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Match Report | Sheffield Eagles Women's Red 36-6 Stanningley


By Barry Wood


Sheffield Eagles Women's Red side secured back-to-back league victories on Sunday afternoon with a 36-6 over Stanningley in the Women's North Championship staged at Dearne Valley Bulldogs. 

Having lost three times last season against this opposition, and finishing 5th behind their 4th in the table too, there had to be expectations that this was going to be a tough game but not impossible, given the convincing win the previous week.

After repelling the opening pressure from Stanningley from the kick off, the Eagles powered 60m from a scrum on their own 20m to a last tackle 20m out on their left. A short side pass then went to Palmer who conjured an accurate chip kick into space in the in-goal area for Green to chase and dive on in the 4th minute 15m left of the posts, catching the Stanningley fullback off guard,. Conversion missed, score 4-0.

A ball steal with the stealer ending up in touch brought a scrum on halfway to the Eagles, but the last tackle kick ended up in the arms of the opposition.  However the Eagles then pinned Stanningley into their own 30m area, Stanningley’s last tackle kick only reaching the half-way line. The Eagles returned play to within 5m of the try line. The fifth play spun the ball out left and nearly brought a try on the wing, only for it to be denied for a forward pass.  However the intent was right.

Again from the scrum the Eagles restricted Stanningley to just 25m of ground, the last tackle kick reaching fullback Judd, who retrieved the ball under pressure on the Eagles 30m.  The set returned the ball back to Stanningley on their 15m, only for the Eagles to pile on more defensive pressure forcing a last tackle kick from behind the Stanningley 20m line.  The kick however was strong travelling 47m up field, but the chase wasn’t, with Eagles fullback Judd stepping and swerving a route all the way back to just short of the Stanningley 20m line.  Much promise of a score, but alas urgency got the better of process at a play the ball 3m out, and the chance was lost.  Stanningley then replied with a strong set back to half way, only to fluff their lines with a wayward last tackle pass for the kick, ending up being tackled on the sixth and handing the ball over 32m out from their own line.

Again play was brought close to the Stanningley try line 4m out on the right.  This time urgency and process were as one with the irrepressible Wood, despite international duty the day before, shooting across to the play the ball, picking up and forcing a way over all in one motion on the short side in the 17th minute 7m in from touch. Conversion missed, score 8-0.

From a deep kick restart the Eagles got within 5m of the Stanningley try line on the last with calls to exploit the spaces on the left and right but not around the ruck. Yet the ball went to a forward which killed the chance, the play being held up over the line on the last.  Urgency and composure perhaps at odds this time.

The sides traded possessions but the Eagles knocked-on enabling Stanningley to at last find themselves 20m out from the Eagles try line. However the last tackle kick went dead.  From the 20m tap restart two plays reached 42m, then Parker drew two defenders to put a pass out right to loose forward Brennan who ran a superb line outside the defending centre to sprint from half way, sidestepping the full back on the way to the try line by the right post in the 27th minute. An easier conversion for Green, score of 14-0.

Again from the kick off the Eagles went deep into Stanningley territory, finally ending up 5m out and 5m in from the left touchline on the last tackle. Not a bad place to hand the ball over.   High contact from the Eagles surrendered land and another set, only for Stanningley to mis-handle out right on the last.

Five plays took the Eagles from the scrum on their own 20m to 10m out on the last.  A superb overhead pass from Green could have resulted in a try, but the winger had eyes for the defence and not the ball, resulting in the all too common knock-on when that happens.   Stanningley returned serve with a long last tackle kick back to the Eagles 20m line, only it for it to be swiftly cancelled out with two return plays from the Eagles that advanced 40m back before an injury stoppage.  A minutes rest, a drive up the centre to a tackle within 25m, followed by a carry by Parker that yet again interested two defending backs.  The passing went through three more draw and passes into the hands of Clarke, who rounded the defence on the far right, smartly cutting back behind the switched off cover to place the ball down behind the posts in the 36th minute. Conversion successful, score 20-0.

From a deep kick-off the Eagles returned the ball strongly, surrendering it on the last 12m out for time to run out on the next Stanningley set.

Half-time: Sheffield Eagles Women Red 20-0 Stanningley Women

Unlike the case last week half-time did not provide a change in the nature of the game.  In Stanningley’s case, it sparked an improvement in performance.  For the Eagles it sparked a determination not to permit the standards and concentration drop that has happened in previous weeks.

Accordingly from the kick off, four plays from the Eagles brought the ball to the middle 35m out.  Shape and off-the-ball running opened a gap for Brennan to dummy a way through, followed by a hand-off, outpacing the defence to fend away the full back and offload into the hands of the supporting Swann 10m out on the right, Swann diving in to score on the 41st minute 10m in from the corner post.  A difficult conversion was put over by Thomas to lift the margin to 26-0.

From the kick-off the Eagles proceeded deep into Stanningley territory for a move out left to seemingly be rewarded with a try by Thomas, only for the short but accurate floor kick under pressure from left centre Fisher into the path of Thomas to be interpreted as a knock-on, the action being on the blindside of the referee’s view.  Oh well – it was fine intelligent play nonetheless.

Wood made a break that nearly brought another try but was pulled down just short, the offload going astray.  After that the Eagles lost a bit of momentum and as usually happens the other side gained a bit of ascendancy for a while. In the 58th minute Stanningley made that pay with a cross field kick into the in-goal area on their right, their scrum-half being the first to ball. Conversion successful by their no.3  for 26-6.

Oh heck, not a comeback surely.  Well it might have been when in the 68th minute the Stannington right winger slipped the cover on their 30m line to race away for what seemed to be a certain try. Then out of nowhere Eagles fullback Judd appeared in full chase to make the tackle 20m from the Eagles line.  A bit of offside bought a penalty and time for the rest of the Eagles to get back to the defensive line.  A subsequent scrum was conceded too for a pass knock down, but Stanningley were unable to take advantage surrendering possession on a fringe play with a bad pass.

The Eagles wasted no time in replying, quickly  driving back up past half way.  A shift left, a draw and pass from Saunders, and the ball was in the hands of Judd, who raced up the left touchline outpacing the cover to score in the 70th minute 10m in from the flag. Green successful with the conversion for 32-6.

The kick-off found its way into the hands of Eagles fullback Judd on their 20m line. Seconds later and the ball was now 32m from the Stanningley line on tackle one.  Two more plays and some offloads took play to within 5m on the left.  A short side pass went into the hands of Saunders, who carried over the defenders to score in the 75th minute 10m in from the left corner flag, putting the game to bed.  Conversion unsuccessful for the final score of 36-6.

Shortly afterwards, Thomas nearly got over the line again for the Eagles but lost it in the tackle, only for it to be chalked off for a final pass that was deemed forward anyway.  A tackle set each brought the game to a close and jubilation for the Eagles team and fans.

Full-time: Sheffield Eagles Women 36-6 Stanningley Women


Eagles Tries: Green, Wood, Brennan, Clarke, Swann, Judd, Saunders

Goals: Green (3/8), Thomas (1/1)


In conclusion continuing progress was on display with self-confidence rising, definitely built on last week’s performance.   The go-forward was consistently powerful as much as the defence was again resolute.   At last the team are beginning to realise the benefits of using that go-forward to set the platform to exploit the edges.  An absolute joy to watch.

The captain’s player of the match award went to Sian Judd, and the coaches’ award to Hailey Swann.