Rugby League: Eagles exploit errors

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Sheffield Eagles. . .30

Salford . . . . . . .16

SHEFFIELD put an end to a run of four defeats that had plunged them down the First Division table by winning a game of enterprising rugby and spectacular mistakes yesterday, writes Dave Hadfield.

Salford, now with only one victory in their last 10 starts, looked set to claim the points and pull away from the relegation area when they drew level 10 minutes into the second half. The Eagles and Mark Gamson, their long- serving utility man, in particular would have been disgusted if that had been the outcome.

They were 10 points ahead when Gamson committed what could have proved to be the blunder of the season, standing and watching Steve Blakeley's kick in the hope that it would run dead and allowing Craig Coleman to swoop for a try which Blakeley converted.

Sheffield were still looking daggers at Gamson when Salford struck again, Blakeley getting a pass away despite Garry Jack's tackle and Martin Burkett and Coleman sending in Phil Ford. Blakeley missed the kick that would have put Salford ahead but, with a strong wind at their backs, they undoubtedly had the chance to win this match.

Salford conceded two penalties to David Mycoe, however, to give the Eagles breathing space and opened up in the last eight minutes to allow the Sheffield substitute, Tim Lumb, two tries.

For two sides so badly on the slide, it was uplifting stuff. Right from the start, though, the entertainment owed something to their defensive vulnerability. But with Leigh and Hull KR picking up points behind them, Salford in particular simply cannot afford to make errors.

Sheffield Eagles: Jack; Stott, Powell (capt), Mycoe, Plange (Gamson, 38); Price, Sheridan; Broadbent, Gamson (Lumb, 25), Laughton, Hughes, McGuire, Carr.

Salford: Cruickshank; Evans, Critchley, Birkett (Reid, 59), Ford; Blakeley, Coleman (capt); Young (Ackerman, 59), Lee, Stazicker, Forver, Blease, Bradshaw.

Referee: R Smith (Castleford).