Eagles v Hull Triple Header
Sunday 22nd January 2023 saw the first ever Sheffield Eagles triple header game. With the wheelchair, women's and men's team all playing Hull that day.
Alicia Newton is a lifelong Hull fan and is currently studying sports journalism in Sheffield. She, along with her family who travelled across from Hull, attended all three of the games and provides us with her perspective.
This triple header saw the wheelchair, women's and men's team all playing Hull that day, with the Eagles' LDSL (learning disability) also putting on a training session at half time. Having all the teams featured that day was a first for the Club and potentially for rugby league.
The wheelchair game
The Wheelchair game kicked off at 10am at Forge Valley but despite the early start the game was well attended by not only by Sheffield supporters but also the travelling Hull fans. The game and its result, a 26-26 draw, bodes well for both sides as players from both Hull and Sheffield’s development squads made their debut. Many Hull fans commented throughout the match how welcoming both sets of fans and players were. The welcoming spirit was enjoyed by the few fans who were attending their first ever live Wheelchair game after being hooked into the sport by England’s triumph at the World Cup (RLWC21). It was the perfect start to an entertaining day which showcased the true inclusivity of Rugby League.
The Women’s Game
It was a quick journey over to the Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park for the second match of the day as the womens' sides looked to get their first taste of next years Championship opponents. Despite the chilly weather both sides showcased their skills as the tight score-line, Hull just won the match 26-24, showed spectators what to expect from both sides in the 2023 Women’s Championship season. Both sides showcased their youth as Hull alone had four players from their college set-up on the team sheet, with three of those making it over the line. The game was spectacular to watch as a Hull FC fan as lots of spectators, from both teams, had travelled to the game making it one of the best attended Women’s matches that I have ever attended.
The Men’s game
The men’s game was Sheffield’s best ever attended at the Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park as over a thousand spectators turned out to watch both sides play their first game of 2023. Sheffield started the game in spectacular fashion even surprising some of their own supporters as they led Hull 20-12 at half-time. But it wasn’t long before the visitors put the talents of their youth on display as the seven featured college representatives made Hull’s second-half comeback all the more special for the travelling fans. The friendly atmosphere continued throughout this match as the mix of supporters in the stand enjoyed the games together.
The LDSL team
Sheffield proved that they are leading the way for inclusivity in Rugby League as their LDSL team took to the field at half-time of the men’s game. The players enjoyed the cheers from the supporters as they helped their team bring to end a fantastic day for the advancement of inclusivity and diversity within the sport of Rugby League in the UK.
The day did really demonstrate the Sheffield Eagles #OneClub approach with all four of it's team represented during the day - all in the same kit.
It also shows the impact the Eagles Foundation has had over the last few years in supporting the development of the wheelchair, women's and LDSL teams to complement the long established men's team.
Share your memories
Have you any photos of the games or thoughts about what you so. If so you can share them HERE.