Bowers' power is so crucial for Panthers
Chorley Panthers ARLFC welcomed back a number of ex-players which boosted the squad and saw a strong bench for their 22-14 victory against Wigan Bulldogs in the first game of the season.
The opening 15 minutes was something of an arm wrestle between the two sides and the big Wigan pack were content to test the Panthers defensive resolve, which held firm.
But after 17 minutes, Wigan crossed for an easy score to lead 6-0.
In reply, Jessiman crossed from 10 metres out, and with Sharpe successful with the conversion the scores were levelled.
Bulldogs retook the lead with a penalty.
This seemed to rally the Panthers and Alex Bridge sprinted through to score, with Sharpe again successful with the boot and Chorley went into the turnaround 12-8 ahead.
The second half saw Panthers in the ascendancy.
Ellison glided over in the corner to put Panthers 16-8 in front, then Sharpe sprinted in for a converted try.
Those were to be Chorley’s last points of the game, as they appeared to take their foot off the gas for the closing quarter, which saw Bulldogs cross for a consolation try and a final score of 22-14.
The coach’s man of the match award went to second row Harry Bowers.
Meanwhile, Panthers’ Under-15s started life in the Premiership with an away trip to Shevington Sharks, and came away beaten 18-4.
Sharks got the opening try after only two minutes but Panthers managed to keepthe score down to 14-0 at the break.
Panthers showed their spirit in the second half, every player in the black and white showed commitment and enthusiasm throughout.
With pressure on the Sharks line from a repeat set, Tom Greenhalgh grubber kicked through from short range and pounced just before the dead-ball line to touch down, just reward for the Panthers.
Shevington responded with their fourth try but the visitors had further opportunities but just could not get the ball down, with Matthew Duckworth being denied whilst going over the line and Howard Hackett held up by millimetres.
The second half finished all square and gave an indication that Panthers deserve their place in the Premiership.
Next they entertain Blackbrook at the weekend.