With Toulouse Olympique XIII once again having their game postponed, this time against Newcastle Thunder, there were six games making up the remainder of Round Eight of the Betfred Championship and on a competitive weekend the biggest winning margin turned out to be just twenty-two points.
All of the games took place on Sunday afternoon with three o’clock kick-offs. Batley played basement club Swinton, Bradford were at home to York, Halifax welcomed Featherstone and Dewsbury made the long trip to face the London Broncos with the remaining two fixtures being between Oldham and Widnes, and Sheffield versus Whitehaven.
The day’s big winners were Widnes who beat Oldham by 40-18. Hatton, Tyrer, Cross and Owens put the Vikings 22-0 ahead before a Senior try on the half-time hooter got Oldham into the game. Cross and Owens both grabbed a second in the opening ten minutes of the second half before Brierley got the Roughyeds second of the afternoon. Spedding completed the Widnes seven try spree for 40-12 before a late Langtree consolation in the dying seconds.
London Broncos had an equally convincing win over the travelling Dewsbury Rams. Walters and Fozzard gave the home side a great start inside the opening eight minutes and when Wood replied for 12-6 it looked like it might be a competitive game. A second Walters try on half time extended the lead to twelve and there was no coming back for the Rams. Aston made it 24-6 before Gabriel got Dewsbury’s second but it was Meadows who ended the afternoons scoring for 30-10.
Bradford Bulls were back at Odsal Stadium after a long absence and celebrated with a win over the York City Knights. Brown and Dixon exchanged early tries before a Brough penalty put the Bulls 8-6 ahead. Lilley and Atkins then exchanged tries with the Bulls still hanging on with a two-point advantage up until the thirty-seventh minute when Golding crossed. Oakes scored nine after the restart to put Bradford for 28-12 before Brough kicked a drop goal to extend the lead to four tries. Clarkson scraped one back for the City Knights but Brown ended the game as he’d begin it with a four pointer to seal a 37-18 win.
Swinton raced into a shock lead against the Batley as Cox and Ridyard scored in the opening thirteen minutes for a 10-0 lead but as the Bulldogs steadied the ship Kaye scored to reduce the arrears and it was game on at 6-10 at the interval. Brown scored Batley’s second within two minutes of the restart for 12-10 before the boot of Ridyard levelled the scores with a penalty goal. A Morton penalty on sixty-five edged the home side in front and as Swinton ran out of steam Broughton and Leak both got over the whitewash for a 26-12 win, the Lions still pointless in 2021.
Halifax and Featherstone had a humdinger of a low scoring battle. After a Robinson Penalty Goal for the Panthers, Brown got the only four pointer of the first half to see Rovers go in with a 6-2 advantage at the interval. Hall and Gale both scored in the opening ten minutes of the second half for 16-2 and a Tangata try on fifty-seven to take the scores to 8-16 seemed to have set up a great last twenty minutes. But neither side added to their tally as defences ruled, Rovers maintaining their one hundred percent record.
The days final game was a nail-biting 25-25 draw between the Eagles and Whitehaven. Holliday opened the tit-for-tat scoring as early as the second minute but Burns and Farrell responded for 12-6 before tries from Walmesley and McNally, and a dying seconds McNally drop goal put ‘Haven into the shed with a 19-12 lead. Bradley extended the Cumbrians lead to 25-12 just before the hour and it looked like it was all over. Tries from Farrell and Thackeray scored in the seventy-first and seventy-sixth minutes respectively to get Sheffield within one point and a Thackeray drop goal on the final hooter secured the draw that didn’t really suit either team.