Full-time: Sheffield Eagles 10 Batley Bulldogs 24
It is now five straight defeats for Sheffield Eagles after going down to Batley Bulldogs at a soggy Sheffield Hallam University Sports Park.
Despite a much improved showing from Mark Aston’s struggling outfit, high-flying Batley just had the edge in a tight contest which saw the visitors register their fifth win on the bounce.
With Eagles chairman Ian Swire confirming in his programme notes that he will be leaving the club at the end of the campaign, the Eagles were looking to give their supporters a much needed fillip as they face an uncertain future.
And they got off to a good start by soaking up the early Batley pressure before grabbing the first try against the run of play. Quentin Laulu-Togagae was found by Keal Carlile before the full-back scrambled over the line, with Cory Aston slotting the conversion.
With the visitors in the ascendancy they eventually breached the home side’s resistance when Keegan Hirst barged his way over the whitewash, and former Eagle Pat Walker converted.
The visitors edged ahead when John Kear’s side opted to take the two points on offer through Walker, after the Eagles conceded a penalty in front of the sticks.
The Eagles were then dealt a hammer blow just before the break when Walker’s bomb was spilled by Laulu-Togagae, and Greg Minikin was on hand to gather for a simple try which Walker converted.
With the next score likely to be crucial the Eagles dragged themselves back into the game.
A moment of magic from George Tyson saw the former Oldham man pierce the Batley line, before surging over the whitewash for a brilliant individual score. Aston missed the extras.
Batley came storming back with an excellent try of their own. After choosing to run the ball on the last they switched the play to the right through ex-Eagle Dominic Brambani and Minikin creating the overlap for Wayne Reitte to dive over in the corner. Walker missed the conversion.
The Eagles refused to lie down and came agonisingly close to reducing the deficit after a jinking run from Laulu-Togagae saw him go close to the line, but when reaching for the all important score he lost the ball under pressure.
A Joe Chandler try sealed the game late on for the Bulldogs, with the home fans leaving to digest the news that the Eagles are now seeking new investment as they look secure their future.
Eagles: Laulu-Togagae, Worrincy, Yere, Blackmore, Millar; Aston, Jacks; Thorpe, Carlile, Neal; James, Straugheir; Knowles. Interchange: Fozard, Wheeldon, Tyson, Mexico.
Batley: Scott, Reitte, Minikin, Ulugia, Brown; Southerwood, Brambani; Hirst, Davey, Gledhill; Chandler, Bretherton; Blake. Interchange: Day, Walker, Lillycrop, Brown.