WEST LONDON SHARKS are closing in on their first Rugby League National Conference South title in four years.
The Osterley-based side still lead the way and are still unbeaten after coming through their toughest test yet against Ipswich Rhinos on Saturday. They trailed 16-10 at half-time, despite tries from Terrance Puna and Tony Williams and a Liam Bartels goal. Puna completed his hat-trick with two quick tries after the break to put Sharks in front, but Bartels hit the post with both conversion attempts. Graham Robbings, Kirstin Block and Bartels followed Puna over the try-line, with Bartels finding his shooting boots to convert twice, and Sharks looked to have it sewn up with 10, minutes left.
But two converted Ipwich tries brought them back to within six points, and it took a late Robbie MacKenzie try to ease Sharks home 38-28.
Sharks are certain of a play-off spot, but holding onto top spot would not only secure their first title since 2004, but also home advantage in the regional final. Winning that would put them through to the grand final, which they lost to Widnes in 2004.
Sharks host London Skolars IIs at MacFarlane Lane on Saturday.