Rugby round-up: Tigers go clear at top, as Sheffield overcome Park

Mark Ireland of Sheffield Tigers
Mark Ireland of Sheffield Tigers
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An excellent weekend for Steel City rugby, as both Sheffield Tigers and Sheffield RUFC won their respective National League Three North matches - each side extending their unbeaten runs to four consecutive victories.

Sheffield made the long trip west and faced Birkhenhead Park. A hard fought 19-12 victory for the visitors means the Abbeydale-based side stay fourth in the table - but favourable results elsewhere helped close the gap with the play-off place to three points.

Meanwhile, in-form Sheffield Tigers hosted bottom of the table Burnage. And the result was no upset, as the Tigers weathered snow and negative temperatures to record an astonishing 64-0 landslide.

Peter Swatkins opened the scoring with a try in the eighth minute with Mark Ireland slotting away the conversion. The Tigers continued pressing the Burnage defensive line, first having a try revoked before Alex Drage scored under the posts. Ireland converted again to make the score 14-0.

Burnage made some ground with the ball but could not seem to register points.

Instead, Swatkins found the space to score twice more before the break, securing the bonus point and giving the Tigers a comfortable lead of 26-0.

Barely five minutes had passed in the second half when Swatkins scored his fourth try of the game. Ireland then converted the extra points before going on to score two tries of his own minutes later.

The Tigers kept piling on pressure until forwards Jamie Harris and Steve Walker scored tries, Ireland sealing the game with his seventh conversion.

The win, coupled with the four-try bonus point, means the Tigers extend their lead at the top of the table to ten points after only eleven games.

Richard Joel, of the Tigers, said: “On paper it always looked a comfortable win - and on snow it actually was.

“We have both the league’s best attack and defence records, and they have the worst. Burnage came to us with a big pack and intended to kick to the corners and then maul it.

“That did not work out for them. Our pack were outstanding, we outperformed them”.

Four Tigers players are among the top five point scorers in the league. Ireland tops the table with 156, Jamie Broadley and Henri Packard are in joint third place with twelve tries apiece and Peter joins them in fourth, with the four tries he scored against Burnage last weekend, taking his total to ten.

The Tigers play their next game, away to third-placed Hull RUFC, on December 5.