Round twenty-four of the Betfred Championship was spread over two days as Toulouse travelled to Widnes, and York made the trip to Toronto for Saturday’s fixtures.
The remaining games took place on Sunday with Leigh looking for a big win at relegated Rochdale, Sheffield seeking to keep their play-off hopes alive against Halifax, and Featherstone Rovers needing the crucial two points at home against Featherstone.
Elsewhere, the Bulls were in Barrow knowing that the two points were essential for their remote hopes of the top five, while the heavy woollen derby between Batley and Dewsbury was a ‘dead rubber’.
Toulouse Olympique went back to second spot in the Championship ladder with an afternoon win over the Widnes Vikings by 28-12. Full report here.
The early evening kick off between Toronto Wolfpack and the York City Knights illustrated the gulf between top and third place as the Canadian side registered a 56-6 win. An O’Brien hat-trick, along with tries from Miloudi, McCrone and Dixon saw Toronto 32-0 up at the break. Ackers and McCrone added to the total before Kelly scored York’s only try of the night on fifty-four. Toronto hadn’t finished with Rawsthorne, Russell and another from Ackers completing a great night for the Super League hopefuls.
Leigh romped to an early lead against the Rochdale Hornets but then eased off to let the home side back into the game, eventually securing a 50-18 win. Full match report here.
Featherstone Rovers moved one step closer to a play-off spot with a massive 66-16 win over the Swinton Lions. King, Albert, McLelland and Sutcliffe all scored tries for a 24-0 lead before Hansen opened Swinton’s account. Render added another for the home side before the interval and second half tries from King, Johnson, Carey and Day (2) saw a rampant Fev’ into a 58-6 lead. Fairclough and Waterworth bucked the trend momentarity for 16-58 but Walters and Sutcliffe both scored in the closing minutes for a big win and all important improvement in the points difference.
The Sheffield Eagles kept alive their slim hopes of a top five finish with a nail-biting win over Halifax at the MBi Shay. Robinson put the home side ahead but three converted tries from Davies, Walker and Brown gave the Eagles an 18-6 interval lead. A crucial Walker penalty extended the lead to fourteen points before Grix and Tyrer both scored converted tries for 18-20, the Eagles holding on until the hooter for the two point win.
Bradford Bulls need a miracle to make the five but played their part with a 46-22 win on Barrow. First half Bulls tries from Keyes, Garside, Ryan, Minchella and Flanagan saw a solitary response from Cross for a 30-6 half time lead. Dallimore brought up Barrow’s double figures soon after the restart but Oakes quickly responded. Ford and Minchella exchanged tries for 42-18 with later efforts from Hulme for Barrow and Pickersgill, for Bradford, both going unconverted.
Dewsbury could still, mathematically, go down but it looks unlikely making the game against Batley at the Fox’s Biscuit Stadium all about local pride. Reitte got the only try of the first half for a 6-0 lead adding a second in the second half to add to one from Smeaton for a 14-0 lead. Walshaw and Morton struck back for Dewsbury in the second half but it was too little, and too late, with a Brambani penalty goal sealing a 16-10 win.
With Toronto confirmed as minor premiers, Toulouse and Leigh joined them in the play-offs thanks to their wins this weekend. York and Featherstone look likely to join them with the Eagles and Bulls left looking for a miracle to make the top five.