Eagles Women Dominate Halifax Panthers
The Eagles Women dominated the Halifax Panthers in scorching conditions. The all-conquering Eagles were set for a challenge in 30+ degree heat, against a well established and physical Panthers Team. In their previous meeting, in late June, the Eagles came out victorious, in what was a battle of the forwards. But following a challenging game against Wigan last week, the Eagles were wary not to be complacent. The Eagles currently are tied at the top with Swinton Lionesses and need to up their points difference to come out top of the league, so every game it’s crucial to get lots of tries on the scoreboard.
Having won the toss, the Eagles opted to receive the kick. From kick off, the Eagles responded with strong drives from forwards Saunders and Lendon which opened up a gap to allow dummy half Thomas to scoot the ball and score on the right of the sticks. Putting the Eagles ahead with just 2 minutes on the clock. The angle was too wide for Haglington to add the extras.
Just 3 minutes later, the Eagles kept playing a safe but effective game, with a notably strong drive from Arnold, who offloaded to Thomas to run through and score on the right. With the dummy half having two tries to her name, just 5 minutes in. The angle proved too challenging to convert.
Halifax responded with some strong forward carries, but the Eagles worked hard in defence to keep the Panthers in their own half and force a dropped ball. Green made the most of the loose ball, kicking it through, collecting cleanly and sprinting to score under the sticks, in an impressive display of individual skill and prowess. Haglington successfully added the extras.
The following ten minutes saw some back and forth between the teams, it was clear the scorching conditions would make it a challenging 80 minute game. However, hard work from the forwards in the middle of the pitch allowed the Eagles to regain possession. With a strong dominating drive by Askew, providing space for Wood to dummy and break the line to score under the sticks for the Eagles. Green added the extras.
The Eagles continued to dominate and show their progress to become a top team this season. With some beautiful rugby from the backs, with both Green and Fisher nearly scoring, only for second row Arnold to finish the job with a strong drive, scoring to the left of the posts. Haglington converted the extras.
A moment of complacency and lack of discipline from the Eagles allowed the ever pressing Panthers to break the line with what was sure to be their first try of the game, only to be denied by Eagles' fullback, Teas, right in front of the sticks. The Eagles gathered the ball and attacked positively in the next set, with a strong run off Evans to pass to Thomas who ran almost the full pitch to score, returning the momentum back to the Eagles. Green added the extras.
The relentless Eagles continued their work, with Saunders strong forward drive, to allow space for Wood to dive for the try line, only being denied by brilliant defence on the tryline from Halifax. The Eagles continued to push, with Steven's well timed pass allowing captain Lendon to charge over the try line. Mulvey successfully converted.
A strong set from the Eagles, opened up space again, with dummy half Stevens spotting a gap in the Halifax defence and getting herself on the list of try scorers with a pick and go from dummy half. Mulvey added the extras.
The half was finished by an impressive individual effort from Wood who dummied the pass, to sprint 40m and score under the sticks. Mulvey again added the extras.
Half Time: Sheffield Eagles Women 50-0 Halifax Panthers Women
Despite the scoreline and hot conditions, Halifax came out fighting. They received the kick and, making the most of their physical forwards, the Panthers worked their way up the pitch. Moving quickly off the play the ball to catch the Eagles off guard. Having made their way close to the Eagles' tryline, the Panthers dummy-half caught the Eagles napping, diving over the tryline. The Panthers successfully added the extras.
What followed was a period of 10 minutes where both teams were fighting to gain second half dominance. Halifax yet again used their strength to work up the pitch, only to be denied on the tryline. Wood looked to swing the momentum, gathering the loose ball in front of the sticks on their fifth, running the full length of the pitch to score under the sticks. Mulvery converted the extras to get the Eagles back on track.
The Eagles looked back to their winning ways, with a strong team attacking set, which saw great team cohesion between the forwards and backs. Lendon finished the job, scoring right of the sticks. Mulvey added the extras.
Halifax, determined to get some more points against their name, continued their fast plays and strong physical runs. Working up the pitch allowing space for their dummy half to score again. The panthers successfully added the extras.
Having regained possessions following a penalty against the Eagles well into their own half, Halifax looked for more tries. The Eagles continued to work hard in defence but following a second penalty, It was too much to ask and Halifax scored another try. This was successfully converted.
With some regrouping and refocusing, the final ten minutes of the game swung back in favour of the dominant Eagles. With strong completion of sets and dominating defence, showing the fitness and endurance of the team despite the blistering conditions. The game finished with a strong attacking team set, which gave space for captain Lendon to finish the game with a try. Converted successfully by Haglington.
Full Time: Sheffield Eagles Women 68-16 Halifax Panthers Women.
Players of the match
Assistant Coach Dan’s Player - Charlotte Johnstone
Captain Pete’s Player - Simone Saunders
Manager Hannah’s Player - Chloe Askew
Opposition’s Player - Agnes Wood
Tries: Tori Thomas (2, 5, 29), Danie Green (10), Agnes Wood (22, 40, 50), Beth Arnold (27), Pete Lendon (33, 56, 77), Isobel Stevens (38)
Goals: Molly Haglington 3/5 , Danie Green 2/2, Olivia Mulvey 5/5
Helen Teas, Aiden Cottrell-Callbeck, 3 Claire Fisher, 4 Phoebe Evans, 5 Molly Haglington, Danie Green, Agnes Wood (VC), Jessica Sayles, Tori Thomas, Nell Colclough, Beth Arnold, Simone Saunders, Pete Lendon (C), Jenny Crofts, Olivia Mulvey, Isobel Stevens, Kate Fletcher, Charlotte Johnstone, Dawn Woodcock
By Chris Scullion