Eagles Wheelchair narrowly lose to Rochdale
Rochdale Hornets 28
Sheffield Eagles 16
Sunday 3rd July, 2pm Kick Off, Rochdale Leisure Centre
Sheffield Eagles’ return to action for phase 2 of the Wheelchair Rugby League season served up a highly competitive game against hosts Rochdale Hornets, with a vastly improved performance from both sides.
With over month’s break for mid-season internationals, both sides were clearly itching to get going, with big hits and fast plays on show all over the pitch.
Rochdale took an early lead as former Eagles Stephen Scott found his way to the left corner, with Kyran Holt converting from out wide. Coach Greg Brown asked for a response, and a response he got, with the red and golds showing some gritty and solid defence, whilst also looking genuinely threatening whilst in attack. Holt slipped through the grasp on the quarter of an hour mark, touching down under the sticks and converting his own try to move the Hornets further ahead.
But the Eagles rallied, finding solid position and quick hands from the play-the-ball, coupled with a show and go from David Butler found him the gap and space to race in for his first try of the season from 15 metres out, setting up an easy conversion for Vicky Brooks in front of the sticks.
Several sets followed, with both sides moving the ball around impressively and showing their defensive qualities, with Sheffield particularly hustling and frustrating their opponents efforts to cause errors.
Chris Haynes closed the gap on the half hour mark, taking Stephen Palin-Campbell’s perfectly timed pass to the right in space to score on the right edge, although he couldn’t level the scores with his conversion going adrift of the uprights.
The Hornets had the final word of the first half, with Gavin Dobson finding his way through, although Holt missed the kick, to leave the Eagles trailing by only six points at the break.
Rochdale moved further ahead after the restart, with the Eagles defence looking disorganised as Joshua Hart managed to crash through, Holt extending the score, but again the Eagles showed that they had plenty more to offer, with a fifteen minute period of pressure resulting in Shaun Orton’s pass putting Palin-Campbell through on the left edge, with Vicky Brooks again finding her mark with the conversion.
The two slides slugged it out, with Emma Pearson desperately close to scoring twice for the Eagles, denied by last minute tackling and strong performances from youngsters Will Brooks, Chris Browne and Jack Johnson. As the team tired, a few first play errors gave way to Rochdale gaining field position and Gavin Dobson added his second try with 10 minutes to go, with Hold again adding the extras, to extend the lead. Despite continued Eagles pressure, the scores remained at 28-16 and despite the loss, the visiting team had several positives to take from the game going into next week’s away game at Bradford Bull.
Sophie Bamford, Gavin Dobson, Kyran Holt, Stephen Scott, Joshua Hart. Interchanges: Michael Hart, Debbie Johnson Brown, Conrad Glowacki, Adam Forbes.
Tries: Stephen Scott (4), Kyran Holt (15), Gavin Dobson (35, 69), Joshua Hart (46)
Goals: Kyran Holt 4/5
Stephen Palin-Campbell, Vicky Brooks, Chris Haynes, David Butler, Shaun Orton. Interchanges: Emma Pearson, Jack Johnson, Will Brooks, Chris Brown.
Tries: David Butler (18), Chris Haynes (29), Stephen Palin-Campbell (59)
Goals: Vicky Brooks 2/2, Chris Haynes 0/1
Referees: Kim Abel & Richard Turner