Round Nine of the Betfred Championship was spread over Friday, Sunday and Monday with a game on each of the outliers, and five fixtures on Sunday afternoon.
Sheffield and Newcastle got proceedings underway on Friday with the encounter between Featherstone and Bradford chosen as the Monday night Premier Sports game.
The remaining five games saw Dewsbury against Workington, Halifax playing Barrow, Leigh at home to the London Broncos, Widnes entertaining Batley and York taking on Whitehaven.
Despite Newcastle opening the scoring through Nokes on seven minutes it was the Sheffield Eagles who eventually emerged as 34-20 winners. Halahifi, Jones-Buchanan, Farrell and Thackeray all scored in a great first half for the home side as they led 30-4 at the interval. Boafo, Peachey and Sutton all managed second half tries for Newcastle to put them ten behind before a final try from Jones-Bishop, completing his hat-trick secured the win.
Leigh Centurions had a massive 64-0 win over the struggling London Broncos to give a clear indication that they will fight all the way to secure a return to Super League. Smith, Aekins, Macdonald, Nisbet and Mellor all scored four pointers in the first twenty minutes for a 30-0 lead and O´Donnell added another before the interval for a near perfect first half. Smith added a second just after the restart before Reynolds got in on the act. Inu scored a fifteen-minute hat-trick to complete the afternoons destruction and send London on the long, mostly silent, journey home.
Struggling Whitehaven opened the scoring against York through King but Harris and Edwards responded for the City Knights to take a 12-6 lead. Litten drew ´Haven level just after the half hour but Harris regained the lead for the home side just before the break. Two tries in the second half, from Harris and Glover went unanswered for a 30-12 win to keep in touch with the top two.
The Batley Bulldogs recorded a stunning 38-10 victory over a Widnes Vikings side that they kept scoreless until the seventy-fifth minute. Walshaw, Ward, Hooley and Hodson saw the Bulldogs into a 22-0 lead at the interval and when Campbell and Leak added two more after the restart it was a humiliating 34-0. Late tries from Davies and Wilde for Widnes were scored either side of a final try for Campbell to record the famous win.
Dewsbury will count themselves as lucky to have picked up the two points after a Workington fightback almost got the Cumbrians their first points of the season. Butterworth and Clegg had exchanged tries around the half hour for a 6-4 Town lead at the interval but two converted tries from Greensmith before the hour mark gave the Rams an 18-6 lead. Workington fought back well with a try from Young, Barnes adding a third to tie the scores with two minutes remaining. Just when Workington thought that they might get the draw, Knowles kicked a drop goal on the hooter for a 19-18 win to break Workington hearts.
Halifax recorded a confident 40-18 win over the Barrow Raiders, full report available here.
We will bring you a full match report on tomorrows game between Featherstone and Bradford soon after the final hooter.