Rochdale Hornets 18-42 Sheffield Eagles
Friday 14th April 2017, 15:00pm
Championship - Round: 10
Josh Crowley, Samir Tahraoui, Lewis Gailbraith,
Lewis Palfrey 3,
Garry Lo 3, Elliot Minchella, Greg Burns, Jake Spedding, Duane Straughier,
Simon Brown 7,
EAGLES SOAR AGAINST HORNETS
By Sean Hayes
Rochdale Hornets’ winless run continued as they were well beaten by Sheffield Eagles on Good Friday in their first Easter fixture of the weekend, going down 42-18 at the Crown Oil Arena.
It was a frustrating afternoon as a poor first half left Alan Kilshaw’s men with too much to do, and their lack of execution at crucial periods led to a host of chances going begging.
It’s a fifth straight defeat for the Hornets and a sixth game without a win, as their last victory came away to Featherstone Rovers back in March.
Lewis Palfrey returned from a concussion as Josh Crowley was also back in the starting line-up, with Taylor Prell making his debut on dual-registration.
Injuries have caused the Hornets to call on their partner club Warrington Wolves for troops of late, and they won’t be helped by the loss of Gavin Bennion during the defeat to the Eagles as he left the field concussed.
The afternoon started on a positive as Crowley pounced on Danny Yates’ grubber to open the scoring just three minutes in, with Palfrey adding the extras with the boot.
An instant reply came through Garry Lo, as he exposed Rochdale from dummy half far too easily to cross for a soft try.
Lo then broke down the left edge from the next set with Elliot Minchella racing over in support as they opened up a six point lead.
Rob Massam was on a four game scoring streak, and he went close soon after when Gary Middlehurst fired a blind side pass to him from behind the play-the-ball, however the wide man coughed up possession in his attempt to find the try line.
Prell had a chance pulled back for offside and Jack Johnson’s forward pass halted a Rochdale attack in a good position, before Gregory Burns scored another dummy half try to punish the hosts.
There was a glimmer of hope when Palfrey’s cut-out ball sent Samir Tahraoui over under the black dot, but they couldn’t use the momentum as a late collapse saw them head into the sheds 18 points behind.
The first of two tries in five minutes saw Lo add his second, as Menzie Yere came up with the assist in his 250th appearance for Sheffield.
Jake Spedding’s breakaway try on the right edge rounded off the half as he managed to cross the whitewash despite the best efforts of the retreating Johnson, and with 40 minutes left to play the hosts had it all to do.
Lo was looking for his hat-trick and almost had it early in the second half, but Massam produced an incredible try saver as he had the try line in sight.
It just delayed the inevitable though as a stroke of luck ended in Duane Straugheir crossing from a deflected kick, moments before Bennion left the field following a head knock.
Massam twice went close but he was held up short before knocking on a Yates bomb, but it was the introduction of Lewis Galbraith which gave their attack a well needed boost.
He chimed into the line to burst through the defence before he stepped past the fullback to touch down and give the hosts hope.
They killed their chances with poor execution and terrible handling though, as any chance of a fightback came to nothing.
Brown added a penalty goal with 15 minutes on the clock before Lo completed his hat-trick with another dummy half score with the final play of the game.
The Hornets only saving grace is that the next game is just three days away as they travel to local rivals Swinton Lions looking for a much needed win.