Eagles through to last 16 of Challenge Cup
Sheffield Eagles beat North Wales Crusaders 30-50 at Stadiwm Eirias on Saturday afternoon to book their place in the sixth round of the Betfred Challenge Cup.
Matty Chrimes scored four tries for the visitors while Anthony Thackeray, courtesy of a number of try assists, proved to be the other main danger the Crusaders defence couldn't handle.
Mark Aston welcomed Liam Kirk and Evan Hodgson back into the side after the duo missed out on the Workington win through illness.
First blood went to the Crusaders and their full-back Tommy Johnson, who finished a neat move. The try-scorer couldn’t successfully convert.
The Eagles responded in kind with four successive tries to almost take the game away from their League 1 counterparts.
Liam Johnson got Sheffield in front as he ran a fine line to connect with a Thackeray pass. Izaac Farrell converted, as he did following Chrimes’ first score - the winger streaked down the wing before riding the challenge of the last Crusader.
Thackeray turned from provider to try-scorer as he took the line on in typical fashion before planting the ball down. Izaac was once again on target.
Chrimes completed a first half brace with an acrobatic finish on 25 minutes but Izaac’s effort from the tee went wide.
North Wales got their second try of the afternoon as Johnson was in support of Gav Rodden’s offload. The full-back converted on this occasion.
Rodden was sin-binned for a tackle off the ball and thanks to some creative play, the Eagles registered another try before the break.
Izaac kicked downfield straight from the scrum and Chrimes always had the speed to overtake Patrick Ah Van. The Sheffield winger did just that and his pick-up was sublime to get his third of the day. Izaac’s conversion gave the Eagles an 18-point lead at the interval.
Half-time - North Wales Crusaders 10-28 Sheffield Eagles
Four consecutive tries in the second half sealed the victory for Sheffield.
Blake Broadbent scored his first of the year as he proved too strong for the Crusaders defence from close range.
Kris Welham was next over the whitewash as the ball was spread to the flank and the centre went over almost untouched.
As the final quarter approached, Chrimes added to his highlight reel with another acrobatic finish which delighted the Eagles following.
The half-century was brought up by the Farrell brothers - Joel with the try and Izaac with the conversion, the latter kicking three from four in the second period.
North Wales certainly didn't give up and they notched four scores in the space of 15 minutes - three of those coming whilst having a numerical advantage.
Jack Holmes got the home crowd cheering with his side’s first try of the second half, before Eagles forward Bayley Liu was given a red card for a high tackle.
Ah Van, Callum Hazzard and Rodden all touched down for the Welsh outfit, who will have been very happy with how they finished the contest.
Full-time - North Wales Crusaders 30-50 Sheffield Eagles
All eyes will now be on the sixth round draw for the Eagles, which takes place on BBC’s Look North on Monday 14th March at 6:45pm.
By Dan Fowler, photo by Alex Coleman