A spirited fightback from Sheffield Tigers couldn’t quite get them the win against Preston Grasshoppers - but they did come away from the narrow 27-26 defeat with two bonus points.
Tigers, who were boosted by the long-awaited return of Nick Pearson after three months out with injury and illness, found themselves 17-0 down before they could trouble the scorers.
Two tries from Peter Swatkins cut the half-time defecit to 20-12 and although Tigers battled back to within a point of the hosts, they couldn’t conjure up one more moment of magic to go on and win the game.
This was a very good performance, albeit after a sluggish start,” Tigers’ Nigel Dakin said.
“Tigers had gone down with all guns blazing and outscored the home side by four tries to three.
“At full time the Grasshoppers team and supporters looked a very relieved bunch.”
This weekend, Tigers travel to Bromsgrove (2.15pm).
Tigers: Ross, White, Cone (Simmons 46), Patrick (Joel 50), Barnes, Argyle, Wragg (Walker 65), Pearson, Holmes, Outram, Drage, Buchanan, Broadley, Tahraoui, Swatkins. Replacements not used: Dunn, Whitworth.
Sheffield RUFC, meanwhile, beat Wheatley Hills - and moved to within two points of their promotion rivals in the North One East table.
Mark Ireland’s kicking, both in defence and attack, proved to be the difference between the two sides as Sheffield made up for last weekend’s disappointment at Northern with a 17-13 victory.
Sheffield: Adamo, Mortimer (capt), Tomsett, Dudley, Ellis, Balshaw, Thomas, Kelly, Poste, Ireland, Hill, Tillyer, Dale, Reed, Pearson. Replacements: Bennett, T Womack, A Womack.
On Saturday, Sheffield travel to Middlesbrough.