With games spread over three days, round eighteen of the Betfred Championship would, once again, do little to assist in our understanding of the play-off places as Toronto Wolfpack tightened their grip on the minor premiership, sweeping aside all before them.
The game of the weekend saw Toulouse visit Toronto on Saturday afternoon but their match had been preceded on Friday night by the Eagles at home to Rochdale and the Widnes Vikings playing the Bulldogs.
Sundays highlight looked like being the game between the Bulls and Halifax as York went to Swinton, Featherstone hosted Barrow and Leigh visited Dewsbury.
Widnes made it eleven wins from eighteen as they defeated the Batley Bulldogs by 28-22. Gelling had put the home side 4-0 ahead but tries from Downs a Walker, both converted by Jouffret gave Batley a 12-4 lead. A Norman try and Edge conversion on the stroke of half time meant Widnes trailed by 12-10 at the interval. Hatton and Dean both scored second half tries within the opening fifteen minutes for the Vikings to lead by 22-12 before Dickinson scored Batley’s third try to reduce the arrears to 22-18. A Chapelhow try on seventy sealed the points and a late try by Walker was consolation for the Bulldogs.
Sheffield Eagles and the Rochdale Hornets shared seventy points in competitive game where the bottom side caused more problems than the Eagles would have expected. Abram gave the Hornets the early lead but Millar and Davies put Sheffield 10-6 ahead after thirty minutes. Marriott levelled the scores on thirty-six, with Abrams boot putting the visitors ahead, but Meadows scored on the stroke of half time for a 16-12 lead. Thackeray and Millar extended the lead but Wood went in for Rochdale for 28-18. Meadows and Moran added another two Sheffield tries before Marriott got Rochdale’s last points of the afternoon. Sheffield had the game win when Millar completed his hat-trick to seal a 46-24 home win.
All eyes were on Toronto on Saturday where a decent battle unfolded between the Wolfpack and Toulouse. Worthington didn’t take long to put Toronto in front but Boyer responded for the French side. A try from Russell, and a second from Worthington, gave the home side an 18-6 interval lead. Tries from Barthau and Santi were punctuated by an O’Brien penalty goal and on sixty –five Toulouse only trailed by 16-20. O’Brien extended the lead with a penalty on seventy-three and then converted an Ackers try on seventy-seven for the 28-16 win.
It was a great day at the office for the Leigh Centurions who drew level with Toulouse in second place thanks to a 40-0 victory over the Dewsbury Rams. Forsyth and Douglas established a 12-0 lead inside the first ten minutes and when Marsh grabbed a brace in the last fifteen minutes of the half the visitors had a 22-0 lead. The second half was almost as good with tries from Forsyth, Cox and Douglas sewing up an easy victory and improving the Centurions points difference. The quest for a Super League return continues.
Bradford Bulls overcame a late scare to defeat Halifax by 24-20. Read the full report here.
The York City Knights had a bit of a scare at Swinton Lions and only led 8-0 at the interval after a Scott try and two Robinson penalty goals. Stock, Horne and Salter took the Knights to a 26-0 lead but then the visitors took their eyes off the ball allowing Ashton and Waterworth to score converted tries for a final score of 12-26.
The final game of the afternoon was a sensational away win for Barrow Raiders over a Featherstone Rovers side whose grip on the top five is now looking a little shaky. Amean put Barrow 6-0 ahead but Chisolm equalised seven minutes later. Tries from Dallimore and Morrow put the Raiders 16-6 up but Sutcliffe scored before the interval for 10-16. When Sutcliffe grabbed his second just after the restart, Chisolm’s goal levelled things at 16-16, and it looked like Fev’ would kick on for the win. But a Cresswell hat-trick, scored in a twenty minute purple patch, devastated the home side and condemned them to a 38-16 defeat, denying them second place in the table and moving Barrow within a point of twelfth spot.