It was a weekend for the top sides in the Betfred Championship to take a step closer to the play-offs as the top four sides all took on lower placed opposition. High flying York were at Sheffield on Friday night while the runaway league leaders Toronto faced Halifax on Saturday, kicking off an hour before Toulouse welcomed the Bradford Bulls to the south of France.
On Sunday afternoon there was a humdinger of an encounter between fifth placed Featherstone Rovers and Leigh Centurions. Elsewhere Barrow were at Dewsbury, Swinton looked to continue their good run with a home game against Batley and Widnes were at home to bottom club Rochdale.
York and Sheffield went into the half time interval tied up at 6-6 after Bass and Blackmore traded tries close to the interval. Scott and Stock hit Sheffield hard with tries in the opening six minutes of the second half for a 16-6 lead. Thackeray pulled one back for the Eagles before Oakes further extended the lead to 22-16. Robinson made sure with a drop goal on seventy-six to seal the 23-16 win to take York into second spot.
Toronto Wolfpack went ten points clear with a 34-12 win over Halifax. Kay scored twice in the first half for a 10-0 lead at the interval. Ackers and O’Brien added three more Wolfpack tries in the second half for 28-0 just before the hour mark. Halifax then picked up two tries from Cooper and Johnston, both converted by Tyrer, for 28-12 before an Olbison converted try rounded off the scoring.
There was a massive win for the Bradford Bulls on the road in the south of France. Keyes and Webster scored early on to give Bradford an 8-0 lead but Bretherton, Marion and Robin all scored before the interval for an 18-8 interval lead for Toulouse. Oakes and Pickersgill scored after the break to edge the Bulls into a 20-18 lead but a try from Marguerite gave the home side a 24-20 advantage. With the clock ticking down Wildie scored for the Bulls and Keyes converted to snatch a 26-24 win.
In the game of the round Featherstone Rovers ground out a superb 24-20 win over the Leigh Centurions. Read the full match report here.
The Swinton Lions continued their good run with a home win over the Batley Bulldogs by 20-18. Lloyd took twenty-eight minutes to open the scoring but late first half tries from Brearley and Gledhill gave Batley a 12-8 half time lead. A Jouffret penalty and Walker try extended the lead to 18-8 and Batley looked like they were cruising to the win but two converted tries from Bennion and Hatton in the last ten minutes gave the Lions a fightback win which sees them up to ninth.
There was a comfortable win for the Widnes Vikings, despite a slow start. Tries from Roby and Ah Van put them 8-0 ahead but a Brown try for the Hornets saw the visitors trailing by just two points at the interval. Five tries in seventeen second half minutes blitzed the visitors. Craven, Owens (2), Ah Van and Ashall-Bott all got in on the act for a 40-6 lead with a late Marriott try for Rochdale scant consolation.
Dewsbury and Barrow had a ding-dong battle at the Tetley’s Stadium with the Rams emerging as 40-26 victors. Puara Jr and Cross gave Barrow a 10-0 lead but Speakman and McGrath levelled the scores on twenty-four. A Dallimore penalty goal edged Barrow back in front and they went into the interval with a 12-10 lead. Ritson extended the lead early in the second half for 18-10 but Trout, Ryder, Sykes and Knowles all scored in an eighteen minute purple patch to put the Rams 34-20 ahead. Ritson scored eight minutes from the final hooter for Barrow but the last try was scored by McGrath to seal the win.