Sheffield up to fifth with win over high fliers

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Sheffield moved up to the heady heights of fifth in North 1 East with a well deserved 16-9 win over high flying Middlesbrough.

The visitors arrived at Abbeydale in second place, just below leaders Billingham but they left with just a losing bonus point to their name as Andy Kelly’s men cast aside their previous week’s disappointing defeat at Percy Park.

Sheffield, who had Simon Tillyer making his debut in the centre while James Montgomery was ruled out with a foot injury, were tied at 3-3 at half time, the trustry boot of Donal Collins putting them ahead after 11 minutes.

Middlesbrough turned up the pressure and in the 27 minute Tommy Marples was sin-binned for playing the ball illegally on the ground and the visitors levelled it up.

Defences continued to dominate after the break but Sheffield carved out two penalty opportunities and Collins duly did the business in the 48 and 53 minutes.

Middlesbrough reduced the gap to three points three minutes later but then came the ‘magic moment’ that Sheffield had been waiting for.

John Dudley made a very competent touch kick and skipper Kelly stole the resultant lineout.

Sheffield drove on up field, pushing Middlesbrough back some 30 metres before their defence went walkabout allowing flanker Martin Balshaw (pictured) to emerge through the melee and score beneath the posts for a converted try.

Unfortunately the try scorer saw yellow on 70 minutes and the visitors reduced the gap with another penalty. Thankfully Sheffield’s 14 men remained strong and they bagged the points.

Team: Joe Cribley, Ewan Reed, Simon Tillyer, Dave McCabe, Alex Hill, Donal Collins, Matt Poste, Tommy Marples, Carl Mortimer, Chris Machen, John Dudley, Dave Ellis, Laurence Thomas, Martin Balshaw, Andy Kelly (capt). Replacements: Ramzey Adamo, Tom White, Tom King.

Sheffield should add to their points tally on Saturday when they travel to face bottom of the table Team Northumbria, who have just six points and one win to their name.