There are still eight sides with a realistic chance of making the Betfred Championship play-offs, and therefore having a shot at promotion into Super League for 2020. Firm favourites are the Toronto Wolfpack, but unrest this week with the self-sacking of their Chief Executive David Argyl was sure to unsettle the runaway leaders.
Toronto had an easy trip to Swinton on Sunday evening as they concluded the round sixteen fixtures with a number of other key fixtures having taken place on Saturday and Sunday.
Game of the round saw third placed York host second placed Toulouse on Saturday, and Sunday featured games between; Bradford and Batley, Dewsbury and Rochdale, Leigh and Halifax, Sheffield and Featherstone and Widnes and Barrow.
Saturday afternoon’s game at York was a crunch tie for both the home side and the visitors Toulouse. York scored first through Teanby in what would turn out to be a close game. Jassuame levelled things two minutes later before Hey put York into a 12-6 lead. Again it was just a matter of minutes before Bell equalised and the sides went into the interval all square. York took the lead on fifty-five from Harris, but Marcon scored two minutes later, the conversion being missed and the French side were two points behind. A French flurry in the closing minutes thanks to a Jassuame converted try, a Barthau penalty and a Barthau dropped goal sealed a 25-18 win for the visitors.
The Bradford Bulls ground out a 16-0 win against the Batley Bulldogs in a game of three tries and two conversions. Foggin-Johnston scored a try on ten minutes but Lilley was unable to convert and it was just the four points which separated the sides at the change of ends. Foggin –Johnson got his second on fifty-five and Minchella added another five minutes later to seal the win.
It was a massive home win for the Dewsbury Rams against strugglers Rochdale Hornets despite the visitors getting the opening try through Wood on two minutes. Trout, Morton, Walshaw and Day all scored for the Rams before half time for a scoreline of 24-4. Moore opened the second half scoring for Rochdale, converted by Abram for 24-10, but the traffic was then all in one direction. Tries for Morris (2), Martin (2), Day, Garratt and Annakin put the Hornets to the sword for a 66-10 win.
Leigh Centurions cemented their fourth spot with a good win over eighth placed Halifax. It was a great start with tries from Thornley, and Cox (2) giving the home side a 16-0 lead at the interval and Hood added a fourth for 20-0 before Butler grabbed Halifax’s first. A couple of Ridyard penalties extended the lead to 24-4 and a Ridyard drop goal made it 25-4 before a final try from Brooks pushed the lead to 31-4. Woodburn-Hall grabbed a late consolation for Halifax as his side lost by 31-8.
The Sheffield Eagles were never at the races as they crashed at home to Featherstone Rovers, the visitors moving into fourth spot in the league. Ferguson, Holmes and King had established an 18-0 lead for Rovers before Moran scored the first Eagles try to see them trail by twelve at the interval. King added his second and Hardcastle scored a four pointer for 30-6 before Hellewell and Mason scored for the home side. A Chisolm penalty and a Harrison try completed the scoring as Fev’ scored a 38-18 victory to dent Sheffield’s play-off hopes after such a good start to the season.
Widnes Vikings never looked in any trouble as they defeated Barrow by 38-14. Chapelhow (2) and Hatton sent Widnes in at the break with a 16-2 lead, a Dallimore penalty goal was all that Barrow had to show for forty minutes of effort. Craven, Roby and Lyons made it 38-2 before the home side eased off the gas a little and allowed Cross and Ritson to grab consolation tries but little cheer for the journey home to Cumbria.
While Toronto dominated the first half they didn’t run away with the lead like many pundits had suggested. Tries from Dixon, Leutele and Stanley gave then a 16-0 lead at the interval but all credit to Swinton for keeping them to just the three tries. A Butt try, and Fairclough conversion, reduced the arrears to ten points after fifty-seven minutes. Within minutes Leutele struck back for Toronto and Beswick added another a few minutes later. A second Fairclough try, and one for Butt, were consolation for Swinton but a Sidlow try for Toronto gave a final score of 34-14.