18th March 2018, 17:30
Eagles dumped out of cup by Barrow
Sheffield Eagles were knocked out of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup thanks to a 28-16 defeat against Barrow Raiders at Craven Park.
The Eagles were 24-6 down at half-time and despite outscoring Barrow in the second period, Mark Aston's men were unable to threaten the end result.
Matty Fozard, Iliess Macani and Ryan Millar all got on the scoresheet for the South Yorkshire club, who will have to regroup ahead of their return to Cumbria next weekend to face the Raiders in the league.
Simon Brown and Ben Morris were handed their Eagles debuts while Ben Blackmore, Daniel Igbinedion and Oliver Davies all returned to the match day squad.
It took eight minutes for the opening try of the contest and it came courtesy of Barrow full-back Ryan Fieldhouse. Brett Carter added the extras.
Sheffield were quick to respond and hooker Fozard's try, converted by Oscar Thomas, levelled matters.
The hosts soon put their foot on the gas with two scores in the space of five minutes.
Joe Bullock and Jarrad Stack both got on the scoresheet for Paul Crarey's men, with Carter kicking the conversions to make it 18-6 to the hosts.
The Raiders' job was made easier by Sheffield's inability to keep hold of possession and the Cumbrians capitalised on 33 minutes when debutant Gene Ormsby crossed. Carter, once again, was on target.
Aston's men, despite only being three scores behind, had a mountain to climb in the second half and they needed to smarten up in defence.
The visitors seemed to learn from their defensive woes as they kept Barrow out until the final quarter. The South Yorkshire club also cut the deficit on 58 minutes thanks to a Macani effort.
Andy Litherland replied with the hosts' lone four-pointer before play was stopped for eight minutes as Raiders forward Bullock was stretchered off after copping a high tackle.
Once play got back underway, Sheffield showed they weren't going down without a fight and full-back Millar touched down with Brown converting.
Despite pressing for another score, Barrow held out and booked their place in the fifth round of the Challenge Cup.
Sheffield will be looking to exact revenge next week when they make the trip back up to Craven Park for a Betfred Championship clash.
By Dan Fowler