Six of the seven Betfred Championship 2022 games were played on Sunday afternoon with Premier Sports having chosen the intriguing fixture between the Widnes Vikings and Barrow Raiders for broadcast on Monday evening.
Leigh and Newcastle were an early kick off, as was the game between Workington and Sheffield Eagles while Bradford took on Batley and Featherstone hosted Halifax in two West Yorkshire derbies while York travelled to London and Whitehaven entertained Dewsbury.
Leigh didn´t have it all their own way against Newcastle and it took twenty minutes for them to open the scoring through Macdonald. Halsall, with a Shorrocks converted try, edged the Thunder into the lead but tries from Reynolds, Aekins and Smith saw the Centurions ahead by 22-6 at the break. Aekins got a second before Dee pulled one back for Newcastle and Brand and Nokes exchanged further tries around ten minutes from the end for a final scoreline of 34-18 to keep the home side in contention at the top.
Bottom of the table Workington were on the receiving end of another hiding, this time at the hands of the Sheffield Eagles. Farrell opened the scoring on four minutes and was followed over the line by Bass, Thackeray, Oakes and Farrell before the interval for 30-0. Jones-Bishop added another after the interval before the only Workington points of the game at the hands of Teare. Wood, Chrimes and Halafihi all scored in the last quarter of an hour for a big 54-4 win.
Halifax Panthers came close to causing an upset against high flying Featherstone Rovers after taking a 6-4 half time lead thanks to a converted try from Jouffret answered by an unconverted one from Gale. Aston added a second for the Panthers after the break for 12-4 before Smith scored for the home side to narrow the arrears to four points. A converted Hall try on sixty-eight edged Featherstone into the lead but the game was still in the balance until a second try from Hall on the final hooter sealed a 22-12 win to put his side back to the top of the pile.
Whitehaven got their second win of their campaign with a victory over the Dewsbury Rams but it wasn´t without a scare. ´Haven had taken an early lead through Wilkinson but tries from Beharrell and Milnes saw the Rams take a 12-8 lead into the sheds. The second half was one-way traffic as Bradley, Graham, Bishop, Williams and Dixon all scored tries to seal what looked, on paper, like an effortless 40-12 win.
Bradford Bulls sneaked a cheeky one point win over local rivals Batley Bulldogs thanks to a seventy-second minutes Lilley drop goal after the sides had been tied up at 20-20. Murphy and Doyle scored in the first half for Bradford while Hodson and Walshaw scored for Batley for 12-12 at the break. Tindall and Leak exchanged converted tries in the second half and both sides kicked a penalty goal to set up a grandstand finish, but it was the Bulls who scored the all-important game winning one-pointer to shatter Bulldogs dreams.
It was a close affair in London too as only two points separated the Broncos and City Knights after what looked to be a simple away win. Oakes and Williams exchanged early tries but four pointers from Michael and Harris put York ahead by 18-6 at the interval. Clarkson extended the lead just after the restart and it looked like plain sailing but Parata gave the home side some hope on the hour mark. Glover looked to have sewn up the City Knights win on sixty-six when he made it 26-12 but late tries from Parata and Ulberg left the home side just two short of pulling off an upset.
We will bring you a full match report soon after the conclusion of tomorrow nights game.