With wet weather forecast, Edinburgh Eagles changed the venue for their winner takes all semi-final against West View Warriors, to South Queensferry with a place in the North East Rugby League Grand Final awaiting the winners.
In the shadow of the Forth bridges, the Eagles maintained their unbeaten home record in the league as they scored 9 tries to emerge with victory.
An entertaining game which saw the lead change hands 8 times, started brightly for Eagles as Paul Haggon scored a try to give the Eagles an early 4-0 lead. West View, from Hartlepool, and themselves in their first season in this competition, soon responded with 2 tries of their own to take a 12- 6 lead and the Eagles knew the match would be no repeat of their easy regular season victory in July.
Eagles were next to score through Craig Robertson, with the first of his three tries of the afternoon, to cut the deficit to 2 points after a successful Mikey Mair kick, only to let Warriors to extend their lead out to 18-10 after conceding another try, which was successfully converted.
In the unexpected warm weather, Eagles finally started to play with more fluency and scored 2 tries in quick succession, including one from top try scorer Mikey Mair, to retake the lead 20-18 with half time approaching. However, the last action in the half saw Warriors score another try to lead 22-20 at the break.
The start of the 2nd half saw both teams score 2 tries each, including another for Craig Robertson, to take the score to 34-30 to West View after they converted both kicks whilst Eagles converted only one of their 2 kicks. This would be the final time Warriors would lead on the scoreboard.
With plenty of time remaining in the half, a combination of the 20C+ temperature and fitness of the Eagles players saw them finally take control of the match and they finished with a 3 try flourish including a third for player coach, Craig Robertson, and a rare try for forward Michele Crolla. Only one of the 3 conversions was made, however it was one to be remembered as Doug Watters successfully kicked from a tight angle.
Final score Eagles 44 – Warriors 34.
Next up for Eagles is the Grand Final match against Jarrow Vikings this Saturday with the Eagles taking on the only team to have beaten them in the league this season for the right to be crowned champions – look out for updates on our social media pages
Match report courtesy of the Eagles’ Andrew McPhail
Images from the match can be viewed here