With the Saturday evening game between minor premiers Toulouse Olympique XIII and the York City Knights being postponed due to Covid, there was a six game Betfred Championship calendar of fixtures which were all played out on Sunday afternoon.
There was one late kick off between the Sheffield Eagles and Swinton, but the remainder of the games were traditional three o’clock games with some intriguing fixtures as Halifax travelled to Whitehaven, Featherstone were at London, Bradford were playing the Widnes Vikings and there was a heavy woollen derby between the Batley Bulldogs and Dewsbury Rams, while Newcastle had a trip across country to face Oldham.
It was a low scoring battle royal between the Vikings and the Bulls with the Vikings scoring through Owens, a try and a goal, in the first half for a 6-0 interval lead. Lilley scored ten after the restart and added the conversion before kicking a penalty five minutes later to put the Bulls into the lead. Owens responded with a penalty on sixty-seven to level the scores on 8-8. When Brough kicked a drop goal in the seventy-ninth minute he must have thought that the game was won but an Owens penalty goal in the dying seconds snatched victory for the home side.
Whitehaven sprung a shock over the Halifax Panthers with a 19-6 win as the visitors were dealt a slice of reality as they head into the play-offs. Walmsley for Whitehaven and Grix for Halifax exchanged early tries but a Mossop try on twenty-one gave ‘Haven a lead that they wouldn’t relinquish. King scored a third for the home side on forty-nine and a strong defence kept ‘Fax pointless for the last sixty-eight minutes of the game for a 19-6 win thanks to a McNally drop goal with eight minutes remaining.
Oldham scored in the first minutes through Charnock but couldn’t get over again in the first half as tries from Woods and Ta’ai gave Thunder a 12-6 interval lead. Bailey, Gill and Noakes extended the Thunder lead to 28-6 before Dupree put Oldham into double figures. When Donaghy got a four-minute brace just before the hour mark the game was over and two late tries from Roberts didn’t affect the result as Oldham went down by 24-38.
The Dewsbury Rams emerged victorious from the heavy Woollen derby, but it was a struggle against fifth placed Batley. White gave Batley the lead but Ryder and Finn put the visitors ahead on twenty-two. Two tries in two minutes from Senior and Buchanan made it 18-12 but a Gabriel try, and Sykes drop goal gave the Rams a 19-18 half time lead. Garratt and Schofield extended that lead after the interval and a late Broughton try was mere consolation as the Rams ran out as 31-24 winners.
The game between London and Featherstone saw the most points in the day with Rovers eventually winning by 48-28. Gale, Field and a brace from Jones saw Featherstone into a commanding lead with Boafo getting London’s only points of the first half before a fourth Fev’ try from Walker put the visitors 28-4 up at the interval. Hodson got one back for London early in the second half but Holmes and Halton responded for Rovers for 38-10. Boafo got his second on fifty-three with Gale responding within three minutes and while Boafo managed two more tries, for a total of four in the game, he was still on a 28-48 losing side and Jones completed a hat-trick to finish the scoring.
The Swinton Lions registered only their second win of the season in an end to end game with the Sheffield Eagles. Roberts and Gregson had given Swinton the ideal start as they went 10-0 up in eleven minutes but tries from Dickinson, Farrell and Worrincy put the Eagles into a 16-10 half time lead. Butterworth added another Sheffield try soon after the restart for 22-10 before four tries in twenty minutes from Hamlett, Cox, Doyle and Hatton put the visitors into a 34-22 lead. A late try by Farrell got the home side within six but the final hooter sounded a famous Swinton win.