Eagles lose to York in Challenge Cup
Sheffield Eagles were beaten 30-6 by York City Knights at the Keepmoat Stadium in the Challenge Cup.
Elimination from the Challenge Cup also spells the end of Sheffield’s 1895 Cup reign.
Mark Aston handed out debuts to new signings Ryan Johnson and Tyler Dickinson, while James Glover and Matt James were brought back into the side for their first game since sustaining injuries at the 2019 Summer Bash.
York opened the scoring on four minutes as Brendan O’Hagan put in a deft grubber for Perry Whiteley to touch down. Kieran Dixon converted the try from the corner.
The Eagles missed an opportunity to potentially level the scores as both Johnson and Rob Worrincy went for the same kick from Izaac Farrell and knocked on.
However, they fashioned another chance when Whiteley fumbled an Anthony Thackeray bomb.
This time they made it count as Greg Burns burrowed over from dummy-half, with Farrell kicking the extras.
Sheffield had the better territory for a time, after tying the game at six-apiece, but York’s defence was resolute and they got their reward for that.
Two tries in the space of three minutes in the latter stages of the first half for York put the Eagles on the back foot.
After the hosts were penalised for a late tackle on their own 20 metre line, Kriss Brining performed his best Burns impression with a try out of dummy-half. Dixon converted, as he did moments later following Ben Jones-Bishop’s effort.
Marcus Stock found a gap from a quick play-the-ball, and the York full-back was on his shoulder to streak over from halfway.
On the half-time hooter, Dixon was lining up his fourth goal of the evening after Sheffield were penalised for an illegal throw. The former Hull KR man was successful from the tee, extending the Knights’ lead to three scores at 6-20.
After the interval, York may have already been celebrating when Jones-Bishop picked up a Glover knock-on but Oliver Davies managed to make up the ground on the ex-Leeds man to stop him 20m out.
The Eagles held York out on that occasion and we’re trying to get back in the game themselves - with Ryan Millar and Glover combining down the left flank.
They showed glimpses of quality but a low offload was hard to take for Millar who fumbled.
A few missed chances in the York final third proved costly for the Eagles as Whiteley bagged his second of the game on the hour after a bullet pass from O’Hagan. Dixon couldn’t convert.
With ten minutes to go, Kirmond went close for York before being held up by Glover and a number of fellow Eagles.
At the other end, Farrell put through a grubber for Millar to chase but the kick proved too strong
York threatened the Eagles line on a number of occasions in the closing stages - Whiteley and Kirmond both knocking on before Atkins latched on to a kick to score in the final minute. Dixon converted.
Sheffield are back in action on April 4th against Bradford Bulls in round one of the Betfred Championship.
By Dan Fowler, photo by Alex Coleman