Rugby League: Keighley Cougars 8 Sheffield Eagles 52 - Eagles book 1895 Cup third round date
Sheffield Eagles advanced into the third round of the 1895 Cup following a 52-8 victory over an under-strength Halifax at Keighley’s Cougar Park.
Mark Aston’s side ended their mini-run of defeats with a comfortable victory against a Fax outfit which included none of the players who starred in their Challenge Cup quarter-final success against Bradford last Sunday.
The Eagles themselves opted to make changes for the contest with the likes of Shaun Pick, Paddy Burns, Greg Burns, Sonny Esslemont and the returning Lewis Taylor all getting some game time as Aston’s side advanced into the next round.
Aston was keen to return to winning ways ahead of a huge Championship encounter with Featherstone on Sunday, and with Halifax making wholesale changes, a safe passage looked on the cards during the early minutes.
With just five minutes on the watch Jason Crookes, starting a game for the first time since a shoulder injury sustained in March, crashed over from close range, but Pat Walker missed the extras.
Four minutes later Paddy Burns wriggled his way over the whitewash on the last, and this time Walker added the two.
Anthony Thackeray touched down in the corner for a converted try on 15 minutes as the Eagles opened up an early advantage.
Josh Gudzek also bagged a try in the corner as Aston’s side streaked clear before the 20 minute mark, but Calvin Barker’s try for the hosts temporarily halted the Eagles’ progress.
The visitors quickly regained control, running the ball on the last as Ben Blackmore was next across the line in the corner, but Walker missed a tough conversion.
There was more joy before the break as Taylor, returning from a loan stint at Coventry, bagged his first try for the club, converted by Walker.
Fax stemmed the points flow at the start of the second-half, but Aaron Brown jinked his way over for a converted try just before the hour.
Reece Chapman-Smith replied with a try for the hosts, but the Eagles hit the accelerator in the final 10 minutes.
Converted tries from Ryan Millar and Blackmore edged the Eagles close to the 50 point mark, and with three minutes remaining Crookes touched down to add the gloss.
Halifax: Chapman-Smith; Jones, McGrath, Barker, Smillie; White, Stroud; Calcott, Billingham, Curtis Davies; Syme, Waite; Connor Davies. Interchange: R. Davies, Hall, Windley, H. Davies.
Scorers: Tries: Barker (24), Chapman-Smith (63) Goals: White 0/2
Eagles: Guzdek; Millar, Brown, Crookes, Blackmore; Walker, Thackeray; Pick, Davey, Broadbent; Esslemont, Davies; P. Burns. Interchange: G. Burns, Taylor, Makelim, Farrell.
Scorers: Tries: Crookes (5, 77), P. Burns (9), Thackeray (15), Guzdek (19), Blackmore (36, 72), Taylor (38), Brown (59), Millar (69) Goals: Walker 6/10