Sheffield Eagles 26-22 Rochdale Hornets
Sunday 10th September 2017, 15:00pm
Super 8s - Round: 6
Matty Fozard, Garry Lo, Jack Owens, Scott Wheeldon, Menzie Yere,
Jack Owens 2, Menzie Yere,
Kevin Penny, Matty Hadden, Jack Holmes,
Danny Yates 5,
GALLANT HORNETS EDGED LATE ON, BUT CHAMPIONSHIP SURVIVAL IS SECURED
Rochdale Hornets suffered an agonising loss away to Sheffield Eagles on Sunday, but despite their 26-22 defeat, results elsewhere secured their place in the Championship for next season.
It was an incredibly gutsy performance that deserved a win, as Alan Kilshaw’s men took the game to their opponents and had chances to clinch the victory late on.
Those chances went begging though, before Mezie Yere struck three minutes from time to leave Hornets devastated at the final hooter.
The 17 men that travelled to Wakefield Trinity’s Beaumont Legal Stadium were the only fit players at Kilshaw’s disposal, with fullback Miles Greenwood and winger Chris Riley on the bench, with the latter unused.
The afternoon started perfectly for the visitors, as the returning Lewis Palfrey kicked a 40/20 which led to Dec Kay sending Kevin Penny over in the corner. Danny Yates landed a brilliant touchline conversion to improve the effort on four minutes.
Six minutes later Yates took advantage of a penalty for a ball steal, to make it 8-0 from bang in front, but within two minutes the home side replied. Matty Fozard was the man who broke the Eagles’ deadlock, burrowing over from dummy half for a six pointer.
Garry Lo then helped himself to his ninth try in three games against the Hornets to give Sheffield the lead, as he released Ryan Millar down the left edge before scoring in support. There were questions about the effort as the wide man stumbled close to the dead ball line before grounding, but the officials were on the spot to award it.
As the rain began to fall, Yates levelled the scores with a second penalty goal on the half hour mark, and with no further points posted in the first period the two sides went into the break locked at 10 points a-piece.
It took just six minute for Rochdale to cross in the second half though, as a deft pass at the line from Jordan Case sent Matty Hadden over next to the sticks for a converted try.
Two minutes later a 12 point lead was opened up, as Ryan Maneely broke the defensive line, before on the next tackle Jack Holmes found his way over on the right edge, with Yates adding another impressive conversion from out wide.
Maneely took a late hit in the build up to the try, and after trying to run it off he was replaced by unlikely hooker Greenwood.
On 51 minutes Sheffield hit back, as Lee Mitchell pondered over Jack Owens’ grubber for too long before the halfback pounced under the black dot. He converted his own try to halve the deficit.
Palfrey then sparked an attack from nothing, as he chipped over the top for Penny, and with Yates in support it seemed a certain try however the pass to the halfback was behind him and ended in a knock on.
Soon after the home side levelled the scores again off the back of three penalties, as Scott Wheeldon went over untouched under the crossbar, leaving Owens a simple conversion to make it 22-22.
Greenwood’s cameo at hooker looked to have been a very successful one, as he forced his way over from dummy half, and with the referee looking certain to award it he then called held up over the line on the advice of the touch judge.
A goal-line drop-out was denied when Yates was called offside chasing a grubber, despite the kick coming from Case at dummy half.
With seven minutes remaining Yates had a chance to edge Rochdale in front, however he couldn’t keep his perfect record as he dragged a penalty goal wide.
A minute later Palfrey hit the post with a field goal attempt, before Gavin Bennion was held up over the line as the tension rose in the latter stages of the contest.
Then came Sheffield’s break, as a Yates grubber was charged down into Perry Whiteley’s path, and as he looked certain to score a breakaway try prop-forward Bennion hauled him down 30 metres short.
From the next play though the scrambling Hornets defence couldn’t prevent Yere scoring on the opposite edge, as Rochdale players hit the deck in despair.
A knock on gave the visitors a chance of a late winner, but the referee refused to call time off when the scrum was formed and as the hooter sounded Sheffield hung on for victory.
That didn’t mute the outstanding away support though, as they belted out chants of ‘we are staying up’ in recognition of a performance they were immensely proud of.
Sheffield Eagles: Ryan Millar, Garry Lo, Menzie Yere, Perry Whiteley, Paddy Flynn, Jack Owens, Elliot Minchella, Scott Wheeldon, Matty Fozard, Matt James, Liam Johnson, Duane Straugheir, George Milton. Subs: Liam Cooper, Kyle Trout, Jonah Cunningham, Sam Scott
Tries: Fozard (12), Lo (17), Owens (51), Wheeldon (58), Yere (77)
Goals: Owens 3/5
Rochdale Hornets: Dec Kay, Jack Holmes, Jake Eccleston, Lewis Galbraith, Kevin Penny, Lewis Palfrey, Danny Yates, Jo Taira, Ryan Maneely, Lewis Hatton, Josh Crowley, Lee Mitchell, Jordan Case. Subs: Chris Riley, Gavin Bennion, Matty Hadden, Miles Greenwood
Tries: Penny (4), Hadden (47), Holmes (49)
Goals: Yates 5/6
Rochdale Hornets man of the match: Danny Yates led his team around the park brilliantly and was a threat every time he ran with the ball at the Sheffield defence. His conversions from out wide were crucial too, however he was unlucky not to add a late penalty goals as the conditions go the better of him.