Sheffield Eagles Official Website

Betfred Championship EVOGO

Eagles Women beat League Leaders Hull KR


Sheffield Eagles Women returned home to the OLP to face Championship leaders Hull KR in a rearranged game postponed from mid-season due to league and cup fixture congestion.  Previous form to the outsider would have suggested that the Eagles would be outclassed.  Not on this occasion which turned out to be a brutal battle and a vindication of the hard defensive work done on the training field over recent weeks.


The first half ebbed and flowed from end to end with defences on top for twenty minutes. Eventually a Hull KR high cross field kick on the last tackle was misjudged and allowed to bounce 12m out from the Eagles line. It was chipped on by the Hull KR no.9, the ball kindly bouncing up into hand to be touched down behind the posts in the 22nd minute, making for an easy conversion.  Score 0-6. 


Undaunted the Eagles fought back trapping Hull KR in their own half and mounting a series of raids on the Hull KR line.  In the 33rd minute the pressure told.  A penalty for a high tackle 10m out and 10m to the left of the posts granted the Eagles another set.  The second play brought a tackle 5m to the right of the posts a metre out, and the artful dodger Wood forced a way through two defenders to score. Conversion frustratingly missed, score 4-6.


The remainder of the half played out much like the first twenty minutes with neither side able to sustain pressure due to errors forced and unforced.


Half-time: Sheffield Eagles Women 4 – 6 Hull KR


A close first half, will Hull KR up the ante?  Well for a while they did. Things didn’t start well with the Eagles mis-fielding the second half kick-off, conceding a penalty for offside on their right edge 25m out.  Hull KR worked the ball in three tackles to their right side. The next play switched back the other way bringing a prop on a strong inside run against the grain that broke through the Eagles line.  A spin in the tackle and an offload then found the Hull KR no.9 backing up to weave a way over in the 42nd minute on their left 10m in from the corner flag, but unconverted for a 4-10 lead.  Uh-oh!


No need to worry, the Eagles were not for giving in.  At first the Eagles had to repel pressure from the restart deep into their own half, but a poor last tackle kick landed the ball easily into the hands of Palmer.  Play took the ball 50m up field thanks to a break on the right from Wood. Hull KR then conceded a penalty for a high tackle on the fourth tackle. Two tackles brought play to 25m out on the left.  A two pass play on the short side brought Green on to the ball to weave a route through for a debatable touch down in the 48th minute by the left corner flag.  What the referee cannot see, the referee cannot give.  Luck on the side of the Eagles for a change.  A difficult conversion going slightly wide for a score of 8-10.


Brief exultation followed by immediate worry.  Hull KR kicked off short on the restart and captured the ball 35m out.  This time the Eagles managed to repel the invader, forcing a lost ball in the fifth tackle 2m out from their try line.  A soft error returned possession to Hull KR shortly after to invite more pressure on the Eagles line, only for a Hull KR comment to the referee after a tackle to relieve it with a penalty to the Eagles. The Eagles promptly swept up field in five plays to find themselves 23m out 20m in from the left touch line.  Another two pass play to the short side with a another perfectly timed draw and pass from half back Palmer found second rower Green on the charge again.  Green then went on to weave another route over but this time for an indisputable try in the 56th minute 6m in from the flag, converting it too to give the Eagles the lead for the first time at 14-10.


The Eagles progressed deep up field from the kick restart only for injuries and mutual errors to disrupt the flow of play for a while in the Hull KR half.  Penalties and a set restart gifted Hull KR territory deep into the Eagles half.  A mis-field of a last tackle kick gifted more pressure and Hull KR did not waste it this time. Two tackles after a scrum to Hull KR on the Eagles 10m brought play to 5m out 20m in from touch on the Hull KR left. A short side pass to Hull KR’s powerful no.10 Brown brought a try in the 67th minute 10m in from touch, but unconverted for an even score of 14-14.


Would Hull KR now turn the screw or could the Eagles fight back? At first yes.  A knock-on fielding the kick restart invited the Eagles deep into the Hull KR half.  Play was brought into the centre and Wood dived over between the posts but lost the ball at the last gasp due tackle pressure.  Play from the 20m restart swept back up field deep into Eagles territory.  A last tackle kick was caught only to be spilled in the ensuing tackle 13m out, picked up by Hull KR and stopped by desperation tackling 3m out, the Eagles defence all a bit condensed.  Then the gods intervened – the Hull KR player at dummy half knocked on. A get out of jail card, pressure off.


From the scrum the Eagles advanced deep up field with Hull KR regaining possession on their 20m line after the last tackle kick.  Play flowed back to the other end and back the other way again. An Eagles handling error near half way gifted a scrum to Hull KR only for them to gift a penalty for referee backchat 45m out. The Eagles wasted no time and three tackles later were within 1m of the try line to the right of the posts.  A two pass play to the right found an unstoppable Butler at centre steaming on to the ball, forcing a way over to ground the ball in the 76th minute 5m in from the corner flag.  A difficult conversion - not for Green this day, converted for a 20-14 lead.


The remainder of time seemed to last forever brought on by the fact that over 11 minutes of time was lost in the second half to injuries mostly to Hull KR players, which is a statement in itself of the defensive treatment meted out by the Eagles.  Butler fielded the kick restart cleanly and the Eagles marched back up field, eventually surrendering possession to Hull KR on their 10m after a last tackle kick to touch.  Resolute Eagles defence then trapped Hull KR in their 30m.  A kick on the fourth tackle only reached the hands of Green who was tackled 35m out from the Hull KR line for the last action of the game.  Jubilation in the Eagles ranks!


Full-time: Sheffield Eagles Women 20 – 14 Hull KR


Eagles Tries:- Wood, Green (2), Butler          Goals: Green (2 conversions)


Hull KR Tries: A.Nolan (2), Brown                  Goals: Kudla (1 conversion)


Was the performance a perfect demonstration of skill and technique.  No, still lots of things to work on (forever the demand of coaches), but at this stage of the year that’s for the off season.  But it was a performance full of grit, determination, fight and team work.  A performance that builds confidence and self-belief, priceless intangibles for any team.


The sponsor’s player of the match award went to Danie Green, the coaches’ award to Lisa Parker vindicating selection at loose forward, and the captain’s vote to Beth Arnold for an absolute stormer at prop.