Sheffield Tigers closed out the old year in impressive style with a five-try festive blitz.
Bring in the New Year is the call from the Dore Moor camp after a stylish 35-10 victory over Yorkshire rivals Hull showed that Tigers are now ready to really make their presence felt in National 2 North.
It took the Sheffield side just two minutes to breach the visitors defence when Alex Drage took a quick tap penalty, linked with winger Jamie Broadley whose off-load to Peter Swatkins enabled the full back to score near the right corner. Jonny West started his 100 per cent afternoon of successful kicks with the conversion.
Within 12 minutes Tigers had doubled their tally when the outstanding Biffo Pearson regained the ball and from there a strong run by Broadley, a drive by second row Sam Cook and a lovely step by centre Tom Outram created space for hooker Ali Thomson to power over for a great team try. Again West added the extras.
Hull came back strongly and Thomson was yellow carded for lifting in the tackle but Tigers held firm only to lose the influential gregor Hayter with a knee injury. This enabled skipper Andy Barnes to return for his first home match after a lengthy spell out through injury. It was then the visitors turn to be reduced to 14 men and Tigers made them pay courtesy of Broadley’s converted try on the stroke of half time. A show of ‘vintage’ Barnes saw him burst through tackles and speed towards the posts but his attempted off load went to ground. It wasn’t adjudged a knock-on by the referee and Jon Buchanan kicked on and won the race to touch down. West converted for 28-0 and five league points with 20 minutes left to play. Hull finally got on the scoreboard 10 minutes later with an unconverted try and shortly after, followed up with another. There was still time for replacement Jimmy Pearson, on for Broadley, to show his skill as he drifted between two defenders and his pass found Alex Graham who then released Swatkins and he raced down the touch line to score from 50 metres. West converted for some well-earned pre-Christmas cheer.
Team: Bunting, Thomson, Ross (Cone), Cook, Joel, Smyth (Price), Pearson N, Hayter (c), (Barnes), Drage, West, Broadley (Pearson J), Buchanan, Outram, Graham, Swatkins. Replacements not used: Wragg. Man of the Match: Jonny West – excellent game control, ball distribution and kicking.
Tigers resume against Harrogate at Dore Moor on January 7 (2pm kick-off)..