Brave Eagles go down to Centurions in 1895 Cup semi-final
An injury-hit Sheffield Eagles were beaten 30-12 by Leigh Centurions in the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup semi-final.
Ending the game with just one interchange available after injuries to Connor Bower, Tyler Dickinson and Blake Broadbent, the Eagles - who were holding Leigh 12-12 after an hour - put up a brilliant effort against the big-spending Centurions, who managed to win the game in the final quarter.
Kris Welham scored Sheffield’s only try of the contest while Izaac Farrell kicked four goals from as many attempts.
Mark Aston welcomed Quentin Laulu-Togaga’e and Anthony Thackeray back into the match day squad, with Jason Bass switching from the full-back position to winger.
Eight minutes in, Sheffield broke the deadlock as Kris Welham latched on to a Thackeray kick which evaded Caleb Aekins. The centre did well to collect and ground the ball despite the attention of the Centurions defender. Izaac added the extras.
Soon after, a late shot from the hosts gave Sheffield an opportunity to extend their advantage with a penalty. Izaac made no mistake from the tee.
Just shy of the half-hour mark came Leigh’s first score of the contest. Sam Stone barged over from close range, with Krisnan Inu converting.
The final points of the half went the way of the Eagles as Izaac kicked another penalty goal following more indiscipline from the hosts.
Half-time - Leigh Centurions 6-10 Sheffield Eagles
Leigh dominated the early exchanges in the second half, their first chance went begging as Nene MacDonald couldn’t take in a bullet pass from Ben Reynolds.
Their next foray proved successful as Kai O’Donnell burrowed over from dummy-half. Inu converted to give Leigh their first lead of the afternoon.
Neither side could improve their tally until the hour mark struck. Thackeray took on the Centurions line and copped a high shot for his troubles. 20 metres out from the try-line, Izaac pointed to the sticks and levelled matters at 12-12.
Three tries in just under ten minutes sealed Leigh’s progression to the cup final at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
The first came courtesy of MacDonald who claimed a high kick to touch down. Aekins extended Leigh’s advantage as he got past a would-be tackler to cross the whitewash. The last try of the contest was scored by Ed Chamberlain, who profited from Sheffield trying to force the issue directly from a scrum. The Ireland international snapped up an Eagles pass to run 60-metres.
Inu converted all three scores.
Full-time - Leigh Centurions 30-12 Sheffield Eagles