For the first time for several weeks we had a full calendar of fixtures with all of the Championship sides in action for round nine with a single fixture on Saturday afternoon and the remainder of games being played on Sunday.
Oldham and Sheffield got the round underway on Saturday before a bonanza on Sunday when; Halifax played York, Dewsbury took on the all-conquering Toulouse, Swinton hosted Newcastle, Whitehaven were at home to Batley and in the game of the round Widnes took on London. The final game was a late kick-off between rivals Featherstone and Bradford.
It turned out to be quite a tussle between Oldham and Sheffield with very littlt to choose between the two sides over eighty minutes.Tries from Glover and Worrincy put Sheffield into an early lead before Roberts responded for Oldham. Just as it looked like it would be 8-4 at the break Abram kicked a penalty goal but Sheffield responded immediately with a second Glover try which Farrell converted for 14-6. Abram took the home side to within two of their opponents on fifty-three but three tries in six minutes from Brown and two more from Worrincy to complete his hat-trick gave Sheffield a 32-12 lead. Reilly, Kirk and Brierley all scored tries in the closing quarter of an hour but it wasn’t quite enough for Oldham as they lost out by 28-32.
Halifax put York to the sword in a morning kick-off on Sunday, the game getting underway at 11:30. Kavanagh and Garside scored within the opening fifteen for a 10-0 lead but the rest of the half was a stalemate, neither side advancing the scoreboard. York scored their only try of the game just after the restart through Marsh and after a bad day at the office for the visitors it was the Panthers who piled on the points. Rawsthorne, Moore and Saltonstall all scored tries within a devastating six-minute period before Tangata rounded off the scoring four minutes from time for 30-6.
Toulouse Olympique XIII made no mistake of continuing their unbeaten start to the season as they dispatched the Dewsbury Rams with ease. Jussaume, Hitchcox, Pelissier and Garbutt all scored in the opening forty for a 22-0 half time lead, Kheirallah converting three of the four. Dewsbury broke their duck early in the second half with a Smith try but normal service was resumed on fifty-three when Sangare edged Toulouse further ahead. Pelissier and Jessaume both added their second tries for 36-6 to put the result beyond any doubt. Hitchcox completed his double seven from time and a Pezet try brought up the fifty as Kheirallah added his seventh goal of the afternoon Hitchcox completed his hat-trick, but Dewsbury scored the last points of the game through Oakes, the home side going down by 12-56.
London snatched a late win over the Widnes Vikings after trailing for most of the game. Craven put Widnes ahead after just three minutes and despite Miski equalising a Tyrer penalty and then a converted try from Cross put the home side 14-6 up at the break. Curran narrowed the margin early in the second half before Lawton made it 18-12. Edge re-established the Widnes lead on seventy but Tyrer was unable to convert and it proved costly as Gwaze levelled the scored three minutes from time, Hankinson kicking the conversion for 24-22 to the Broncos.
Whitehaven and Batley had a similarly close encounter at the Recreation Ground. Taylor and Hooley traded early tries but two tries within a couple of minutes on the half time hooter from Walmsley and Dixon gave Whitehaven a 16-6 lead. Ward, Hall and Lillycrop all scored in a devastating ten minutes spell in the second half to put the Bulldogs 24-16 ahead and a try by Bulman with sixteen minutes on the clock narrowed the arrears to just four. Batley held on for the last quarter of an hour to take the points.
It looked like it was going to be a runaway win for Newcastle at Swinton when tries from Ta’ai, Beswick, Wright, Bailey and Turner saw them sprint into a 30-0 lead. Hope grabbed one back on thirty-two and when Cox and Gregson both went in for Swinton before the break the fightback was on. Wright extended the visitors lead on forty-five before Hansen and Hope scored two more for Swinton for 30-34. A Wright penalty goal made the margin six points with fourteen minutes left but neither side could add to their score, Thunder winning by a six-point margin.
In the final game of the day Featherstone Rovers sprinted into a big 26-0 first half lead against the Bradford Bulls who weren’t in the game in the first forty. Jones, Hall, Gale, Dagger and Davies all registered four-pointers with Hall adding three conversions. Parata and Field both added further tries within the closing ten minutes for a resounding 44-0 victory.