Match report: Doncaster 10 Sheffield Eagles 32

Tom Armstrong tries to get past two Dons defenders. Picture: Dean Atkins.
Tom Armstrong tries to get past two Dons defenders. Picture: Dean Atkins.
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The Eagles soared past Doncaster into the Northern Rail Cup final with a record-breaking 14th successive win.

Head coach Mark Aston had no cause to worry about the pitch at the Dons’ makeshift Athletics Stadium home as his side ran out comfortable 32-10 winners.

After a cagey opening, Sheffield surged into the lead to take the game out of sight, before enduring a determined Dons fightback.

Now they have the opportunity to make a remarkable campaign with silverware when they meet Leigh in the final at Halifax on July 20.

The difference in class was clear at key moments between this season’s Championship juggernaut and a Dons side battling at the wrong end.

The Eagles were the first to settle and opened the scoring on six minutes through Joe Hirst, Dominic Brambani adding the first of four conversions.

Doncaster levelled quickly with Paul Cooke showing superb vision to find Stewart Sanderson who surged over.

But the edge Sheffield possessed began to show midway through the half and they started to find the gaps in the Doncaster defence.

Menzie Yere cut inside to find a gap on 25 minutes.

The Eagles were in the ascendancy and had built a healthy lead by the 33rd minute. Smart work from a pair of penalties brought tries for Misi Taulapapa and Armstrong to give Sheffield a commanding half time lead.

It took the first ten minutes after the break for the Eagles to put the contest out of Doncaster’s reach. First, Taulapapa scored a superb try, collecting and kicking in the blink of an eye out on the wing before touching down.

And three minutes later, Yere grabbed his 27th try of the season, side-stepping past Lee Waterman to score under the posts.

To their credit, the Dons rallied and competed well in the final 25 minutes.

Waterman squeezed over for a try on 61 minutes with Sanderson converting.

But although they threatened for a good ten minute spell afterwards, there was simply no gaps in the Sheffield defence.

Worryingly for the Dons, they lost talisman Paul Cooke to a serious-looking injury. But it was all smiles for the victorious Eagles.

*Dons: Butterfield, Kaye, Cowling, Waterman, Sanderson, Cooke, Fawcett, Carbutt, Emmett, Castle, Kelly, Spurr, Trout. Subs: Hughes, Waller, Spiers, Edwards.

*Eagles: Togagae, Turner, Yere, Armstrong, Taulapapa, Walker, Brambani, Green, Henderson, Stringer, Knowles, Straughier, Hirst. Subs: Davey, Szostak, Garside, Higgins.