Rugby League: Eagles hang on for tough win

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Sheffield Eagles strengthened their grip on top spot in the Championship with a 14-8 win at challengers Batley Bulldogs.

Eagles made it 13 straight wins with a strong controlled performance in difficult conditions. They defended well and on the back of forcing Batley into errors took vital try-scoring chances.

The Eagles took a first half lead and never relaxed their grip on the game in a tense low-scoring game. Playing up the Batley slope and in torrential rain the Eagles made a great start with Michael Knowles touching down after Garth Potts misjudged a high kick by Dominic Brambani.

A string of penalties gave Batley possession but they struggled to make an impact until John Davis’s pass put Ben Black in. Gareth More added the goal.

Eagles went back in the lead when Potts lost the ball in a one-on-one tackle with Patch Walker who touched down under the posts. Brambani added the goal.

Duane Straugheir had a try ruled out as the Eagles kept up the pressure in difficult conditions to hold a 10-6 lead at half-time. Eagles kept up the pressure after the restart forcing Batley into errors and on the back of three straight sets Straugheir forced his way over to extend the lead.

Batley desperately needed a score but continued to struggle against strong Eagles defending with hooker George Flanagan was held up under the posts when they did threaten.

The rain finally stopped and with 13 minutes to go Batley opted to kick a penalty with Moore’s goal narrowing the gap to six points.

Walker was wide with a drop goal attempt and the Eagles kept calm an held on for the win with Batley taking a losing bonus point.