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Stylish Sheffield continue Batley woes


Sheffield Eagles provided a perfect second half performance to batter Batley Bulldogs 6-49 at the Fox’s Biscuits Stadium.

Anthony Thackeray marked his 100th Eagles appearance with a hat-trick as well as a drop goal, while Ross Oakes and Ben Jones-Bishop notched doubles.

Bayley Liu broke the deadlock in the early going. Switched from centre to second-row for this game, that didn’t matter one iota as he broke through the Bulldogs line from five metres out and couldn’t be stopped. Cory Aston converted.

A spanner in the works came courtesy of a yellow card for Vila Halafihi as he tipped Martyn Reilly over the horizontal. With a numerical advantage, Batley registered what would be their only try of the contest through James Meadows. Dale Morton levelled matters with the subsequent goal.

Oakes grabbed his first of the night, running a fine line to cross from a QLT pass. Aston couldn’t convert but did kick a penalty goal later in the half, putting Sheffield six points to the good - a very good result considering they were attacking up the infamous Mount Pleasant slope in the first 40.

Half-time - Batley Bulldogs 6-12 Sheffield Eagles

Two interception tries for the Eagles knocked the stuffing out of the hosts good and proper. First, Ben Jones-Bishop was on the end of an errant Bulldogs pass but still had work to do to get past the onrushing Josh Hodson. The Batley centre couldn’t stop Sheffield’s Rolls Royce, despite his best efforts. Aston added the extras.

Then, Mr Thackeray put his marker on the game. Josh Woods’ pass was read perfectly by Sheffield’s captain, who ran to the travelling Eagles fans down the slope with pure delight. Aston, once again, with the dos.

Jones-Bishop completed his brace courtesy of fine work from interchange hooker Jack Hansen. Having a scoot from dummy-half, Hansen got past the challenge of Dane Manning untouched before picking up his own failed grubber - Batley were at sixes and sevens and Jones-Bishop was on hand to support the former Swinton playmaker. Aston tagged on the extras for a remarkable score of 6-30.

Thackeray scored his second of the game with assistance from Mikey Wood. The big prop forward managed to get a hand free in the tackle and, of course, the scrum-half was on the shoulder to finish the move. Aston converted for his final points of the game, as Hansen would take over kicking duties from here on.

Oakes was next to complete his brace from a lovely scrum play, the centre running back on an angle to get past a couple of Batley defenders from 30m out. Hansen goaled for 6-42.

Thackeray would end the rout with a drop goal and a last minute try, scored directly from a kickoff as he kicked in behind the Batley defence for Jones-Bishop before being the one to take in the winger’s pass. Hansen converted. Remarkable scenes in West Yorkshire.

Full-time - Batley Bulldogs 6-49 Sheffield Eagles