Sheffield Eagles failed to ignite in their inaugural evening fixture at the Olympic Legacy Park after a disappointing defeat to Dewsbury Rams.
In the first of back-to-back Friday night home fixtures, the Eagles came up short in a game littered with mistakes as the Rams leapfrogged Mark Aston’s side in the Championship standings.
Leading at the interval, the Eagles failed to press home their advantage with Aston’s side still waiting to officially confirm their Championship survival.
The dead-rubber proved to be a slow burner, with very little to report from a scratchy opening by both teams. Josh Toole, once again a torch bearer for Aston’s side, was held up just short on two minutes in the only significant action of the opening quarter.
The evening livened up when Iliess Macani was sin-binned for swinging out in the tackle, and Dewsbury took advantage with an Adam Ryder try, converted by Paul Sykes.
The set-back kicked the Eagles into life with the hosts hitting the front with two tries before the break. Toole again came to the fore when he powered over from close range for an unconverted score, and just before the break the returning Macani ran through several tackles to score, with Oscar Thomas converting.
Dewsbury re-grouped at the interval and caught Aston’s side cold at the start of the second-half with back-to-back tries. First, Ryder made an incisive break before handing onto Brad Delaney for an easy run-in, then three minutes later ex-Eagle Daniel Igbinedion crossed with both tries converted by Sykes.
Inside the final 20 minutes, the Eagles put the Dewsbury line under pressure forcing back-to-back dropouts, but the visitors held firm as Thomas’ wild pass escaped the clutches of Menzie Yere.
The pressure eventually bore fruit as a sublime reverse grubber kick from Simon Brown on the last was grounded by Thomas, who converted his own score.
With the Eagles in the ascendancy they let the momentum slip as Robbie Ward burrowed over from dummy half, and Sykes added the extras to all but seal it for the Rams.
Delaney’s second converted score added gloss, but the last word went to Macani who grounded in the corner.
Eagles: Thomas; Macani, Yere, Toole, Blackmore; Brown, Aston; Offerdahl, Fozard, Pick; Bentley, James; P. Burns. Interchange: G. Burns, Broadbent, Davies, Magrin.
Scorers: Tries: Toole (30), Macani (36, 80), Thomas (69) Goals: Thomas 2/4
Dewsbury: Guzdek; Worrincy, Glover, Ryder, Morton; Sykes, Delaney; Sheriffe, Ward, Trout; Walshaw, Knowles; Brown. Interchange: Speakman, Richardson, Teanby, Igbinedion.
Scorers: Tries: Ryder (24), Delaney (44, 78), Igbinedion (47), Ward (73) Goals: Sykes 5/5