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Eagles dominate table-topping Lionesses


Sheffield Eagles 34
Swinton Lionesses 12
Olympic Legacy Park, Sheffield, Sunday 24th July, 12.30pm

Sunday saw the Eagles Women return to the OLP to face top of the table team Swinton Lionesses.

The match began with Swinton kicking off to Sheffield, who caught the ball on the bounce and pushed through into the Lionesses’ 20 with strong carries from forwards Lendon and Arnold. The Eagles were stopped just short of the line, but managed to swiftly regain possession by forcing a Swinton error with strong defensive pressure from Scullion and Arnold. The resulting scrum gave Auger the perfect opportunity to use her strength to push through the Lionesses and dive over the line on the left of the sticks. Haglington successfully converted to give the Eagles a 6 point lead at just 3 minutes on the clock.

The return kick from Swinton saw both sides being forced to make errors - it was clear that this would be a closely matched game. Eventually Lendon scooped up a loose ball to gain back possession for the Eagles, allowing the ball to be passed out wide through several hands to Parker, who wove through the scattered defence to score on the left wing. The angle proved too wide for Hanglington to add the extras.

After being caught off guard by the Eagles’ early points on the scoreboard, the Lionesses re-focussed and were able to make a break on the right wing, with their no. 13 running 40m to score under the sticks. Their no. 26 converted to add the extras. The return kick from the Eagles saw the Lionesses push towards halfway, credit has to go to Swinton’s no. 17 who made a run from dummy half, fending off four Eagles players to sprint 60m and score under the sticks. Their no. 26 was set up perfectly to convert.

The following 20 minutes saw strong attacking and defensive sets - with both sides coming close to scoring but both being denied close to their try lines.

Half time score: Sheffield Eagles 10 - 12 Swinton Lionesses 

The second half began with a strong defensive set from the Eagles - keeping the Lionesses in their own half. What followed was a perfect example of a team try from the Eagles, with powerful carries towards the line and ending on the fifth tackle with an offload by Palmer, allowing Lendon to dive over the line. Haglington once again converted to add the extras, despite strong winds.

Now back in the lead, the Eagles worked hard in defence to keep the Lionesses within their own half. Scullion caught Swinton’s kick on the 5th, gaining ground into Swinton’s half. A quick pass by Thomas at dummy half, allowed Lendon to expose a gap in the Lionesses' defensive  line, sprinting half the pitch and stepping the fullback to score under the sticks - in an impressive individual effort. Haglington was set up perfectly to add the extras.

The next 15 minutes saw both sides battling for domination, with Sheffield showing their defensive strength by once again denying Swinton within metres of the try line. Eventually, the Eagles regained possession and a pick and go on the wing from Colclough brought them within metres of the try line. Auger made a dive for the line, but was unfortunately held up, with a second attempt from Lendon the ball was successfully grounded under the sticks - securing a hat trick for Lendon. Once again, Haglington added the extras.

In the final few minutes, the Eagles’ win was secured even further by Arnold, who caught the Lionesses napping on the left wing to ground the ball over the line, with Haglington kicking to add the extras.

Final score: Sheffield Eagles 34 - 12 Swinton Lionesses 

Head Coach Liam Browne comments: “We chose to receive the ball at kickoff because we wanted to score first and get on the front foot - and that’s exactly what we did, I’m really proud of the team and the work they have put in,”

“Last time we played Swinton, they brought the game to us, but this time we took the game to them - we’ve worked hard on our skills and physicality and we’ve shown what we’re capable of.”

Players of the match 

Chairman’s Player of the Match - Pete Lendon

For having an amazing game, leading from the front and scoring a hat trick.

Captain’s Player - Sarah Palmer 

For leading the team, calling the shots, making great plays and setting up tries.

Manager's Player - Beth Arnold 

For making some impressive carries, strong defensive work and scoring a try.

Head Coach Liam’s Player - Tori Thomas 

For moving away from her regular position and still making big carries and impressive tackles.

Assistant Coach Dan’s Player - Chris Scullion 

For moving around into different positions multiple times today and smashing it wherever they played.

Sheffield Eagles

2 Tori Thomas, 3 Claire Fisher, 4 Chris Scullion, 5 Molly Haglington, 6 Lisa Parker, 7 Sarah Palmer (VC), 10 Jessica Sayles, 9 Isobel Stevens, 25 Nell Colclough, 11 Olivia Mulvey, 12 Beth Arnold, 13 Pete Lendon (C), 22 Chloe Askew, 8 Capucine Auger, 21 Aiden Cottrell-Callbeck, 20 Helen Teas , 18 Clara Reynolds, 19 Kate Fletcher, 17 Jenny Crofts

Tries: Capucine Auger (3), Lisa Parker (11), Pete Lendon (43, 52, 68), Beth Arnold (74)

Conversions: Molly Haglington 5/6

Swinton Lionesses

Tries: No 13 (26), No 17 (26)

Conversions: No 26 2/2

By Chris Scullion