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Wheelchair RL: Eagles make historic debut against Rochdale


Rochdale Hornets 42
Sheffield Eagles 8
1.30pm, Saturday 6th November 2021, Rochdale Leisure Centre

Shaun Orton wrote himself into the Sheffield Eagles history books as he became the first ever try scorer for the club’s Wheelchair Rugby League team just two minutes into their first game, pouncing on Adam Hughes’ kick to the corner in a move which caught the hosts napping.  

Orton was unable to convert and the Eagles were unable to capitalise on the strong start and record a victory over Rochdale Hornets in the same way that the club’s senior men’s team did in their debut game back in 1984.

Sophie Bamford broke away on the wing for the Hornets to bring the scores level, with Michael Hart missing the kick.

In a period of strong defence by both sides, Josh Hart barged through the Eagles defence in the centre of the pitch to score a try but failed his conversion attempt.

The game turned with the introduction of Jordan Holt and Kyran Holt, showing their experience in the game, with Jordan scoring two solos efforts in the final ten minutes of the half, converting one and Kyran Holt converting the second, but Rochdale were made to work by the uncompromising defensive efforts of Charlotte Davis-Browne and Vicky Brooks.

After the break the Hornets stung in rapid succession, with Jordan Holt and then Kyran Holt crossing with the latter adding both conversions.

The Eagles rallied their defensive effort as they adjusted to the pace of a competitive and putting the defensive patterns they have trained for into practice.

Adam Hughes was unable reach David Butler’s early kick through the line before it went dead and Shaun Orton was also denied a try with a last second tackle as the Eagles gained confidence but were again punished as Kyran Holt jinked through to push the Hornets further ahead.

The Eagles got their reward as they probed the Hornets left edge, with the ball going through all five pairs of hands with Vicky Brooks perfectly timed pass sending Shaun Barker clear to score, although he was unable to add the extras.

In the dying seconds Kyran Holt added his fourth try but missed the conversion attempt shortly before the hooter.

“Today was about celebrating the achievements of the club to be able to play its first game and the sole objective was to enjoy ourselves and not worry about the scoreboard,” explained David Butler who co-ordinated the Eagles team on the day.

“We’ve learned so much from this first outing and to see how well all the players did, bearing in mind that some of them had never touched a rugby ball four months ago is an amazing achievement.

"It’s a huge milestone to get the first game played and we’ll only continue to improve as we play more.”

Rochdale Hornets

Elliot Scanlon-Wells, Sophie Bamford, Josh Hart, Michael Hart, Debbie Johnson- .

Interchanges: Jordan Holt, Kyran Holt, Cath Bamford

Tries: Sophie Bamford (6), Josh Hart (20), Jordan Holt (27, 35, 44), Kyran Holt (48, 67, 79)

Goals: Michael Hart 0/1, Josh Hart 0/1, Jordan Holt 2/2, Kyran Holt 3/4

Sheffield Eagles

Will Brooks, Shaun Orton, Adam Hughes, Helen McKenna, Charlotte Davis-Browne.

Interchanges: Vicky Brooks, Shaun Barker, Stacey Roulson, Laijla Butler, David Butler

Tries: Shaun Orton (2), Shaun Barker (76)

Goals: Shaun Orton 0/1, Shaun Barker 0/1

Referees: Kim Abel & Grant