It’s been a tough fortnight for Sheffield Tigers.
A double-header against the top two teams in National 2 North ended in defeat - the last one a 29-19 home loss to second in the table Caldy - but now a different double-header challenge looms.
The pressure remains only this time fourth-from-bottom Tigers face teams from their end of the table, starting with Saturday’s trip to Kendal.
Just six points separate the two sides - Tigers have 24 points from 13 and Kendal 18 from 13. A week later, the Dore Moor club host Leicester Lions.
Tigers’ defeat against Caldy was their fourth on the trot but Otley, Huddersfield and Loughborough Students all have far more experience. Tigers fought back well in the last quarter and were only denied a losing bonus point by strong defending.
The home side conceded a converted try in the first minute but they regrouped and levelled in the 13th minute. Tigers broke swiftly down the left and prop Mark Chivers was on hand to pick up and score. Jonny West added the extras.
Four minutes later Caldy used a set piece move to carve a huge hole in the home defence and add seven more points. Tigers weathered the storm and put points on the board courtesy of a moment of brilliance from Man of the Match Jon Buchanan five minutes before the break. He powered between two defenders, handed off a third tackler and linked with fellow centre Tom Outram whose well timed pass gave full-back Peter Swatkins the space to race in for an unconverted try.
Unfortunately they were again undone three minutes later when West’s attempted clearance kick was charged down and they scored an unconverted try to take a 19-12 lead.
Within minutes of the restart Caldy bagged another seven points which brought about a double change for Tigers with Ali Thomson coming on for Matt Gidlow at hooker and Jimmy Pearson replacing West at stand-off.
Shortly after Ali Thomson sprinted in from 20 metres to score a fine try, Alex Graham converted and Tigers were within a score of Caldy with 24 minutes left to play. The visitors suddenly were reduced to 13 men after two yellow-card offences. But it was Caldy who had the final say with a 40 metre penalty which robbed Tigers of a losing bonus point.
Team: Chivers, Gidlow (Thomson), Burke-Flynn, Cook, Joel, MacKenzie, Pearson N, Hayter, Drage, West (Pearson J), Broadley, Buchanan, Outram, Graham, Swatkins.