the 31-7 victory over Scarborough and while he described it as an ‘easy try’ - the result of a catch and drive from a line out five metres out - it was also highly significant for player and club.

It brought his try tally to 19 and established him as as Sheffield’s all-time leading try-scoring prop, ending chris Ball’s record set some 30 years ago.

“It’s a great feeling,” said Tommy. “The record’s stood for a long time so it’s good to have finally broken it.”

So is there a secret to crossing that line? Not really ... “It’s just a matter of putting your head down and getting through; being bigger and stronger and not giving in,” he added.

Tommy remembers his first touch down against Bradford and Bingley but his best came last year against Malton and Norton which he described as ‘better than sex.’

No comment needed.

The record-breaking doesn’t stop there, however, as he’s set his sights on another milestone. Tommy has just celebrated his 200th first team appearance for the Abbeydale club and now he’s earmarked Alan Broomhead’s 264 games as prop.

“I did say I’d retire when I’d played 200 games but I’m still really enjoying it, so much so, that I’m looking forward to 300!”

Meanwhile Tommy’s record-breaking try against Scarborough helped his side to an all-important bonus point. Unfortunately for Sheffield there’s no stopping Yorkshire One leaders Malton and Norton who extended their unbeaten run to 13 and also bagged a bonus point in what is fast developing into a two-horse race for promotion.

Sheffield are eight points behind Malton but 11 points clear of third-placed Keighley ... the Abbeydale showdown against the top two on January 29 gets tastier by the minute!

Ben Parker, who replaced the unavailable Donal Collins at fly half, put the first points on the board with a well struck penalty after 11 minutes. Five minutes later the visitors No8 was sin-binned for a high tackle on Ewan Reed and Parker was on hand to nail a penalty from around 40 metres out. Straight from the restart skipper Andy Kelly found himself all on his lonesome five metres out on the right and he went over for an unconverted try.

It was Sheffield who had the final say of the half when Parker increased the lead to 14-0 with a perfectly executed drop goal.

Despite playing into a strong-to-gale-force wind, they took just seven minutes to increase their advantage when Matt Poste found that elusive gap and went over for an unconverted try.

Shortly after came Tommy’s magic moment but the conversion attempt was once again held up by the wind.

Scarborough finally grabbed a converted try but all that did was re-energise Sheffield and deep in added time Tom King scooted through to score what everyone believed was the bonus point try. Unfortunately referee Downing had other ideas and disallowed it but they were not to be denied and Kelly made the most of good work by hooker Carl Mortimer, picked up at the base of the scrum and powered over for that vital fourth try.

Job done.

Sheffield travel to mid-table North Ribblesdale on Saturday.