Rochdale Hornets 16 Sheffield Eagles 52: An Easter extravaganza for Aston’s men
Sheffield Eagles made it back-to-back wins over the Easter period after a 52-16 victory over basement club Rochdale Hornets.
Returning dual-registration ace Ben Hellewell bagged a brace of tries as Mark Aston’s side recorded a comfortable victory, with the Eagles backing up their sensational success against Toulouse on Good Friday, with another victory at Spotland.
The Eagles continue to defy the odds by maintaining third position in the Betfred Championship, after racking up 50 plus points for the second time this season.
Aston freshened up his side with the inclusion of Hellwell, whilst James Davey and Brad Knowles were also restored after they missed out against Toulouse as a precaution.
Whilst it turned into a comfortable afternoon for the Eagles, it certainly didn’t begin that way as the hosts enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges. Carl Forster’s try, converted by Dan Abram, had the Hornets in front, but the Eagles were quick to respond.
The home side knocked on from Pat Walker’s restart, eventually leading to a try for Hellewell, but Walker couldn’t convert.
Aston’s side initially struggled to stamp their authority on the game, but just before the half-hour mark a flowing move was finished by James Glover, and Walker converted.
That was almost the beginning of the end of Rochdale’s resistance as Ben Blackmore sprinted clear five minutes before the break for a third try, again converted by Walker.
Walker himself was over for a converted try before the break, as Aston’s side took full command of proceedings.
The match was virtually sealed 10 minutes into the second-half, when after having a try disallowed, the Eagles were over again shortly after with Blackmore showing his man a clean pair of heels for his second converted score.
Not to be outdone, Hellewell matched Blackmore with his second try just four minutes later, again converted, as the visitors threatened to run riot.
On 64 minutes the Eagles eased past 40 points as Aaron Brown made the hard yards for Glover to cross for his second try, with Walker adding the extras.
Brandon Wood hit back with converted try for the hosts, but the Eagles were in again soon after. Converted tries from Pat Moran and Sonny Esslemont added the gloss, with Ben Moores having the last word with a try on the hooter for the hosts.
Eagles: Gudzek; Millar, Glover, Hellewell, Blackmore; Walker, Thackeray; Moran, G. Burns, Knowles; Davies, Farrell; Brown. Interchanges: Davey, Broadbent, Esslemont, James.
Scorers: Tries: Hellewell (15, 60), Glover (29, 64), Blackmore (35, 56), Walker (39), Moran (72), Esslemont (74) Goals: Walker 8/9
Rochdale: Kay; Johnson, Morris, Gillam, Wood; Moores, Abram; Mitchell, Moore, Cottingham; Weldon, L. Johnson; Forster. Interchange: Carberry, Tala, Wood, Millington.
Scorers: Tries: Forster (13), Wood (70), Moores (80) Goals: Abram 2/3