Round eight of the Betfred Championship was once again split over two days as Toulouse visited Batley on Saturday afternoon, and all the remaining fixture being played on Sunday.
Game of the round was the clash between the sides in third and fourth as the Sheffield Eagles visited York City Knights, but there was plenty of interest elsewhere.
Bradford were hosts to Leigh, Toronto were in Halifax, Widnes visited Rochdale looking for another win to overcome their points deduction, while Featherstone Rovers played Dewsbury and Swinton went to Barrow looking for their first points if the season.
Toulouse Olympique XIII returned to the top of the table, for twenty-four hours, with a convincing away win against the Batley Bulldogs. Bretherton put the French side ahead but Jouffret equalised for the Bulldogs. Mika and Leak exchanged tries towards the end of the first half with the Bulldogs taking a 12-10 lead into the interval. The second half was all Toulouse. Tries from Sangare, Barthau, Marcon and a brace from Maurel, along with four conversions from Kheirallah ensured a 38-12 win.
It was a terrific game at Bootham Crescent on Sunday afternoon as two sides who’ve had a great start to the season clashed when York took on Sheffield. It took twenty-eight minutes for Millar to score the first points for the Eagles but a minute before the interval a converted try from Salter gave the home side a 6-4 lead. Glover scored on the hour mark to edge the visitors into a 10-6 lead and when Hellewell got a converted try on sixty four the Eagles were 16-6 up. A Walker penalty made it 18-6 before a converted Jubb try and a four pointer from McGrath put the home side within striking distance at 16-18. In the dying seconds Hellewell got his second of the afternoon, to crush home supporters hopes of a fightback, and secure a 24-16 win.
The Toronto Wolfpack regained their top spot with a romping 48-12 win over Halifax. Full report here.
Bradford and Leigh had a close first half with tries from Brooks and Pownall for the visitors and Webster and Scruton for the Bulls sending the teams into the sheds at 12-12. After boiling tempers resulted in three yellow cards at the start of the second half (Pownall, Webster and Hood) for dissent and fighting. The Bulls then doubled down and took the points thanks to tries from Ryan, Wildie and Evans, sealing a 26-12 win.
Widnes Vikings are back to zero points, but still bottom of the table, after a convincing 50-4 win away at the Rochdale Hornets. A hat-trick from Ince, and one each for Hansen and Buckley were answered by a solitary four pointer from Whittaker and the Vikings led by 28-4. The Widnes party continued in the second half as Brand, Wilde and Roby all scored before Ince added a fourth.
It was a close game between playoff hopefuls Featherstone and Dewsbury with the Rams triumphing by 32-22. Finn got Dewsbury underway but Briscoe and King gave the home side a 10-8 lead. A ten minute brace from Morton established a 16-10 half time lead and when Kibula extended that early in the second half it looked like the Rams day. Golding and Reynolds got Rovers right back in it at 22-22 but two tries in three minutes from Knowles and Day, despite Sykes being in the sin-bin, sealed an unexpected Rams win.
Swinton secured their first win if the season in a close game with Barrow. Forsyth put the Lions ahead early but there was a prompt response from Cross. Walne put Barrow in the lead but Forsyth countered again before Mossop completed the first half scoring and sent Barrow in at the break with an 18-12 lead. Swinton came out all guns blazing and thanks to tries from Butt, Hansen, Bennion and Paisley they took a 32-20 lead. Cross got his second to set up a grandstand finish with the scores at 26-32 but a seventy-seventh minute Thomas drop goal took the wind out of the home sails and secured the 33-26 win.