Sheffield Eagles: Sunday service for rugby league congregation

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Sheffield Eagles are banking on an increased turnout for the Championship Shield fixtures after switching their home games to Sunday.

Eagles came in for some criticism for playing the vast majority of their home fixtures this season on Fridays.

The availability of their current venue at the Sheffield Hallam University Sports Park, Bawtry Road was the main factor behind the Friday games, but after coming to an agreement with their current landlords, director Mark Aston is delighted to see Eagles return to the family-friendly Sunday afternoon slot.

“It is massive for us to be playing on Sunday for our home games,” Aston said. “Some of the fans have shown their concern about playing on the Fridays because 8pm at Bawtry Road has been a bit difficult to get to, so hopefully this will be better.”

Eagles play the majority of their Championship Shield fixtures at home by virtue of finishing in the top half of the bottom eight. After a tough start against Halifax at The Shay this weekend, they play their first home fixture against Whitehaven on August 14, (3pm.)

After murmurings of discontent at the original Friday fixtures, Aston says the club have listened to its fan-base to ensure a return to Sunday, and has now urged the Eagles faithful to flock to Bawtry Road.

“I think our fans will all be a little disappointed that we didn’t achieve what we set out for this season,” he added.

“But we have a chance to put a few smiles on faces at the end of the season now, and hopefully the supporters will come down on Sundays, bring a few mates with them and see what we are about for the final few games of the season. There was a bloke who spoke to me recently. It was his 70th birthday and he’s been a fan for a while, those people are still around. We need to get them back regularly.”

He added: The way to do that long term is to get a facility and a stadium that will give an atmosphere.

“If we need any inspiration then we can look at what Rotherham United have done. That’s an inspiration to us.”