Batley Bulldogs v Sheffield Eagles
Sunday 17th June 2018, 15:00pm
Championship - Round: 17
Stats over last 8 encounters
Sheffield Eagles got back to winning ways in the Betfred Championship with an important 38-20 victory over Batley Bulldogs at the Fox’s Biscuits Stadium.
Following last weekend’s defeat to Swinton Lions, the Eagles needed to find a positive response and they got just that in West Yorkshire.
Three tries in each half, complemented by seven goals from the boot of Cory Aston, gave Sheffield the spoils.
The game was part of the Great Get Together, an event inspired following the tragic death of Jo Cox MP.
In the lead-up to kick-off, a rousing minute’s applause took place in memory of Cox and former Batley chairman Ron Earnshaw.
The Eagles got off to the best possible start as they opened the scoring after three minutes. Club captain Matt James powered on to a Corey Makelim pass and the Bulldogs defence couldn’t stop the forward. Aston converted.
Batley forged a response from their next set. A penalty put the hosts in prime position and Jason Crookes crossed from dummy-half. Dave Scott levelled the scores.
The thrilling start to the match continued when Sheffield regained the lead on 13 minutes.
Adam Swift found a gap in the Batley rear-guard and the centre kicked forward for Matty Fozard to capitalise on a deceiving bounce. Aston added the extras.
Sheffield were pegged back later on in the half, once again conceding from dummy-half, as Reiss Butterworth found his way through. Scott converted.
With nine minutes of the half remaining, Swift came up with a piece of magic as he broke the defensive line from a scrum and had too much pace for the chasing defenders. Aston goaled from the corner.
The half-back and Batley’s Scott exchanged penalty goals in the latter stages of the half, with Sheffield going into the break 20-14 up.
Unlike the opening half, it took almost 20 minutes for the first points to be scored.
Sheffield turned defence into instant attack through Ryan Millar, who intercepted and juggled a Bulldogs pass before going the length of the field. Aston converted.
In the final quarter, Batley registered yet another dummy-half try as they kept themselves in with a shout. Ex-Eagle James Davey exposed the defence and got on the scoresheet. Scott goaled for a six-point ball game.
But as they did earlier in the contest, Sheffield came up with another interception – this time on the other wing – to put some daylight between the sides.
Ben Blackmore latched on to a Butterworth pass and the winger, despite valiant chasing from Lewis Galbraith, went over by the sticks.
Aston converted and then had a chance to extend the Eagles’ lead to 34-20 after Scott had kicked out on the full. However, the penalty attempt from halfway didn’t have the distance.
In the dying embers of the contest, Sheffield registered their final try as Spedding touched down after Galbraith knocked on an Aston grubber. The latter converted.
By Dan Fowler