Round Seventeen of the Betfred Championship would throw up a shock or two in a high scoring weekend which would leave us with more questions about the play-off places than answers.
The top two played on Saturday afternoon with Toulouse Olympique at home to Swinton while the Toronto Wolfpack took on the Dewsbury Rams.
There were some interesting fixtures on Sunday afternoon with Bradford at Leigh, high-flying Featherstone against play-off outsiders Widnes, Halifax at Barrow and Sheffield travelling to Batley. The one real home banker of the afternoon was York’s game against Rochdale.
The first game of the round dealt the biggest shock as lowly Swinton defeated Toulouse at fortress Stade Ernest Angeles. Robin had opened the scoring for the home side but Lloyd responded for 6-4. Maurel and Marion added tries for the home side who took a 14-4 lead into the sheds and who would have been expecting more of the same in the second forty. A second half Paisley hat-trick, two of them converted by Hansen was spoilt only by a Marcon try for the home side as the Lions roared to a 20-18 win.
There was no trouble for the league leaders as the Toronto Wolfpack demolished the Dewsbury Rams. O’Brien kicked eleven goals, six in the first half, as the home side ran in twelve tries. O’Brien, Ackers, Russell (2), and Mullally had given Toronto a 28-0 lead before Worrincy scored for the visitors. Mullally added his second, and Mellor a seventh, Wolfpack try before the interval for a 40-4 lead. With the exception of one Ryder try for the Rams on sixty-seven, the second half was all one-way traffic too. Kay (2), Sidlow, Wallace and Beswick all scored four pointers for a big 70-8 victory which now sees the Wolfpack eight points clear at the top of the table.
Sunday’s biggest win was a 60-0 demolition of the Rochdale Hornets by a rampant York City Knights side with their eyes firmly set on a play off place. Salter, Marsh (2), Whiteley and Stock all scored in the first forty for a 26-0 interval lead and in the second half Whiteley completed his hat-trick and was joined over the whitewash by Vaivai, Teanby and Scott. Robinson kicked eight goals in a comprehensive performance which now sees the Hornets five points adrift at the foot of the table.
There was a terrific win for second bottom Barrow Raiders as they inflicted a 21-8 defeat on Halifax. Stack and Cross put the home side 10-0 ahead but tries for Robinson and Grix, either side of half time, reduced the arrears to just two points. Two tries in three minutes from Cross and Morrow win the game for the home side with a Carter drop goal on seventy-one the icing on the cake.
Leigh Centurions put in a superb performance to record a 52-20 win over fellow play-off hopefuls the Bradford Bulls.
Featherstone Rovers kept their third spot with a good home win over the Widnes Vikings who stay third bottom of the league. The only try of the first half was a Sutcliffe effort on seven minutes, and with a Chisolm conversion and penalty it was 8-0 at the interval. Carey added a second try just after the break for 12-0 before Ince scored the only try of the game for the Vikings. Two late tries from Holmes and Sutcliffe sealed the 22-4 win.
The Sheffield Eagles registered an emphatic win over the Batley Bulldogs in a return to the form which had deserted them over recent weeks. Knowles, Crookes, and Moran established an 18-0 lead for the Eagles before Brearley and Tomlinson grabbed Batley a lifeline as they went in to the interval just six points adrift. The Eagles took control in the second half with Walker, Brown and Meadows extending the lead to 36-12. Brown scored again for Batley but three tries in four minutes from Davies, Knowles and Moran pushed the visitors to a 54-18 lead. A Wood try four from time was the last score of the game, a hefty defeat for the Bulldogs by 24-54.