Battling Bullodogs unable to break down Sheffield’s wall of steel

Scott Leatherbarrow
Scott Leatherbarrow
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Gritty defending earned Sheffield a nail-biting win over Batley that keeps them in third place in the league.

The Bulldogs dominated the second half but couldn’t wipe out a 10-point deficit and conceded late points that flattered the Eagles.

The damage was done in the first 40 minutes as Sheffield showed their attacking flair in scoring four tries.

The Eagles forced two early dropouts before James Davey provided the pass from dummy half for Dominic Brambani to go over. Batley also capitalised on a dropout with Scott Leatherbarrow and Shaun Ainscough sending in Wayne Reitte near the corner.

The reply was swift with Menzie Yere going in wide out on the left with Walker kicking both the Eagles goals.

Former Eagles’ prop Alex Rowe – who put in some storming runs – was held on the line but Alistair Leak went low from dummy half and Leatherbarrow added the goal.

Yere stretched Sheffield’s lead finishing a cross-field move and in the final minute Rob Worrincy’s first try since rejoining the club gave a 20-10 lead.

Batley turned up the pressure from the restart with Cain Southernwood held up over the line before James Brown was first to a loose ball. Leatherbarrow added the goal to cut the margin to four points.

At times it seemed Batley must score but somehow the Eagles defensive line held and with four minutes to go a Walker penalty eased the pressure. In the final seconds Quentin Laulu-Togagae swapped passes with Yere before crossing and Walker added the goal.

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

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

Referee: Chris Kendall.

Attendance: 1,358.