Eagles claim thrilling golden point win over Batley
Sheffield Eagles sealed their first win of the 2020 Betfred Championship with a 19-18 golden point extra time victory over Batley Bulldogs.
In the first ever regular season Championship game to end in golden point, it was Izaac Farrell who struck the killer blow from 25-metres out.
Farrell was one of two changes made by Mark Aston following the Eagles’ Challenge Cup fourth-round win over Halifax a week ago.
The half-back replaced Corey Makelim while Blake Broadbent came into the fold for Connor Bower.
Batley opened the scoring on four minutes thanks to a penalty try from Shaun Lunt. The Eagles attempted to kick dead a Batley grubber but failed to do so, only sending the ball skywards before Lunt was held back by a defender. Referee Matt Rossleigh awarded the try, and Dale Morton added the extras from in front of the sticks.
Brad Knowles almost provided an instant response for the visitors but his try was ruled out due to a forward pass.
Neither side got going in an attacking sense and it was on the half-hour mark when the next points were scored.
Farrell and Thackeray linked up to give the ball to Joel Farrell, he busted through the defence before passing to Ryan Millar who did the rest. Izaac couldn’t convert from the touchline, leaving the score at Batley 6-4 Sheffield.
The scoreline didn’t change before the break but Sheffield did finish the first period with 12 men as Joel was sin-binned for backchat.
The Eagles had a two-point deficit and faced a second half up the Mount Pleasant slope, but the tables turned completely within the first ten minutes.
Aaron Brown bagged a brace, his first coming from an Izaac grubber and his second after Millar tapped a kick back into play. Farrell converted both scores for 6-16.
Alistair Leak responded for the Bulldogs as the Eagles failed to kick another Batley grubber dead. This attempt hit the post and the hooker was there to score. Morton added the extras.
With 15 minutes to go, Izaac kicked a penalty to extend Sheffield’s advantage to six-points but that lead was soon extinguished.
James Brown crashed over with ten to play, and Morton converted to level matters.
From there, it was really anyone’s game and it took until the second half of golden point for a winner to be decided.
Lunt had an opportunity for the Bulldogs in the first half but his attempt, on the first tackle following a Millar knock-on, went well wide.
It was left to Izaac to do the honours from 25-metres and despite being under pressure, the ball sailed between the sticks in front of the travelling Eagles fans.
By Dan Fowler, photo by Alex Coleman