Holmes stars after Tigers honour Joel

Tigers Ryan Holmes puts in and impressive performance on his home starting debut vs Otley
Tigers Ryan Holmes puts in and impressive performance on his home starting debut vs Otley

It began with paying tribute to a man who had played a prominent role in Sheffield Tigers history and ended with a glimpse of the future.

Tigers and Otley lined up for a minute’s silence before kick-off in memory of former president John Joel who had been a club member for over 50 years.

He would doubtless have been proud to see youth being given a chance in the shape of Ryan Holmes - son of the legendary Dave - who made his mark with a good performance at scrum half on his home debut as Tigers celebrated a 24-19 victory over their National 2 North Yorkshire rivals.

They took the lead after nine minutes when Jamie Broadley entered the line at outside centre to make the extra man and give the scoring pass to fellow winger Peter Swatkins. Jonny West added the conversion.

Otley replied with a penalty but Tigers put another five points on the board near the half hour when skipper Andy Barnes took good lineout ball and the pack did the rest with second rower Sam Cook scoring after a five metre drive.

Two minutes later a poor clearance kick landed in Broadley’s hands on the halfway line and he beat two defenders with ease as he touched down for a converted try and a healthy 19-3 half-time lead.

Otley bagged two penalties early in the second half to close the gap to 10 points and three minutes later they added an unconverted try. Worse was to follow as the visitors grabbed another to level the scores up at 19-all.

To their credit Tigers stemmed the tide and 15 minutes from time a Barnes drive resulted in Swatkins going over for the match-clinching try.

The win enabled them to go above Stockport to ninth and on Saturday they travel to another Yorkshire side, Huddersfield who have fallen from second to fifth after three consecutive defeats.

Tigers: Chivers, Thomson, Ross, Cook (Smyth), Joel, MacKenzie, Pearson N, Barnes(C), Holmes, West, Swatkins, Buchanan, Pearson J (Wallace), Broadley, Feeley. Replacements not used: Cone, Whitworth, Hayter. Men of the match: Andy Barnes and Ryan Holmes.