Eagles Women mark OLP return with victory
After three away games Sheffield Eagles Women made it a home fixture at last at the OLP against Warrington Lunas in a League Cup clash.
A Lunas error from kickoff gifted possession to the Eagles 30m out. A spread left from the scrum almost made it into the corner. Two plays later and Green forced her way over at the right post, converting her own try for a 6-0 lead.
The next 17 minutes proved a scrappy affair with both sides guilty of unforced errors until finally the Lunas managed to put some passes together and sent their left winger up field to the Eagles 25m. A cross-field kick on the sixth bounced unkindly in the in-goal area and Lunas scrum-half Jones pounced to score on their right about 20m in from touch, converted by Melvin for 6-6.
At the restart the Lunas took possession from a handover on their 10m and in five plays moved up field to the Eagles 20m. Another cross field kick this time from centre-field to the left produced a favourable bounce that popped up straight into the hands of the chasing Lunas winger Smith, who scored about 10m in from touch in the 23rd minute. Conversion just missed for 6-10.
This time after the restart the Eagles upped their game in defence and attack. Ten minutes on and a strong drive down field brought them to within 5m of the Lunas try line. A cut back across the back of the ruck, a hit and spin and a long reach out and Auger touched down just to the left of the posts, Green converting for 12-10.
Half-time: Sheffield Eagles Women 12 – 10 Warrington Lunas
What a difference half time makes. A minute in and Auger put in yet another one of her trademark strong side stepping runs, this time going from the Eagles 40m to the Lunas 10m. Two plays later and Parker foxed the defence with a dummied switch play enabling her to drift through the defence unopposed and score at the left of the posts. Green converted for 18-10.
A bit of indifferent play then followed with each side having to show desperation on their left edges to keep the winger out. However in the 50th minute the ball was brought in-field to Parker who again fooled the defence with another dummy, carrying over defenders to score 20m in from the right touchline. Green converted for 24-10.
Straight from the restart the Eagles attacked with yet another 40m sidestepping run from Auger which reached 15m out from the Lunas try line. Two passes to the left off the ruck and Green carried the defenders over to score 20m in from the left touchline in the 53rd minute, again converting her own try for a 30-10 lead.
The next 12 minutes went set for set until Lunas 13 Melvin sent a last tackle kick down the right side which bounced awkwardly into the Eagles in-goal area. Some inexperienced play handed the ball straight into the arms of the Lunas full back Nixon 20m out, who duly crossed under the posts, Melvin again converting for 30-16.
Not to be outdone the Eagles made their way back up field within four minutes to reach 2m out on the right. A scoot from the play-the-ball and with that left foot side step again, Wood ghosted in unopposed close to the right of the posts, Green converting for 36-16.
The Eagles then fluffed receipt of the restart kick inviting the Lunas to attack. After first attacking down their right edge then back left, Lunas caught the Eagles ruck defence leaden footed with an inside-out switch play back to the ruck area for Lunas prop Richardson to crash over 20m in from the touchline in the 74th minute, Melvin again converting for 36-22.
However this time it was the turn of the Lunas to knock-on the restart kick inviting the Eagles to attack. And in the 76th minute on play 2 off the scrum substitute prop Colclough barged over to the right of the posts for a rare try in, Green converting for 42-22 seemingly to wrap up the game.
But not quite. Just for consistency the Eagles mishandled the restart kick again. However this time they managed to repel the Lunas attacks, eventually making their way into the Lunas half by the end of the game.
Full-time: Sheffield Eagles Women 42 – 22 Warrington Lunas
Tries:- Green (2), Auger, Parker (2), Wood, Colclough Goals: Green (7 conversions)
A good win to take the Eagles into the next round. Woman of the Match for the Eagles as chosen by Mark Aston went to stand-off Lisa Parker.
Mention must also go to Danie Green with another points haul of 22. Her reliable kicking of conversions each week ensures the scoreboard ticks along in sixes, which proved vital in this game because the all-round kicking game of the Lunas 13 Charlotte Melvin was a persistent threat throughout.
By Barry Wood, photo by Jake Borrill