Halifax 18 Sheffield Eagles 20: Eagles maintain top five hopes with narrow win
Sheffield Eagles maintained slim hopes of a top five finish after a narrow 20-18 victory at Halifax.
With no margin for error in their Championship run-in, the Eagles survived a late fightback from the hosts to hold on to victory, and extend their winning run to three games. The Eagles were unchanged after recently defeating Widnes, as they looked to maintain their recent momentum ahead of their Wembley showdown in the 1895 Cup final.
It wasn’t the perfect start in West Yorkshire as the hosts opened their account on 11 minutes. Good work from Simon Grix and Steve Tyrer in the build up eventually resulted in a converted try for Shaun Robinson. On 18 minutes the Eagles were in the game after some smart work from Greg Burns created room for Oliver Davies to crash over after a short pass, Pat Walker converted. Greg Burns was heavily involved in the second try as the Eagles took the lead. After making the initial break he was backed up by brother Paddy Burns who crossed the whitewash, and Walker converted. The Eagles took a firm grip on the game six minutes before the break. Aaron Brown collected a short pass before burrowing under the sticks, and Walker obliged with a simple conversion.
The Eagles held a 12-point lead at the break and it could have been more if Grix hadn’t made a try saving tackle on Ryan Millar as he went for the corner.
Mark Aston’s side weathered some pressure before extending their lead on 54 minutes as Walker slotted a penalty for a 14-point advantage.
Keegan Hirst was then denied for the hosts just after the hour mark as the visitors looked to manage their advantage.
With 17 minutes remaining, the hosts closed the gap to set up a grandstand finish. The hard yards were made by Jason Saltanstall before a sublime offload to Grix who crossed, and Tyrer nailed the extras.
The hosts sensed an opportunity and with just eight minutes remaining they were within two points. Tyrer produced an impressive dummy after taking Ben Johnston’s looping pass to cross, before converting his own score.
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The Eagles held out though despite late pressure to produce their third straight win in all competitions.
Halifax: Grix; Robinson, Tyrer, Saltonstall, McGrath; Murrell, Woodburn-Hall; Hirst, Moore, Fairbank; Cooper, Barber; Larroyer. Interchange: Johnston, Fleming, Davies, Kavanagh
Scorers: Tries: Robinson (11), Grix (63), Tyrer (72) Goals: Tyrer 3/3
Eagles: Guzdek; Millar, Yere, Ogden, Blackmore; Walker, Thackeray; Pick, G. Burns, Knowles; Davies, Farrell; Brown. Interchange: Makelim, Dixon, P. Burns, Broadbent.
Scorers: Tries: Davies (18), P. Burns (23) Brown (34) Goals: Walker 4/4
Referee: Gareth Hewer