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Wheelchair Trophy Final Report


Gravesend Dynamite 88 – 8 Sheffield Eagles
Sunday 20th August, 10.30am KO, English Institute Of Sport
Betfred Challenge Trophy Final 

It wasn’t the result that anyone wanted, but everything else about the Eagles Wheelchair team’s first Final appearance in just their second full season went to plan, with a bumper and enthusiastic crowd at home, a determined performance and a showcase of all that is good about Sheffield Eagles in front of the OurLeague and BBC Cameras at the EIS Sheffield.
Things looked ominous for Sheffield when Michael Grant crashed over for the Dynamite in the first minute, with Jason Owen converting but a clever kick off saw Chris Haynes make it all the way into the in goal area before being held up. The Eagles pushed and in the next set it was Haynes who took David Butler’s short ball to go in to the right of the post, although Stephen Reilly couldn’t convert.
Dynamite replied with Max Owen going under the sticks and his father Jason Owen going in at the corner, with Jason kicking the extras. Euan Huckle finished a left to right move in the corner to evade the Eagles, who were punished with a penalty for double-tagging, Jason Owen unable to add the conversion. Max Owen was next in as the Dynamite scythed through the Eagles, demonstrating their experience in their 5th consecutive final, with Jason Owen adding the easy kick from in front before Huckle went in on the left edge.
Joe Wink-Simmonds’ pass at the line to Chris Haynes was ruled forward 25 minutes into the game, which would have capped a solid patch of attack and defence for the Red & Golds with Reilly making some last ditch tackles and youngster Will Brooks showing everyone how he’d earned his space in the team at just 13 years old.
A sustained period of Eagles pressure saw them concede only two tries in a 23 minute period, both scored by Max Owen, with Jason Owen converting both, with the home side showing some Sheffield steel and giving the fans plenty to shout about as the half time hooter sounded at 44-4.
Huckle completed his hat-trick after the restart, flying down the right wing to score under the sticks, an easy kick again for Jason Owen who shortly afterwards carved his way through the middle of the pitch to touch down under the sticks to set up another easy shot on goal. Max Owen switched on the afterburners to add to the Eagles misery to jink his way through, another kick for Jason. Huckle took the short pass from Max Owen to add to his tally, with Jason Owen on target again to stretch the lead further. Jason Owen cut through the middle of the field on the hour mark and adding his own conversion.
The Eagles seemed to lift as errors crept in for Gravesend, Butler’s pass to hard for Will Brooks to take in space which would have led to a certain try and Joe Wink-Simmonds being caught short of the line in a valiant attempt to add a further score. Butler was also tackled short, but in the following tackle, he came around the play-the-ball with Vicky Brooks holding firm to create space for Butler to dummy and go in for the Eagles second try. Vicky Brooks was unable to improve with the kick.
Back to back penalties gave Gravesend field position to allow Nicole Benjamin to add her name to the scoresheet, with Jason Owen adding the extras before a chip over the top by Jason Owen saw a further try added to his tally. Harry Pursey couldn’t convert and neither could Michael Grant who attempted to convert Max Owen’s final try at the hooter.
Gravesend Dynamite: Jason Owen, Max Owen, Michael Grant, Euan Huckle, Tony White. Interchanges: Harry Pursey, Nicole Benjamin

Tries: Michael Grant (1), Max Owen (6, 15, 27, 39, 53,79), Jason Owen (8, 48, 61), Euan Huckle (13, 17, 43, 57), Nicole Banjamin (74)
Goals: Jason Owen 12/14, Harry Pursey 0/1, Michael Grant 0/1
Sheffield Eagles: Chris Haynes, David Butler, Stephen Reilly, April Brooks, Will Brooks. Interchanges: Joe Wink-Simmonds, Ben Simpson, Vicky Brooks, Lottie Davis-Browne, Jack Johnson

Tries: Chris Haynes (4), David Butler (70)
Goals: Stephen Reilly 0/1, Vicky Brooks 0/1
Referees: Matt Ball / Becky Whiteley