Match report: Dewsbury Rams 18 Sheffield Eagles 30

Cory Aston, left, makes a good tackle during Eagles win at Dewsbury.
Cory Aston, left, makes a good tackle during Eagles win at Dewsbury.

Three first half tries set the platform for Sheffield Eagles to beat Dewsbury Rams 30-18 and keep their grip on top spot in the Championship.

It preserves a three-point advantage over Featherstone with the title likely to be decided when Eagles travel to Rovers in 10 days time.

The first half showed the Eagles ability to score exciting tries but the final 40 minutes was lacklustre with Dewsbury allowed back into the game.

The Eagles finished with 12 men after coach Mark Aston showed his displeasure at some sloppy play by pulling off centre Menzie Yere even though all the substitutions had been used.

“I was making a statement,” said Aston. “We got the win and were ticking off the games but we have to keep the standards high.

“The game was slow and messy; we have to play with tempo. The first half we were dominant and we were in control but we drifted away.”

Hooker Andrew Henderson was ruled out with a knee injury with Aston’s son Cory brought in and scoring his fourth try in three senior games. Eagles have beaten the Rams four times in league and cup competitions and started strongly. On the back of a scrum Quentin Laulu-Togagae’s pass sent centre Yere through a gap for his 39th try of the season.

Play switched from end to end before hooker James Davey’s side step and break opened the way for loose forward Joe Hirst to finish.

Eagles edged further ahead with Dominic Brambani under pressure putting in a chip kick and substitute hooker Peter Green winning the race to touch down. Brambani converted the tries.

On the half-time a penalty kicked by Kieran Hyde cut the Eagles lead to 18-2.

Eagles were on the back foot after the restart but broke out approaching 60 minutes with Laulu-Togagea dodging round two tacklers before going wide and sending winger Vinny Finigan, who was on loan at the Rams earlier in the season, in for the try.

Dewsbury came back with winger James Craven going in at the corner before Aston and Hirst exchanged snappy passes with the teenage half-back finishing. Brambani brought his goal total to five from five attempts. In the final four minutes Rams ran in two tries from winger Gregg Scott and centre Karl Pryce. Hyde kicked the goals to earn a bonus point.

*Dewsbury: Morton; Craven, Pryce, Beckett, Scott; Brown, Hyde; Nash, Bentley, Hepworth, Hale, Watkinson, Tonks. Subs: Tebb, Aizue, Gallagher, Lillycrop.

*Tries: Craven 63, Scott 76, Pryce 79.

*Goals: Hyde 3/ 4.

*Eagles: Laulu-Togagae; Finigan, Yere, Armstrong, Taulapapa; Walker, Brambani; Battye, Davey, Stringer, Knowles, Szostak, Hirst. Subs: Aston,

Roche, Green, Higgins.

*Tries: Yere 3, Hirst 21, Green 34, Finigan 54, Aston 71.

*Goals: Brambani 5/5.

*Referee: Peter Brooke.

*Penalties: 5-4.

*Attendance: 662.