Doncaster RLFC 28 Sheffield Eagles 32: Eagles one step from Wembley after derby cup win
Sheffield Eagles are just 80 minutes away from a return visit to Wembley Stadium after beating Doncaster 32-28 in their 1895 Cup quarter-final at Featherstone.
A last minute converted try by Anthony Thackeray dashed brave Doncaster’s hopes in a thrilling tie.
Doncaster drew first blood after electing to run an early penalty when loose-forward Jordie Hedges floated out a long pass to winger Sam Doherty who cross unopposed out wide.
Scrum-half Matty Beharrell added the extras to make it 6-0.
Eagles drew level on ten minutes when Ryan Millar latched on to a close-range grubber-kick by scrum-half Thackeray to touch down near enough for Patrick Walker to convert.
Playing down the slope, Eagles continued to boss the exchanges with Thackeray putting prop Rory Dixon over from close range. Walker again tagged on the conversion to give his side a 12-6 lead after 15 minutes.
There was a let-off for Eagles on 20 minutes as Beharrell dropped the ball just short of the line.
The Dons suffered a blow when losing full-back Jordan Howden with what looked to be a rib injury.
His replacement Jez Litten, one of four forwards on the bench, raced over from acting half-back with his first touch of the ball.
Beharrell again hit the target to level the scores in what was proving to be an entertaining contest.
Former Eagles hooker Kyle Kesik was held just short following some good build-up play.
But for a try-saving tackle by full-back Josh Guzdek teenage winger Kieran Lawton would have celebrated his competitive debut with a try in the corner after Danny Washbrook had put him clear.
Doherty was held just short on the other flank after the Dons had turned defence into attack through Jason Tali’s strong run.
Beharrell converted two penalties to give his side a well- deserved 16-12 interval lead.
Helped by a string of penalties, Eagles made the early running and Millar went close following some good handling along the line.
Litten, who had his best game this season in a Doncaster shirt, raced in from 25 metres out during the home side’s first raid of the half on 54 minutes. Beharrell’s conversion opened up a 22-12 lead.
Beharrell then converted his own close-range try on the hour.
Beharrell was short with a penalty prior to Eagles cutting the deficit to two converted tries hit back with a 67th minute try by Millar.
Guzdek and Jason Crooks scored quickly-taken tries as Eagles continued to run hot and looked likely winners at that stage and so it proved after the Dons had bombed a stoppage-time chance.
Dons: Howden, Doherty, Bower, Tali, Lawton, Washbrook, Beharrell, Nzoungou, Kesik, Spiers, Hodgson, Lane, Hedges. Subs: Boyle, Scott, Bastas, Litten.
Eagles: Guzdek, Millar, Ogden, Crookes, Blackmore, Walker, Thackeray; Dixon, Makelim, Pick, Esslemont, Farrell, Burns, Subs: Brown, Davies, Thornton, Broadbent.