With the visit if the Halifax Panthers to Toulouse Olympique XIII another victim of the ongoing coronavirus situation there were six games in round eighteen of the Betfred Championship as the battle for the play-off places continues to heat up.
Newcastle took on the Bradford Bulls on Saturday afternoon while a Featherstone Rovers side who are widely tipped for play-off glory faced the York City Knights.
The remaining games took place on Sunday afternoon with; Dewsbury against Widnes, Swinton playing hosts to the Batley Bulldogs, Whitehaven at home to London Broncos and Sheffield doing battle with strugglers Oldham.
Featherstone continued their good run of form with a comprehensive home win over the York City Knights. Jones-Bishop had given the visitors a shock lead with two tries inside the opening seven minutes before Blackmore and Harrison fought back for Fev’ to make it 12-8 to the home side. A Johnson penalty was quickly followed by a Marsh try for York for a 14-12 lead but when Walker scored just before the interval for 18-14 there was no looking back for Featherstone. Walker added a second just after the restart before four tries in twenty-two minutes for Hall proved devastating in the 44-14 win.
The Bradford Bulls had a good start at Newcastle with a Crossly try on eight but it took almost half an hour until they crossed the whitewash again, this time through Foggin-Johnston for a 14-0 lead. Johnson and Gill both got four-pointers in the two minutes before the interval to get Thunder right back in the game at 12-14 at the interval but the second half was all one-way traffic for the Bulls. Rooks scored just after the restart before Foggin-Johnston got his second and when Flanagan scored two tries in ten minutes it was a big 36-12 win to ensure the Bulls ended the weekend in the top four.
It was a cracker of a game at the Tetley’s Stadium as Dewsbury beat the Widnes Vikings by the narrowest of margins. Fleming and Beckett gave the Rams a 12-0 lead before Tyrer opened the Vikings scoring but a Ferguson try and Dean drop-goal gave the home side a 19-6 half-time lead. A try from Cross on forty-seven edged Widnes back into it but two penalty goals from Dean put Dewsbury out of reach and late tries from Edge and Baker weren’t enough to overcome the home side as the Rams held on for a 23-22 win.
Swinton crashed to another loss despite taking a 6-0 lead through Roberts early on. Campbell (2) and Senior scored in the closing ten minutes of the first half for a 16-6 Bulldogs lead at the interval. A second half hat-trick from Leak and a single from Johnson extended the score line for the visitors and secured a 38-6 win.
Whitehaven continued their push for a play-off place with a good win over the London Broncos side a place above them in the table. Miski and Wilkinson traded early tries before Hodson and Curran went in for London to give them an 18-6 lead. Just before the interval Cooper reduced the arrears to six points and xix minutes after the restart the sides were level thanks to a Bulman try. Williams and Walmsley scored either side of the hour and the last quarter of an hour was stalemate to signal a 32-16 win for the Marras.
The Sheffield Eagles continued Oldham’s pain and also kept their slim hopes of a play-off place alive with a 25-18 win. Langtree put Oldham ahead but James and Davies snatched the lead before a Reilly try tied the sides up at 12-12 at the interval. Millar and Guzdek both scored within the opening fifteen minutes of the second half before a Dupree try for Oldham reduced the arrears to six points. Tyson-Wilson kicked a drop goal five minutes from the end but Oldham didn’t have any more points in them.