Barrow Raiders v Sheffield Eagles
Saturday 26th May 2018, 15:00pm
Championship - Round: 15
Stats over last 8 encounters
Sheffield Eagles will be aiming for a second victory in as many years at the Summer Bash when they take on Barrow Raiders this Saturday.
The Eagles’ clash with Barrow (3pm KO) will be the first Championship game of the event, following on from the Women’s Super League clash between Featherstone Rovers and Bradford Bulls (12:30pm KO)
Barrow hold the edge over Sheffield this season with the two past fixtures ending with victories for the Raiders at Craven Park.
However, Sheffield will be looking to avenge those defeats and, despite losing two of their three Summer Bash games, last year will bring back good memories as they got the better of Swinton 30-24.
Barrow’s talent in the forwards has been a key part of their success following promotion from League 1 last season. Joe Bullock has been linked with moves to Super League while the likes of Jarrod Stack and Jono Smith have great reputations in the second tier.
The Raiders forwards have performed well all year and if the Eagles are going to come away from Blackpool with anything other than a stick of rock, they will need to halt their opposition’s pack.
Sheffield captain Matt James was absent from last weekend’s defeat to London Broncos, with Mark Offerdahl and Jon Magrin both starting in the front-row against their former side. Jack Ashworth, Shaun Pick and Paddy Burns were the back-rowers while Oliver Davies, Kieran Moran and Max Garcia all came off the bench.
The influence of St Helens players in the Eagles setup has been important this year. Jack Ashworth, Matty Lees and James Bentley have all featured in the forward pack during the season and the latter two haven’t been picked in the Saints’ 19-man squad to face Castleford Tigers. Their re-introduction could well be considered by Eagles Director of Rugby, Mark Aston.
An interesting contest awaits on Saturday, especially between the forward packs.
The Eagles have lost their last three matches, two against London Broncos and the other at the hands of Halifax.
Their last win came on the 29th April against Rochdale Hornets.
A 38-16 win gave Sheffield some breathing space from the bottom two but that gap between 10th (Eagles) and the relegation zone (11th – Rochdale) is now at two points.
Barrow are unbeaten in their last three matches, beating Batley Bulldogs and Dewsbury Rams before drawing 22-22 away at Swinton Lions last weekend.
That was Barrow’s first point on the road, with their other ten coming at Craven Park.
Seven points clear of danger, Paul Crarey has built a solid side in Cumbria and a win against Sheffield on Saturday would see them move to within touching distance of seventh-placed Batley.
Lights, camera, action!
The Summer Bash will be broadcast live on Sky Sports so if you can't make it to Blackpool, tune in this Saturday and watch the Eagles take on the Raiders from 3pm.
By Dan Fowler