Sheffield Eagles 44 Batley 16: Bulldogs thumped as Eagles make it four wins from four in Championship
Sheffield Eagles maintained their 100 per cent start to the season after a 44-16 victory over Batley Bulldogs.
Despite a sluggish opening quarter, Mark Aston’s side moved through the gears during a fiery encounter to move level on points at the summit with Toronto who play Dewsbury on Sunday.
Aston’s Eagles showed their class in the second-half, eventually overpowering their opponents as Batley’s indiscipline proved to be their downfall.
With a host of former Bulldogs coming up against their former club for the first time, the opening exchanges produced some spicy moments as the visitors showed plenty of positive intent.
They took the lead when Sam Wood dived over in the corner, and shortly after a Dave Scott penalty gave the Bulldogs a six-point lead.
Aston called on his side to show cool heads in the build up to the game, but moments of indiscipline littered the opening quarter, with Joel Farrell not far from a confrontation.
A scrap on the floor eventually saw Dane Manning and the Eagles’ Brad Knowles sent to the bin, and two minutes later an unconverted Jack Downs try extended Batley’s advantage.
The Eagles eventually found some composure and following a spell of pressure, James Glover crashed through the Batley line to score, and Pat Walker converted. The try suddenly spurred the home side into life, and just before the break they hit the front. Anthony Thackeray’s purposeful break, and clever show-and-go, saw the ex-Featherstone ace cross the whitewash, and Walker converted.
The Eagles picked up the momentum again at the start of the second half, and extended their lead with the try of the match. After several purposeful breaks, Ben Blackmore’s kick from wide resulted in Blake Broadbent going over in front of the sticks, and Walker converted.
Farrell then burrowed over for another converted score, before being crudely taken out by Manning’s high challenge which resulted in another stint in the bin.
The Eagles took advantage of the extra man with Oliver Davies’ converted try, followed by Blackmore’s unconverted score as the hosts pulled well clear going into the final 15 minutes.
It was long before Blackmore crossed again in the corner, before a consolation Sam Smeaton try. The last word though went to Paddy Burns who bagged a converted try at the death.
Eagles: Guzdek; Millar, Glover, Crookes, Blackmore; Walker, Thackeray; Knowles, Davey, James; Farrell, Davies; Brown. Interchange: Makelim, Broadbent, Esslemont, P. Burns.
Scorers: Tries: Glover (32), Thackeray (39), Broadbent (47), Farrell (52), Davies (56), Blackmore (64, 68), P. Burns (80) Goals: Walker 6/8
Batley: Scott; Reittie, Wood, Smeaton, Galbraith; Jouffret, Brambani; Gledhill, Leak, Lillycrop; Downs, Manning; Brearley. Interchange: Hemingway, Brown, Everett, Ward.
Scorers: Tries: Wood (3), Downs (20), Smeaton (78) Goals: Scott 2/4
Referee: Nick Bennett