Doncaster RLFC 28-32 Sheffield Eagles
Wednesday 26th June 2019, 19:30pm
1895 Cup - Round: No Round
Sam Doherty, Jez Litten (2), Matty Beharrell,
Matty Beharrell (6),
Jacob Ogden, Rory Dixon, Ryan Millar, Anthony Thackeray (2), Jason Crookes,
Pat Walker (4),
Sheffield Eagles booked their place in the semi-finals of the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup with a dramatic 32-28 win over Doncaster at Featherstone Rovers’ LD Nutrition Stadium.
Anthony Thackeray’s last-minute try broke Donny hearts after the League 1 club showed their class for an hour of the match.
The Eagles were 28-12 down with 20 minutes to go but a late rally saw them steal victory from the jaws of defeat.
James Thornton was given his debut after he was given the all clear from the RFL after penning a deal with the Eagles.
Rory Dixon, Sonny Esslemont and Corey Makelim all started for the Red and Golds while the experienced Aaron Brown came off the bench.
It took three minutes for the hosts to open the scoring after they had won a penalty on halfway.
Sam Doherty had acres of space on the wing and he dived over. Matty Beharrell converted.
The Eagles bounced back well with two tries in four minutes.
The first came courtesy of Jacob Ogden who got on the end of a Josh Guzdek grubber. Pat Walker converted.
Shortly after, Thackeray played Dixon through a gap and the prop had too much strength for the full-back. Once again, Walker goaled.
On 22 minutes, the hosts were level after an offload left three Eagles defenders on the ground and the defence was at breaking point. A quick play the ball helped Doncaster and Jez Litten touched down. Beharrell was on target for the second time.
Two try-saving tackles in as many minutes from Ryan Millar should have given the Eagles some warning about the threat Doncaster posed.
A penalty was given to the Dons close to the Eagles line and despite having the Championship side rattled, they opted for the two and Beharrell duly obliged.
Three minutes remained of the half and Doncaster added another penalty goal to their tally as they went into the sheds 16-12 up.
As the final quarter approached, Doncaster put their foot on the gas and looked to have killed the game as a contest.
Another dummy from Litten opened up the Eagles defence and he had too much speed to be stopped. Beharrell converted, as he did on 57 minutes following his own four-pointer.
Richard Horne’s side also had an opportunity to put three converted scores between the teams but Beharrell’s 45m penalty attempt landed just short.
Nobody could have envisaged how big that miss was going to be.
With 15 minutes to go, Millar got the try he thoroughly deserved after being the standout for the visitors. Walker couldn’t convert.
On 69 minutes, the Eagles showed their expansive quality which led to Guzdek racing over. Walker was on target, this time.
Shortly after, Thackeray’s kick over the top of the Doncaster defence landed in the arms of Jason Crookes for a simple finish. If Walker’s conversion attempt had been successful, it would have been a level game but instead it drifted wide and the Eagles had more work to do.
After that terrific seven-minute spell, the Eagles waited another seven minutes to land the killer blow.
With just under 20 seconds to go, Thackeray played Oliver Davies through and the forward offloaded to Guzdek who chucked a ball backwards to the scrum-half who had a free run to the line. Walker converted as Mark Aston’s men completed a quite remarkable comeback.
By Dan Fowler