OVER the years Sheffield Eagles have played at a variety of venues but tomorrow night’s home game at a private school in Derbyshire is the most unusual.
The game against Dewsbury Rams is being staged at Mount St Mary’s College, Spinkhill, kick-off 7.30pm.
It’s been taken there because both Bramall Lane and Don Valley Stadium pitches are being re-seeded and no other venue in South Yorkshire is available.
It started a row between the clubs that’s rumbled on all season. Dewsbury refused to reverse the fixture – they lost 36-12 at home to the Eagles in April – and insisted on playing this weekend.
Eagles didn’t want to go to Wakefield Wildcats ground and Spinkhill may be in another county but it has a Sheffield postcode and it’s less than 10 miles from the city centre.
Eagles’ coach Mark Aston has tried to move the emphasis off the venue and on to a game where a win could take the team into third place in the Championship.
“It’s a piece of grass and we don’t look at home or away it’s about playing rugby,” he said. “Dewsbury wouldn’t reverse the fixtures and we want to play as close to Sheffield as possible – it’s a home game.
“Mount St Mary’s is a good big pitch; it’s a game we need to win to get back-to-back victories but it won’t be easy. We know Dewsbury will be dogged and aggressive but we need to play and express ourselves.”
The Eagles bounced back to form in style with a 13-try romp as they crushed Hunslet Hawks 70-12 at Bramall Lane to end a run of two league defeats.
After an untidy opening 40 minutes when strong forward play kept them ticking over the Eagles produced a try blitz in the second half.
Misi Taulapapa started his first game at fullback and scored a try with fellow Samoan international Quentin Laulu-Togagae scoring two to make it nine in six games.
Eagles trained at Mount St Mary’s last night to get a ‘feel’ of the pitch. For supporters it will be very different to Sheffield United’s 32,000-seater stadium. Set in a bowl with steep grass banking on two sides there’s bench seats for about 400. The floodlights are good but there’s no covered accommodation – so bring an umbrella!
To encourage fans to make the trip to Spinkhill admission prices have been cut to £10 adults and £5 concessions and juniors. Aston said: “It’s not ideal but the fans will be close to the action.’’