Sheffield Eagles 32-28 Swinton Lions

The Sheffield Eagles progressed to the 5th round of the Challenge Cup even though they trailed for large periods against Swinton.

Cory Aston scored a late eight-point try as he was fouled in the act of scoring, Dave Hewitt’s two successful conversions which followed proved to be the difference. Swinton had raced into a 0-18 lead in as many minutes with tries from Stuart Littler, Macauley Hallett and Mike Morrison.

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Straugheir pushing for the line

 

Tries from Duane Straugheir and Menzie Yere before the interval closed the gap. Ben Blackmore grabbed a second half brace before being sin-binned for fighting. Straugheir also scored a second before Aston’s late try pulled the Eagles level and gave them the chance to win the game.

The game was Mark Aston’s 500th in charge of the Sheffield Eagles and he gave appearances to Ryan Millar and Jack Blagbrough for the first time this season. Hewitt returned after missing the game with Whitehaven last weekend. Rhys Jacks and George Tyson missed out with Blackmore moving to centre.

John Duffy made several changes to his side as Liam Hyde came in at full-back with Chris Atkin moving to scrum-half in place of Matty Beharrell who missed out. Vila Halafihi and Liam Marshall dropped out whilst Greg Scott and Stephen Nash returned.

Sheffield continued their trend of starting games slowly and Swinton wasted no time punishing them. Quick hands out wide found Littler who fended off the Sheffield defenders and broke from thirty metres and raced to the line to open the scoring.

The visitors doubled their lead just minutes down the opposite flank this time. Centre Hallett was the scorer as he fought through incoming Eagles defenders and managed to plant the ball down in the corner. Morrison would follow this up to extend the Lions’ lead further QLT failed to knock the ball out of the in-goal area and the prop-forward pounced on the loose ball.

However Straugheir managed to power his way over from close range for Sheffield on the back of a repeat set to get the Eagles on the board. The hosts continued to close the gap when Yere collected the ball on the left hand side before powering over the top of Littler putting Sheffield within eight points of Swinton going into the break.

The sides exchanged tries in the early stages of a back and forth second half. Hallett was first to cross as he shrugged off two Eagles defenders near the line however it was soon cancelled out by opposition number Blackmore who took advantage of a looping pass from Aston.

QLT was the provider for the next Eagles try as his offload found Straugheir who crashed over for his second of the game again from close range. Swinton soon regained their six-point lead though as Hallett picked up QLT’s play-the-ball before anyone took the role of hooker this allowed the centre to go through for his hat-trick under the sticks. With twelve minutes remaining the Eagles got themselves back in touching distance when Blackmore scored his second out wide.

The comeback was complete with eight minutes left on the clock as a high bomb wasn’t fielded by Swinton, Hewitt reacted quickest before offloading to fellow half-back Aston who scored to tie the game. However the Eagles were awarded an eight-point try as Aston was fouled in the act of scoring which meant Hewitt had two kicks. He converted the original one before also slotting home an extra two from in front of the posts to give the home side a four-point lead.

In the closing minutes the game boiled over and Sheffield centre and try-scorer was sent to the bin for punching but the Eagles saw out the final moments with twelve men.

Sheffield Eagles: QLT, Millar, Yere, Blackmore, Worrincy; Hewitt, Aston; Thorpe, Carlile, Stringer, Knowles, Straugheir, Minchella.

Interchanges: Fozard, Mexico, Neal, Blagbrough.

Swinton Lions: Hyde, Robinson, Littler, Hallett, Scott; White, Atkin; Morrison, Nicholson, Hand, Dwyer, Lloyd, Thornley.

Interchanges: Lever, Austin, Barlow, Nash.

Referee: T. Grant. Touch Judges: J. Jones & M. Mannifield. Attendance: 410.

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