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Sheffield Hallam Eagles

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A Precis of the Report by Matt Anniss and match stats:

Sheffield Hallam Eagles (18) 40 Bristol Sonics (14) 42



Bristol Sonics twice battled back from a 10-point deficit to grab a last-gasp 42-40 win over Sheffield-Hallam Eagles at Don Valley Stadium.


Prop forward Liam Walker barged his way over the Sheffield line four minutes from time to level the scores, before skipper Dom Swann coolly slotted over the conversion to earn Bristol a nail-biting victory over the highly-fancied home team. Sheffield-Hallam Eagles, a new club set up by 2012 Championship winners Sheffield Eagles and Sheffield Hallam University, led for much of the game and twice built up 10-point leads in the second half. After seeing a third try ruled out on 18 minutes, Bristol fell behind when Bradley Tatersall finished off a fine Sheffield-Hallam break. Tom Holt’s conversion made it 6-0 with 20 minutes gone. Bristol were soon back in the game when Marcus Brooker powered down the left to narrow the arrears to two points. This time, it was centre Tom Ashton who crossed following a long run from Holt. Jake Robertson burrowed his way over from close range shortly after, Dom Swann converting, before a horrendous error from the otherwise faultless Brooker gifted a try to the home side. Sheffield-Hallam speedster Donald Rodangarina snaffled up the ball and sprinted down the touchline to score. Holt again converted to give the home side an 18-10 advantage with less than a minute to go until the break. After Sheffield-Hallam made a mess of Swann’s kick-off, Brooker jumped to collect a high bouncing ball, 10 metres out, and trot over unopposed. Swann couldn’t add the extras, meaning the Sonics trailed 18-14 at the break. Swann’s conversion made it 18-20 and the Sonics were flying. Minutes later, prop Sam Williamson caught a poor chip from Swann and raced 60 metres to score. Crucially, Holt’s attempted conversion drifted wide, but at ten points up with less than 10 remaining, the home side were sitting pretty. From the resulting kick-off Sheffield Hallam were able to put Bristol under pressure. Somehow, skipper Swann landed a beautiful 40-20 kick to win a vital scrum deep in Sheffield territory. Swann’s conversion gave Bristol the lead with little over four minutes remaining. Sheffield-Hallam threw everything at the visitors for the remainder of the contest, but Bristol’s defence stood firm to record a memorable opening-day victory.


Sheffield-Hallam Eagles         (18)   40 [Tries: Tattersall 15, Ashton 23,72,  Kudangirana 36, Seeto 48, Williamson 56, Burns 70. Goals: Holt 15, 23, 36, 48, 56, 70, ]


Sheffield Hallam Team: Joey Luttrull; Anthony Seeto; Tom Ashton; Corey Hanson; Donald Kudangirana; Brad Tattersall; Tom Holt; Lee Sanders; Scott Smith; Sam Williamson; Alex Williams; Adam Curtis; Ben Hawksworth; Chris Cullimore; Chris Palmer; Jono Burns; Alex Rollins.


Bristol Sonics    (14) 42 T: Marcus Brooker 4, Jake Robertson 2, Matt Williams, Liam Walker. G: Dom Swann 5

MOTM AWARDS: Sheffield-Hallam: Lee Sanders (prop forward): Bristol: Jake Robertson (second row)


 Scoring sequence:


Referee: Gareth Billingham. TJ: Joe Turner, Connor Astbury

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