Round Seventeen of the Betfred Championship was played out over the weekend with the top two sides, the Toronto Wolfpack and Toulouse Olympique, playing their fixtures against London Broncos and Batley Bulldogs on Saturday afternoon.
The remaining games were all played on Sunday afternoon with Halifax’s trip to Leigh the pick of the ties. Also in action were Barrow v. Rochdale, Dewsbury v. Featherstone and a basement clash between Sheffield and Swinton.
Toulouse and Batley shared sixty-eight points on Saturday afternoon with Toulouse having the best of it and grabbing themselves forty-two. Two tries from Ader gave Toulouse a 12-0 lead before Scott got Batleys opener. Further first half tries from Marguerite, Mika, Kheirallah and Maurel made it 34-6 at the interval and the game was already won. Tomlinson picked up a four-pointer for Batley before Sangare made it 40-10. Tries from Galbraith and Holland, along with a second from Tomlinson improved the score line a little from the Bulldogs perspective but a Kheirallah goal on the final hooter completed the 42-26 win.
Later on Saturday Toronto got off to a good start with Paterson and Kay tries in the opening thirteen giving them a 12-0 lead. Spencer got one back for the visitors on seventeen to halve the lead at the interval. Paterson and McCrone both scored soon after the restart for 24-6 to the Wolfpack before Kear scored London’s second. A Brierley penalty, try and conversion sealed the 32-12 win for the home side as they continue their great form in their quest for Super League.
It was a low scoring and tense first half in the game of the day at Leigh with both sides scoring just a single converted try to be level at 6-6 at the break. Hood scored for the Centurions on seventeen but Murrell answered on twenty-five. Halifax struck in the opening seconds of the second half when Moss scored on his debut. A few minutes later Johnston added the third ‘Fax try for 18-6. Leigh struck right back thanks to tries from Acton and Gregson and on the hour there was nothing between the sides at 18-18. Liam Hood scored to put the Centurions ahead on sixty-three and two minutes later Gregson got his second for 30-18. Johnston and Heaton again launched the Halifax fightback and tied the scores at 30-30 before a seventy-seventh minute Hall try won the game for the home side to close the gap and keep alive the Centurions hopes of a top four finish and the middle eights.
Nothing could separate Sheffield and Swinton through their first forty. Ashworth and Lloyd exchanged converted tries in the opening twenty before Aston edged the Eagles ahead on twenty-two. Tyson scored on the half hour and Hankinson’s conversion tied it up at 12-12. The second half belonged to Swinton who lifted themselves off the bottom of the table with a 29-18 win. Butt and Hope had made it 24-12 before Spedding scored for Sheffield to reduce the arrears to six. A Woods drop goal extended the lead to seven and a Tyson try, his second of the game, on seventy-eight sealed the win.
In another tight first half in Barrow it was the Raiders who led 4-0 at the break thanks to two late Dallimore penalties. Hulme scored early in the second half for an 8-0 lead to Barrow before Fieldhouse and Bullock made it 16-0. Talatoka grabbed back a converted try for the visitors before Bullock completed the scoring a sealed the 20-6 home victory.
Featherstone Rovers sprinted to a big early lead thanks to tries from Cooper, Wildie, Ormondroyd and Thackeray. All were converted by Hardman for a 24-0 lead at the turn. Crowther and Trout scored soon after the interval for 12-24 before Hock and Briscoe put the result beyond doubt. Trout did add a second but Thackeray completed his brace for a 42-18 win to lift Rovers into third spot above Halifax and London.
The top four is now; Toronto, Toulouse, Featherstone and Halifax with London and Leigh poised just one point off the prized positions, waiting to pounce.