Toulouse Olympique XIII’s home game against the Batley Bulldogs was again victim of a COVID postponement as the French sides position at the top of the table becomes increasingly stable as they head into the play-offs.
Sunday afternoon therefore saw a six-game round with all games kicking off at three o’clock and some one-sided fixtures on paper such as Halifax against Oldham and Featherstone at Oldham.
There was a mouth-watering tie at York with the City Knights playing the Bradford Bulls while Newcastle were at Dewsbury, Sheffield at London and Widnes travelling up the M6 to Whitehaven.
Poor Oldham took another hammering as they continued their march into League One, this time at the hands of Featherstone Rovers. Parata, Ferres, Welham and Kopczak had all scored tries for Rivers before Hartley got the first Oldham points. Bridge added a second Oldham try just before the interval but not before Kopczak had scored his second of the afternoon for a 26-10 interval lead. The Fev’ procession continued after the break with tries from Ferguson, Parata, Ferres and finally Walker in the 48-10 win.
It seems that whatever Featherstone can do, Halifax can do also as they ran out 48-12 winners over relegation certainties Swinton. Moore (2), Saltonstall, Kavanagh and Harris registered four-pointers in the first half for 26-0 at the interval and despite Swinton grabbing a brace through Lloyd and Hope at the start of the second half the rest of the traffic was only in one direction. Garside, Tibbs, Grix and McComb all scored in the last twenty minutes for the comprehensive win.
The biggest win of the day came for Whitehaven who trounced a struggling Widnes Vikings, this time by 64-6. It was a progression of scorers for the home side with nine separate names on the scoresheet. Dixon, Newton, Bulman, Aiye and Walmsley all scored in the first half for 28-0 with King and Bradley adding two more in the second half before Roby got the only score for Widnes. Jouffret and Phillips completed a miserable afternoon for Widnes as they completed the ‘Haven scoring.
The London Broncos had it easier than they might have expected against the Sheffield Eagles. Boafo scored for London but Johnson replied to give the Eagles the lead before Boafo scored two more for his first-half hat-trick. Broadbent scored just before the interval, so the visitors trailed by 14-12 and it looked like a close game. But the second half was all London with tries from Odgen, Fozard, Walters, Hankinson and Miski completing a 42-12 rout.
Dewsbury drew first blood against Newcastle but it didn’t last long. Fleming had gone over on the sixth minute but tries from Turner, Shorrocks and two from Johnson, along with two Woods goals and a drop goal gave the visitors a 21-4 lead at the break. Johnson completed his hat-trick after the restart before Magrin got another for the Rams but tries from Woods and Bailey put the game beyond doubt. Later tries from Sykes and Garratt reduced the arrears but the last try of the game came from Wright for the Thunder for a 43-22 win.
It looked like the game between York and Bradford was going to be a close affair With Lilley and Ben Evans putting Bradford ahead before Atkins pulled one back for York. Rhys Evans scored just before the break for 20-6 and added a second just after the restart before Green and Kirmond gave the home side some hope. That was extinguished on seventy-two when Johnston scored for the Bulls and Evans completed his hat-trick for a final score of 36-18.