Sheffield boost play off bid with City win

Tigers player coach Gregor Hayter
Tigers player coach Gregor Hayter

Sheffield enjoyed a winning start to the New Year, registering a comfortable 44-14 win away at league strugglers Durham City.

After a long break over the Christmas period, Sheffield looked rusty and the first half saw both teams trade tries.

But Sheffield started to show their supremacy in the second half and get into their rhythm.

Seven tries were clocked up by the visitors, who were handed a further boost when Wheatley Hills, Sheffield’s rivals for promotion, were beaten by second-bottom team Darlington.

“With us winning, and Morley too, the play-off spot is within the grasp of all three teams once again,” Sheffield’s Paul Bradwell said.

“It could make for an interesting few weeks of rugby as it all takes shape.”

Sheffield: Marples, Mortimer (capt), Adamo, Dudley, Ellis, Thomas, Balshaw, Kelly, Poste, Ireland, Hill, Tillyer, Dale, Reed, Pearson. Replacements: Tomsett, Clayden, Womack.

Sheffield must now ensure they don’t also succumb to the same fate as Wheatley this weekend, when they entertain Darlington at Abbeydale (2.15pm).

Sheffield’s second team, who had their friendly against Old Brods called off last weekend, are also at home, against National League club Harrogate (2.15pm).

Sheffield Senior Colts were very narrow losers at Doncaster on Sunday, going down 36-31.

Sheffield’s third team also play at Abbeydale on Saturday, against Thornensians (2.15pm).

On Sunday, the Senior Colts are away at Wharfedale and the U17s entertain Malton (12.30pm).

Sheffield Tigers, too, had New Year cheer after sealing a bonus point victory against Westoe at Dore Moor.

Tigers, who gave debuts to centre Samir Tahraoui, number eight Laurence Pearce and right wing Mike Doneghan, started slowly and went behind after five minutes, to a Mellish penalty.

Tigers’ scrum, however, was proving dominant and Gregor Hayter, appearing in his last game for Tigers, had a strong early run.

After 20 minutes of indifferent rugby the match at last started to improve as Tigers began to secure more ball.

However, the visitors nearly scored and only an excellent cover tackle by Jamie Broadley saved a certain try.

Soon after, however, Westoe did double their lead through Mellish.

With just two minutes of an indifferent half left to play Tigers at last showed their superior cutting edge, with a try from Peter Swatkins to give them a 7-6 half time lead.

Whatever was contained in Tigers’ team-talk at the break was certainly effective, as the home side rattled in four unanswered tries in the first 13 minutes of the half.

From there, they never looked back and ran out convincing 36-13 winners.

“This was a good performance by Tigers, especially the second half as they got the rustiness of the mid season break out of their system,” Tigers’ Nigel Dakin said.

“A win, by whatever manner, was the order of the day and a good win was what was achieved by playing some attractive rugby.”

Tigers remain sixth in the league, and face Birmingham & Solihull on Saturday.

Tigers: Chivers, White (Price 72), Cone, Joel, Hayter (Argyle 60), Wragg, Barnes, Pearce, Holmes, (Drage 60), Outram, Wallace, Tahraoui, Broadley, Doneghan, Swatkins (Styles 55).

Replacements not used - O’Donnell.