Eagles Women clinch important win over Illingworth
Sheffield Eagles 28
Illingworth ARLFC, Sunday 19th June, 11am
Last weekend saw the Eagles travel to Illingworth for their fourth game of the season, in what proved to be a closely matched top of the table clash.
The game began with the Eagles kicking off to Illingworth, and it was clear straight away that this would be a physical game that’d go down to the wire.
After an Eagles try was disallowed, Illingworth managed to push the visitors back and broke through to score just beside the sticks at 14 minutes into the game. They also added the extras.
Another disallowed try for the Eagles saw Illingworth take possession and once again break through the defensive line to score to the left of the sticks, converting soon after.
This less than ideal start to the match could have put the Eagles on the back foot, however a quick team-talk from coach Liam Browne reminded Sheffield to stay focused and play on their own terms.
The Eagles returned with a strong defensive set - forcing an error and winning back the ball. The team gained ground with strong carries from forwards Beth Arnold and Chloe Askew, a perfectly timed pass from vice captain Sarah Palmer to captain Pete Lendon allowed the forward to step Illingworth’s fullback, charge the final 10 metres and ground the ball with 23 minutes on the clock.
With spirits lifted by their first try, the Eagles had found their stride and used their speed and physicality to once again push towards the try line. Ten minutes after their first score, Lendon was over again following another well timed pass inside from Palmer. Danie Green was set up perfectly to convert to add the extras.
Seconds before the half time whistle, Illingworth were able to exploit a gap in the Eagles’ line and score on the wing, the angle proving too wide to convert.
Half-time - Illingworth 16-10 Sheffield Eagles.
The Eagles came back with momentum after the half time break. However an unfortunate handling error provided space for Illingworth to score again on the left wing, which wasn’t converted.
Despite them now being 10 points behind, the visitors kept battling and after ten minutes of pressure, the Eagles got the ball close enough to the try line for acting half Tayler Coates to dive over. This was successfully converted by Green.
With clear confidence on the Eagles’ side, they were now the dominant team in attack and defence. But a try was still needed from Browne’s troops to level the scoreboard.
A well organised attack was finished with a strong drive from Nell Colclough, leading to her first try for the Eagles. The successful conversion from Green put Sheffield ahead for the first time in the game.
The Eagles kept up the momentum and strong defence forced an Illingworth error, giving space for Green to break the defensive line and run three-quarters of the pitch to score under the sticks for an incredible individual try. Coates stepped up to convert successfully, giving the Eagles an eight-point advantage.
Credit to Illingworth who were now behind as they never let their heads go down. They continued to push the Eagles defence, and a penalty close to the try line, resulted in a try on the right wing. The angle proved too challenging to convert, leaving the Eagles with just a four point lead.
The final ten minutes of the game saw the hosts relentlessly push their way into the Sheffield half but the Eagles showed their physicality once more to hold them back until the final and secure the win.
Full-time - Illingworth 24-28 Sheffield Eagles
Vice Captain Sarah Palmer commented: “We had a big challenge on our hands at Illingworth, with a physical and fast team and at a loss at half time, but the team really stepped up to the mark in the second half and showed some real guts and character to bring it back,”
“A strong and composed performance right until the end to secure the win!”
Players of the match:
Captain’s player and coaches’ player - Sarah Palmer
For being a strong asset throughout. Organising and rallying the whole team, getting heads up and being the driving force when we needed you most. Plus perfectly timed passes and setting up multiple tries. 10/10 performance.
Manager’s player - Chris Scullion
For being relentless in defence and consistently making crucial tackles. As well as making the most of loose balls and putting us in strong positions for a counter attack.
Tries: 14, 20, 40, 43, 70,
1 Lisa Parker, 2 Aiden Cottrell-Callback, 3 Chris Scullion, 4 Danie Green, 5 Tori Thomas, 6 Molly Haglinton, 7 Sarah Palmer (VC), 8 Chloe Askew, 9 Tayler Coates, 10 Jessica Sayles, 22 Nell Colclough, 12 Beth Arnold, 13 Pete Lendon (C), 14 Kate Fletcher, 15 Abi Millen, 16 Olivia Mulvey, 17 Dawn Woodcock, 18 Phoebe Bramley, 17 Jenny Crofts
Tries: Pete Lendon (23,33), Tayler Coates (51), Nell Colclough (64), Danie Green (66)
Goals: Danie Green 3/4, Tayler Coates 1/1
By Chris Scullion