VIDEO: Sheffield Eagles 28 Batley Bulldogs 16: Yere inspires Eagles

Menzie Yere scores one of his two tries. Photo: Sarah Washbourn
Menzie Yere scores one of his two tries. Photo: Sarah Washbourn
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Sheffield Eagles made it three consecutive Championship victories after a hard-fought 28-16 success over Batley Bulldogs.

Eagles put themselves in a winning position thanks to two tries from Menzie Yere and further scores from Dominic Brambani and Rob Worrincy, but withstood heavy second half pressure before Quentin Laulu-Togagae sealed the points with a late try to ease the tension at the Keepmoat Stadium.

The victory ensures that Eagles keep up with the early pace-setters, but Director of Rugby Mark Aston cut a frustrated figure as his side produced an error-strewn second-half with their opponents unable to capitalise.

Eagles started well and after a period of sustained pressure their persistence paid off when James Davey fed Brambani who crashed over to give Aston’s side the lead. Patch Walker comfortably added the extras.

The try kick-started the visitors into life and they surged forward with Shaun Ainscough providing the ammunition for Wayne Rettie to dive over in the corner. Scott Leatherbarrow missed the conversation giving the Eagles a slender advantage.

It didn’t take long for Aston’s side to regain their grip on proceedings when Laulu- Togagae’s inviting pass allowed the unstoppable Yere to burst over the line with Walker converting to give the Eagles a 12-4 advantage.

The see-saw pattern continued when Batley responded again with Alistair Leak barging over on 20 minutes with Leatherbarrow converting to close the gap to two points.

The game turned into a scrappy affair with both sides guilty of handling errors at crucial stages but it was the Eagles who found their composure to move further clear. Worrincy was denied a score after he was tackled in the air but the Eagles seized the initiative by switching the play with Yere again proving too hot to handle as he powered over. Brambani failed with the conversion.

Just before the break Aston’s side took a firm stranglehold of the game when Sam Smeaton’s clever pass found Worrincy who squeezed over in the corner. Kyle Briggs missed the conversion as the Eagles took a 20-10 lead into the interval.

It was a sluggish start to the second stanza from the home side as Batley regained a foothold in the game with an early score. James Brown touched down after good early pressure with Leatherbarrow converting to move Batley to within four points.

The Eagles were forced onto the back foot after Batley upped the tempo but despite a sustained period of pressure they failed to breach the Eagles’ defence.

Eagles weathered the storm and edged closer to back-to-back home victories through the boot of Walker. The visitors were penalised for stripping the ball in the tackle and Walker gratefully accepted the gift slotting between the posts to give Aston’s side a six point buffer.

Batley then buckled and in the last minute Laulu-Togagae crossed the line after a smart offload from Yere. Walker converted to add gloss to the scoreline.

Eagles: Laulu-Togagae; Turner, Yere, Smeaton, Taulapapa, Briggs, Brambani, Battye, Davey, Thorpe, Davies, Straugheir, Walker. Subs: Aston, Tonks, Worrincy, Tagaloa.

Scorers: Tries: Brambani (6), Yere (16, 32), Worrincy (39), Laulu-Togagae (80) Goals: Walker 4/4, Brambani 0/1, Briggs 0/1

Batley: Grayston; Rettie, Ainscough, Squires, Campbell, Southernwood, Leatherbarrow, Lillycrop, Leak, Rowe, Scott, Mitchell, Chandler. Subs: Hurst, Nicholson, Hesketh, Brown.

Scorers: Tries: Rettie (11), Leak (20), Brown (45) Goals: Leatherbarrow 2/3

Attendance: 1,358