It was a full weekend of games as the Betfred Championship reached round twenty, the matches split over Friday and Sunday with Newcastle Thunder and York City Knights playing the Magic Weekend curtain raiser at the start of the weekend.
The remainder of games were played on Sunday with Toulouse Olympique XIII at the Bradford Bulls, Whitehaven at Batley, London playing bottom side Swinton and the Widnes Vikings looking for some joy in an awful season as they took on Oldham.
The game of the afternoon, on paper, was the clash between Featherstone and Halifax with the round being completed by the late kick-off between Sheffield and Dewsbury.
York got the win on Friday night when the visited Newcastle, amongst the hordes of Super League fans descending on the North-East. Clarkson and Jones-Bishop had put York 12-0 ahead before Clegg reduced the arrears but two tries in two minutes from McGowan made it 24-6 before Johnson scored Newcastle’s second just before the interval. Gill made it 16-24 but a try from Whiteley just before the hour, and a Marsh drop goal inside the last ten minutes saw York as 29-16 winners.
On Sunday afternoon the Bradford Bulls became the latest side to be put to the sword by Toulouse. Armitage (2), White, Bergal and Navarrete all scored in the first half for a 30-0 half time lead, but the French side weren’t going to ease off. Sangare picked up a brace before Bradford registered their only points of the afternoon through Flanagan. Toulouse then kicked on with Bretherton, Casty and Kheirallah getting two to end off proceedings and a 60-6 demolition.
Widnes Vikings also hit their straps at the wrong end of the season as they registered a 62-4 win over Oldham. Lawton (2), Brookes (2), Grady and Cross all scored first half tries with the only points for Oldham coming from Holcroft as Oldham trailed 4-32. Widnes scored another thirty second half points with tries from Aspey, Baker, Craven, Tyrer and a second from Cross in an eleven try haul.
Batley had an upset when they lost at home to Whitehaven after a close first half. Johnson and White scored for the home side while Walmsley got two for ‘Haven for 10-8 at the interval but despite kicking two second half penalties to lead by 14-12 after sixty-seven minutes two tries in the last seven minutes from Dixon and Jouffret secured a 22-14 Whitehaven win.
The London Broncos had the scare of their season as they came within two points of losing to bottom side Swinton. Hansen and Hatton put Swinton 10-0 ahead before Richards and Moran responded and put the Broncos ahead. Ridyard regained the home sides lead on twenty-five but three quick tries from Miski, Adebiyi and Boafo gave London a 28-16 half time lead. Boafo got a second ten after the restart for 34-16 before a valiant Swinton fightback with tries from Butt, Heyes and Roberts getting the home side within two points of the visitors, but they were unable to snatch the win with the Broncos holding on.
The early exchanges between Featherstone and Halifax were pretty even. Welham and McComb swapped early tries before Chisolm gave Rovers the lead by 10-6. Three tries in five minutes from Gale, Chisolm and Blackmore sprinted Featherstone into a 24-12 half time lead and when Jones got another just after the restart it was looking like game over. Blackmore added another home try for 38-12 and it was game over. Tries from Barber and Woodburn-Hall for Halifax were punctuated by one from Gale and when Ferres and Brown added two late tries it was a one-sided score line with Rovers winning by 54-22.
Despite going behind to an early Dewsbury try from Smith, the Eagles led at half time after Dickinson and Thackeray responded with four pointers and Farrell kicked two goals for 14-6. Tomlinson scored just after the break for the Rams to get them within two of their hosts and they snatched the lead on fifty-eight when Schofield scored and extended it through a Finn penalty goal. A Gabriel try on seventy-four put the game beyond Sheffield and a late Worrincy try was too little and too late as the Eagles went down by 24-20.