Eagles at Keepmoat in Cup semi-final cracker

Michael Knowles heads for the line to score
Michael Knowles heads for the line to score
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A South Yorkshire team is guaranteed a place in the Northern Rail Cup final with Doncaster drawn against Sheffield Eagles in the semi-final yesterday.

“I’m happy with that – it’s a great draw for South Yorkshire,” said Eagles’ coach Mark Aston.

“You always want to be at home but it means a great game for the fans.”

The Eagles will go into the tie as favourites as Championship leaders and unbeaten in 12 games in all competitions.

Aston added: “It’ll be tough. Doncaster are a good team and playing well. They were good at Swinton in the last round and beat Featherstone in the league recently.

“It’s at the Keepmoat, not far to travel, so it’s like a home game. It’s another challenge for us and it’s important because one team from South Yorkshire will be in the final, which is great.”

Doncaster booked their place in the semi-finals with a 36-16 win at Swinton Lions.

The Dons made the final in 2008 before losing to Salford. The Eagles were in the semis last season before going out to the eventual winners Halifax.

It is the first time the Eagles have been drawn away in this season’s competition.

In the other semi-final Leigh Centurions will be at home to Batley Bulldogs.

One semi-final will be selected for live broadcast on satellite channel Premier Sport on Thursday June 27 with the other semi-final to be played over the weekend of June 29-30.

Aston says his team was “dragged” to the 26-16 quarter-final win over Dewsbury by strong performances from a few individuals.

Try scorers Michael Knowles (with two) and Peter Green plus substitute hooker James Davey and Duane Straugheir had big games.

“They stood up and hit the mark. They were at the races and said: ‘We’ll do this’. That’s the testimony to the spirit in the team.

“Some people had an off day and they know that and will be beating themselves up about that and will be ready for the next challenge.”

He added: “I have put the lads on warning that they need to get themselves sorted out and prepared. We have to be consistent – this time we just had enough to get through.

“We played a lot of the (Dewsbury) game in the wrong area of the field and were under a lot of pressure, that drains you but we still had enough in the tank, enough fitness, which is a credit to the backroom staff.”