Round Thirteen of the Betfred Championship was played over the opening weekend of May with two games on Saturday afternoon, and the remaining five on Sunday.
On paper, the game of the round was between Leigh Centurions and Sheffield Eagles as the two sides came into the game fighting for third place. Saturday’s games were between Dewsbury and Toulouse, and Toronto and Bradford as the top two attempted to break further clear of the chasing pack.
The other games on Sunday were between; Halifax and Barrow, Rochdale and Featherstone, Swinton and Widnes and York and Batley.
First up was the afternoon game between Dewsbury and Toulouse where the French side travelled to West Yorkshire in no mood to give up league points. The visitors ran out 38-0 victors after a second half bonanza after only leading 10-0 at the interval thanks to Mika and Marion tries. Bretherton, Boyer, Ford, Kheirallah and Bell all crossed the whitewash in the second half for the comprehensive victory.
It was a spirited first half performance from Bradford in the early evening encounter in Canada but the Wolfpack accelerated away in the second half for the 36-16 win. Full report here. http://www.rlfans.com/index.php?id=2332
It was a tremendous battle at the LSV between the Centurions and Eagles with a late flurry of Leigh tries taking the points. Thornley opened the home sides account early on but Brown levelled the scores after twenty. McNally edge the Centurions back in front on the half hour, only for Blackmore, Millar and Glover all to score in a rampant five minute spell at the end of the half which sent the Eagles into the sheds holding a 20-12 lead. Brierley and Thornley both scored in the first six minutes of the second half for a 24-20 lead but two tries from Thackeray and one from Meadows put the Eagles back into the driving seat with a 36-24 margin. Walker added a Sheffield penalty to further extend the lead to fourteen points and the Eagles must have thought that they’d secured the victory. Three tries in the last ten minutes from Laithwaite, Eaves and Hood snatched the Leigh victory which sent them into fourth and level on points with the Eagles.
There was another close game at York where the City Knights survived a late scare to scramble a 28-24 victory. Marsh and Campbell exchanged early tries before Robinson and stock gave the home side a 16-4 lead. Bienek got the cisitors back within six points just before the interval but on the half time hooter Dixon scored York’s fourth for a 22-10 lead at the break. Campbell got his second for Batley just before the hour mark but Jubb was quick to respond for York and at 28-14 the home side were still comfortable. A second try for Bienek and a first for Bretherton narrowed the margin of loss to 24-28 for the Bulldogs who will be rueing the missed kicks at goal which cost them the points.
Widnes Vikings jumped to eleventh place as they won their eighth game of the season by a comprehensive 32-10 margin over the Swinton Lions. Chapelhow and Lyon had given the Vikings a 12-0 lead before Butt opened the Swinton scoring. Wilde added another Vikings try before the interval for the Chemics to go in with an 18-4 advantage. Ashton scored the first try of the second half for the home side but a couple of penalty goals and tries in the last ten minutes from Craven and Chapelhow resulted in a comfortable 32-10 away win.
There was a big win for Halifax over Barrow at the MBi Shay as the home side set off hot with first half tries from Butler, Larroyer, Barber, Moore and Davies sprinting them into a 28-0 half time lead. Spedding scored Barrow’s first try just after the break but Kavanagh, Woodburn-Hall and Larroyer with his second killed off the game and put Halifax 46-6 ahead. A late Ritson consolation limped the visitors into double figures.
Featherstone also kept the scorers busy with a ten try victory over bottom side Rochdale. King, Harrison and Chisolm had established an 18-0 lead before Ainscough broke Rochdale’s duck. Carey scored the visitors fourth before half time for a 22-4 interval lead. Hardcastle, Cooper (2) and Carey all scored second half tries before Morris got the Hornets second to leave the home side trailing by 10-44. Makota and Golding went over for tries nine and ten for the visitors for the comprehensive 56-10 win.
The league table now has a clear split with a six point difference between Halifax in eighth place and Batley in ninth. The only side now likely to break out of the bottom six is the Widnes Vikings who are securing victories to overcome their big pre-season points deduction and who could still finish in a play-off position. With the exception of runaway leaders Toronto and Toulouse, just two points covers the remaining six sides and it is sure to be a very competitive and nervous second half of the season as these six, and a surging Widnes, try and squeeze into the play-off positions.