Workington Town bowed out of the Coral Challenge Cup yesterday, succumbing to currently nomadic Championship side Sheffield Eagles 34-18 at Doncaster’s Keepmoat Stadium.

It is the second year in succession Chris Thorman’s side faltered at the same fifth round hurdle.

Town, who crashed to a 13-try demolition at Super League Leeds in 2019, put in a much more impressive display but were made to pay for another slow start from which they were always playing catch up.

The currently homeless Eagles, who failed to score in the previous week’s defeat against Bradford at Dewsbury, made numerous positional changes, while Town called in Tyler Lancaster to replace Elliott Miller, who picked up an injury in their 30-22 loss at Newcastle.

The men from Derwent Park didn’t arrive until less than an hour before kick-off due to a mix-up with the coach company.

Having emphasised the importance of a good start - having gone 18-0 down in just 14 minutes the previous weekend - Thorman must have been tearing his hair out at another catalogue of errors in the opening exchanges.

Elliot Hall allowed the kick-off to go under his foot, so forcing immediately forcing the visitors to kick out from under the posts.

A further penalty conceded, and another mistake from Hall, failing to deal with a high cross-kick, incurred further pressure and, after Scott Wheeldon was held up, Joel Farrell slid over with less than three minutes gone, his brother Izaac converting to give the ‘hosts’ the perfect start.

League One Town, the lowest ranked side left in the competition, took almost ten minutes to get out of their own half with the ball in hand.

When they did, only the bounce of the ball beat winger Alex Young to a neat Doran last tackle kick, having out-sprinted opposite number Rob Worrincy in the chase down the left flank.

But, after conceding a third goal-line drop out and four early penalties, Thorman’s side fell further behind as Joel Farrell, only playing due to winning an appeal against a one-match suspension in midweek, glided through for his second try.

This time the younger sibling missed his conversion but, trailing by ten, Town already had a mini-mountain to climb.

But a Jamie Doran Kick was palmed back into play by a determined Connor Fitzsimmons for Carl Forber to touchdown and convert his own try.

The very vocal handful of Cumbrian fans were cheering again when a stirring Calvin Wellington break almost yielded more points but it preceded the turning point in the match as, seconds later, a long Doran pass was intercepted by Jamie Thackeray.

The Sheffield skipper embarked on an 80-metre run towards Town’s line, only halted by the speed of Workington winger Alex Young but, on the next play, Ryan Miller extended Eagles lead in the opposite corner.

The now flying Eagles scored again through Olly Davies on the half hour mark with Corey Makelim further extending their advantage, after a neat chip and chase, before half time.

Facing a 26-6 deficit, Town began the second half once more on the backfoot, but showed no lack of confidence when gaining possession with lively breaks from Doran, Forber, Blain Marwood and Gabriel Fell.

Forber put a charging Fuifui Moimoi over ten minutes into the half to give Town a glimmer of hope.

Young came within inches of grounding a high Doran kick which was allowed to bounce but, despite wonderful scramble defence preventing Joel Farrell claiming a hat-trick at the other end, Sheffield added further tries from Izaac Farrell and Makelim to clinch their place in the least 16 of the competition.

Marwood grabbed a late and deserved consolation score, following innovative evasive work from Doran, with Forber landing his third conversion.

Match facts

Sheffield Eagles: Makelim, Worrincy, McComb, Bower, Millar, I Farrell, Thackeray, Wheeldon, Davey, Broadbent, Davies, J Farrell, Brown. Substitutes: Burns, Mariano, Knowles, Taylor.

Tries: J Farrell (3, 14), Millar (27), Davies (31), Makelim (34, 72), I Farrell (70).

Goals: I Farrell 3/7.

Workington Town: Fell, Hall, Lancaster, Wellington, Young, Doran, Forber, Curwen, O’Brien, Scholey, Barnes, Scholey, H Dawson, Fitzsimmons, Substitutes: Marwood, Moi Moi, A Dawson, Wilson.

Tries: Forber (25), Moi Moi (50), Marwood (78).

Goals: Forber 3/3.

Penalties: 10-8

HT: 26-6

Referee: James Vella (Australia)

Attendance: 323

Star Man: Gabriel Fell