10th February 2019, 21:53
Walker guides Eagles home against Raiders
Sheffield Eagles made it two wins from two in the 2019 Betfred Championship with a nail-biting 24-22 triumph against Barrow Raiders in Cumbria.
Pat Walker sealed the victory with the last kick of the game after Sheffield were awarded a penalty 30 metres out.
Walker was undoubtedly the Man of the Match for the visitors, even before the last kick, following his two inch-perfect assists for Ryan Millar’s brace.
Eagles DoR Mark Aston named an unchanged match day squad as the South Yorkshire club aimed to back up their impressive opening round performance against Swinton Lions.
Barrow struck first on 11 minutes as the lively Wartovo Puara squirmed over from dummy-half. Jamie Dallimore added the extras.
The Eagles were knocking on the door but kept getting shut out by a solid Raiders defence. That was until Joel Farrell blew the doors off completely with a rampaging run to the whitewash. Walker levelled the scores with the conversion.
On the stroke of half-time, Sheffield hit the front as Walker chipped over the Raiders defence for Millar to steam on to the ball and touch down. The stand-off couldn’t convert but Aston’s men went into the sheds four-points up.
Whatever the Eagles chief said at half-time didn’t resonate with the players straight away as two Barrow tries inside seven minutes turned the game on its head.
Stargroth Amean scored both as the hosts’ PNG contingent certainly left their mark on proceedings. Dallimore converted one from two.
Anthony Thackeray scored his fifth Eagles try in two matches as he muscled his way past Jono Smith in the 50th minute. Walker hit the post with the conversion but it ricocheted over.
With the game finely poised going into the final quarter, it was looking ever more likely that some star quality was needed to divide the teams.
In a similar fashion to his first try, Millar had room on the wing and Walker found him perfectly with another sublime kick over the Barrow back-line. The latter converted for 16-22 but there was to be a few more twists in this tale.
Raiders forward Josh Johnson bulldozed his way under the sticks and Dallimore converted to leave the game all-square with just over ten minutes to play.
Seconds remained when Sheffield were awarded a penalty, 25 metres out from the Raiders line. The kicking tee came out for Walker to do the business, which he did with minimal fuss as the ball sailed between the sticks.
Another two competition points on the board for Sheffield, who will be looking forward to facing the likes of Bradford Bulls and Widnes Vikings over the next couple of weeks.
By Dan Fowler, photo by Alex Coleman