The Eagles suffered their first defeat of 2016 on Sunday as Batley Bulldogs defeated Mark Aston’s men 20-8 at the Fox’s Biscuits Stadium.
The Eagles came out of the blocks well and they got the first try of the match through Menzie Yere. The Papua New Guinea international got over the try-line by touching down a Dave Hewitt grubber. Michael Knowles couldn’t convert. In reply, Batley got a try of their own ten minutes later as ex-Eagle Dom Brambani worked his way through a hole in the opposing defence. The ensuing conversion was good and the Bulldogs were in front. But they couldn’t keep hold of that lead as Sheffield debutant Garry Lo grabbed a try in similar fashion to his countryman. Another grubber was kicked to the corner and Lo benefitted with four points. Knowles was unsuccessful with his touchline conversion as the half-time score read 8-6 to the visitors.
However, the second half deservedly belonged to the Bulldogs. With James Brown and Alex Rowe causing havoc in midfield, Batley made their way downfield with ease and Eagles’ indiscipline also proved to be a help. Confusion in the Sheffield ranks led to the first try of the second half. On the last tackle, while in his own half, Cory Aston was dragged backwards and was forced to turnover in a dangerous position. Batley, and Brambani, were the beneficiaries as the scrum-half crossed the whitewash for a second time. Later on in the half, Alistair Leak extended Batley’s advantage with a try that came about with three Eagles defenders on his back. Once again the conversion was good from Walker and the Bulldogs’ lead stretched out to ten points. Then frustration set in for the Eagles as they were penalised with ball in hand for mouthing to the official. The penalty goal was successful and that proved to be the final scoring act of the afternoon. A disappointing day for the Eagles while Batley showcased the strength they possess on home turf.
Prediction – Sheffield by 10
Result – Batley by 12