Swinton Lions 30 Sheffield Eagles 32: Returning Ben Blacknore in sudden impact as Eagles make it back-to-back Shield wins

Ben Blackmore scored two ries for Eagles. Picture: Andrew Roe
Ben Blackmore scored two ries for Eagles. Picture: Andrew Roe

Sheffield Eagles survived a late scare to make it back-to-back victories with a 30-32 success at relegation-threatened Swinton Lions.

Eagles were forced to sweat out the final few minutes after Ben White’s late try brought the hosts within two points, but Mark Aston’s side held out to record their second victory of their Championship Shield campaign.

The returning Ben Blackmore made an instant impact with two tries for the visitors, who recorded their fourth victory from four contests over the Lions this season.

As well as including Blackmore in his side, director of rugby Aston opted to keep Jack Owens in the halves alongside Elliot Minchella, with Remy Marginet missing out through injury.

Swinton, desperate for a result in their fight for survival, struck first when Ilias Bergal touched down on debut, with Chris Hankinson converting.

In response, Blackmore immediately made his presence felt when he took advantage of a pin-point pass from Minchella to score, but Owens missed the extras.

After Swinton fluffed their lines twice from close range, they paid a price when Paddy Flynn forced a mistake, and Minchella gobbled up the loose ball to score. Owens pushed the conversion wide.

Flynn was involved again soon after when he grasped a clever pass from Blackmore before side-stepping Jack Murphy for the Eagles’ third try, converted by Owens.

Swinton stuck to the task though and reeled Aston’s side back in through a Murphy try on the half-hour mark.

The see-saw nature of proceedings continued when Menzie Yere crashed over for a converted try from close range, but just before the break the hosts cut the deficit to two points through Rob Lever’s converted score.

After the interval Swinton hit the front when Lever again crossed the whitewash for a converted try, as the contest tipped back in favour of the hosts.

Eagles didn’t have to wait long to edge back in front though, and Owens was again the orchestrator when his grubber kick on the last was touched down under the posts by Minchella. Owens converted.

With the Eagles two points in front, both sides had chances before the crucial next score.

Aston’s side increased their lead when a knock on from the Lions was emphatically punished as Flynn threw the ball to Blackmore who sprinted 60 metres to score.

Owens nailed a crucial conversion to give the Eagles an eight point cushion.

White’s coverted try with three minutes remaining made it a nervy finish, but Eagles held out to record back-to-back successes.

* SWINTON: Murphy; Robinson, Hankinson, Bergal, Butt; White, Coyle; Bracek, Waterworth, Austin; Jones, Lloyd; Barlow. Interchange: Carberry; M. Nicholson, A. Nicholson, Lever.

Scorers: Tries: Bergal (2), Murphy (30), Lever (39, 45), White (77) Goals: Hankinson 5/5

* EAGLES: Millar; Lo, Yere, Flynn, Blackmore; Owens, Minchella; Wheeldon, Fozard, Mexico; Trout, Straugheir; James. Interchange: Burns, Whiteley, Johnson, Milton.

Scorers: Tries: Blackmore (7, 70), Minchella (22, 52), Flynn (26), Yere (35) Goals: Owens 4/6

Referee: Chris Campbell