Sheffield Eagles director of rugby Mark Aston celebrated his 500th game at the helm in fine style as son Cory’s late try earned them a place in the Challenge Cup fifth round with a 32-28 win over Swinton Lions.
Eagles trailed 18-0 in the first quarter but gradually got themselves back in the match before Aston’s try with eight minutes remaining- gave thm the lead for the first time.
The visitors were quick out of the blocks and Stuart Littler darted over before Macauley Hallett finished off a flowing move to extend their lead.
Eagles were struggling to find their rhythm and Quentin Laulu Togagae made a hash of Rhodri Lloyd’s grubber kick on the last and Mike Morrison pounced on the loose ball for the visitors third try.
The home side finally grabbed a foothol when Aston’s timely offload saw Duane Straugheir successfully duck under a high tackle to touch down smartly.
The Lions half-time lead was cut to eight when Laulu Togagae’s assist saw Menzie Yere bulldoze his way to the line.
Swinton started the second half in a positive vein and Hallett powered to the line for a second time but the Eagles fought back almost immediately when Aston’s pass was popped up into the air by Laulu-Togagae into the grateful hands of Ben Blackmore, who forced his way over.
The game was back in the balance when Yere made something out of nothing to release Laulu-Togagae, who spilled the ball, but the referee adjudged it did not go forward and Straugheir pounced for a second time.
Laulu-Togagae’s error saw Hallett dart under the posts for his hat-trick score as the Lions led by eight.
However, Blackmore’s second try of the afternoon from Aston’s pass set up a tense finale.
Eagles scored the decisive try in the final stages when Swinton made a hash of a bomb on the last and Hewitt’s offload saw Aston ghost to the line with Hewitt adding a conversion and penalty score, the last awarded for a late tackle on Aston in the act of scoring.
Blackmore was sent to the bin in the dying minutes following a fracas involving both sets of players but the Eagles held on for victory.
Eagles: Laulu-Togagae, Millar, Yere, Blackmore, Worrincy, Aston, Hewitt, Thorpe, Carlile, Stringer, Knowles, Straugheir; Minchella. Interchange: Fozard, Mexico, Neal, Blagbrough
Scorers: Tries: Straugheir (25, 55), Yere (32), Blackmore (46, 68), Aston (72) Goals: Knowles 1/2, Hewitt 3/5
Swinton: Hyde, Robinson, Littler, Hallett, Scott, White, Atkin, Morrison, Nicholson, Hand, Dwyer, Lloyd, Thornley. Interchange: Lever, Austin, Barlow, Nash.
Scorers: Tries: Littler (7), Hallett (14, 42, 61), Morrison (18) Goals: Atkin 4/5
Referee: Tom Grant