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Sheffield Eagles 54
Rochdale Hornets 14
Mosborough Miners Welfare, Sunday 3rd July, 2pm

On Sunday the 3rd of July, Sheffield Eagles faced Rochdale Hornets at home, at Mosborough Miners Welfare. The Eagles were looking to prove themselves, with the Hornets being an unknown team who’d achieved mixed results so far. 

The match began with the Hornets unable to chase down Lisa Parker's strong kick off - resulting in a goal line drop out to the Eagles which was caught by Sarah Palmer. Palmer made a run towards the try line, drawing in defenders before offloading to Captain Pete Lendon who charged through and grounded the ball over the line at just one minute on the clock. Molly Haglington was set up perfectly to convert the first of what would be many tries for the Eagles. 

The return kick from the Hornets saw the Eagles gain ground with several strong drives from their forwards to push them over the halfway line. From 30m out, Lisa Parker made an impressive break, weaving around the Hornet’s defence and scoring right under the sticks - Haglington successfully kicked to add the extras. This was followed by a period of defence for the Eagles - their sustained defensive pressure saw Rochdale make an error and the Eagles regain possession. Lendon once again was able to break the defensive line, despite there seemingly being no gaps - they grounded the ball under the sticks. Again, Haglington successfully converted.

The Hornets' return kick allowed the Eagles to push over the halfway line. Completing their set, the Eagles then used their strong defensive skills to pin the Hornets in their own 30, and force a handover - hands out to the left allowed Parker to make a break for the try line, grounding the ball on the left of the sticks. Haglington converted to add the extras. 

Just five minutes later, Agnes Wood made a line break from dummy half, sprinting half the pitch only to be caught by the Hornet’s fullback. The ball was then passed through several players, each gaining more ground, until eventually space was identified on the left wing where Sophie Anderton scored. Unfortunately the angle proved too wide for Haglington to convert. Once again, the Eagles scored from Rochdale’s kick, with Parker breaking the defensive line and running half the pitch to score under the sticks, completing her hat-trick. Haglington was set up perfectly to convert and add the extras.

Credit has to go to Rochdale for not giving up, despite the Eagles impressive lead. They continued to push towards the try line, and after a period of strong defence from the Eagles, Harriet Widdup pushed through, metres from the tryline, to ground the ball on the right wing. The angle proved too wide for Murphy to convert. 

Leaving the half time score at 34 - 4 to the Eagles.

Starting the second half in full force, the Eagles received the Hornets’ kick and swiftly gained ground with strong carries from their forwards as they pushed their way into Rochdale’s half. A well timed pass from Hannah Crowe out to Charlotte Johnstone saw Johnstone charge the final ten metres to score on the right wing - with the angle proving too wide for Haglington to convert.

With both their Captain and Vice Captain now off the pitch, the Eagles started to slip up - missing their leadership figures. After sustained pressure in attack, Widdup was able to once again push through from a couple of metres out to ground the ball over the try line on the right of the sticks. Murphy was unable to convert to add the extras for Rochdale. 

Now with a player in the sin bin, the Eagles weren’t looking as strong as the start of the game. The Hornets took advantage of the Eagles’ unorganised defence and fullback, Libby Hadfield was able to run through and sprint 20m to score under the sticks. This time Murphy was set up perfectly to convert and add the extras for Rochdale. 

With a team talk from Lendon, the Eagles’ heads were back in it - they pushed hard in defence, allowing Nell Coclough to intercept a pass, gaining back possession for the Eagles. A successful break from Simone Saunders saw the Eagles push over half way, where Agnes Wood took her chance from dummy half, scooting through a gap in the defensive line and grounding the ball over the try line. Unfortunately the angle was too wide for Parker to convert. Wood quickly followed this try with another - breaking the line in the Eagles own 30 and running the length of the pitch to score right under the sticks - Haglington successfully converted to add the extras for the Eagles. 

Now in the final minutes of the game, the Hornets gained possession and pushed into the Eagles’ 30, only for the Eagles’ relentless defensive pressure to force an error, resulting in a scrum for the Eagles. The set that followed truly exemplified a team try - a strong finish to an impressive game for the Eagles. A well executed move off the scrum by Crowe and Johnstone saw Scullion gain the ball on the wing - pushing the Eagles over half way before offloading to Parker. This led to a number of strong drives from the forwards, followed by another well executed move from Crowe, passing to Lendon who pushed through to score the final try of the game and gaining themselves a hat-trick - which was successfully converted by Haglington.

Final score: Sheffield Eagles 54 - 14 Rochdale Hornets

Players of the Match 

Captain's Player - Molly Haglington 

For stepping up today and converting for the team. Scoring an incredible 7 out of 9 conversions - amazing work!

Manager's Player - Agnes Wood

A big performance, 2 tries, big breaks, smashing tackles, a great game.

Coach Dan’s Player- Claire Fisher

For having an outstanding game today, making tackle after tackle and being a key team player despite adversity. 

Coach Liam’s Player - Lisa Parker

For being dominant when defending, making big breaks on attack, scoring a hat-trick in the first half and stepping into other positions when needed. An awesome game.

Parker was also picked as Rochdale's player of the match

Sheffield Eagles

1 Ellie Tiffin, 2 Sophie Anderton, 3 Claire Fisher, 4 Chris Scullion, 5 Molly Haglington, 6 Lisa Parker, 7 Sarah Palmer (VC), 22 Nell Coclough , 9 Agnes Wood , 10 Jessica Sayles , 11 Simone Saunders , 12 Beth Arnold , 13 Pete Lendon (C), 8 Chloe Askew, 14 Charlotte Johnstone, 15 Olivia Mulvey , 16 Jenny Crofts, 19 Hannah Crowe, 25 Katie Miller

Tries: Lendon (1, 12, 78), Parker (4, 21, 29), Anderton (26), Johnstone (44), Wood (67, 74)

Conversions: Haglington 7/9, Parker 0/1

Rochdale Hornets

Libby Hadfield, Millie Harris, Chloe Mansell, Claire Sutcliffe, Emelie Byron, Harriet Widdup, Steph Hillen, Georgia Turner, Morgan Pearson, Tammy Murphy, Sam Brazier, Nina Brookes, Beth Harris, Devon Hensby.

Tries: Harriet Widdup (32, 52), Libby Hadfield (61)

Conversions: Tammy Murphy 1/3

By Chris Scullion, photo by Aaron Miller