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The penultimate games of the regular rounds in the Championship saw a couple of crunch matches which would have a considerable bearing on which sides would be playing their rugby in the qualifying eights from the middle of August.

Featherstone against London was the most appealing of fixtures, but many supporters would have had an eye on Halifax against Toulouse, and Leigh against Swinton as the sides from second to sixth jostled for the remaining three spots.

Toronto Wolfpack and Rochdale Hornets got the weekend underway on Saturday night where the Hornets were the latest to the slaughter at the hands of the runaway league leaders. As it has been all season it was easy for Toronto and they opened up a 26-0 half time lead thanks to tries from Ackers, Buchanan, Wheeler, Sidlow and Whiting. Paterson added a sixth try just after the break before Cross avoided the nilling with a four pointer for Rochdale. Stanley and Hopkins both scored for the Wolfpack for 42-4 before Taira scored for Rochdale to get them into double figures. Kay and Wheeler, with his second, brought the Wolfpack home for the 52-10 win.

Two tremendously close games took place on Sunday afternoon between the sides jostling for position. Halifax took an early lead through Tyrer but Canets converted try soon after allowed Toulouse to draw level. Kaye scored on twenty for a 12-6 interval lead. After a Murrell drop goal for ‘Fax, Bretherton got a converted try for the visitors for 13-12 and when Kheirallah kicked a penalty on sixty eight it was Toulouse in the driving seat at 14-13. With seven minutes remaining Grady scored Halifax’s third try and Tyrer added the conversion for a 19-14 lead with the home side hanging on for a crucial win which lifts them into the top four, knowing that a home win against bottom side Rochdale next week will guarantee them entry into the qualifiers.

Featherstone Rovers and London Broncos had a tense encounter at the LD Nutrition Stadium.  Smith scored the first try of the game two minutes before half-time and when Hardman converted and then kicked a drop-goal it was Fev’ who had a 7-0 half-time lead. The second half went London’s way with Dixon, Walker and Sammut all scoring tries in a twenty minute spell. Sammut only managed to convert one of them but it was enough for a 14-7 win which maintains London’s top four spot and leaves them needing a win in Barrow next weekend for the top four.

Leigh Centurions kept their hopes alive, but will be disappointed in the scores around them. Hansen, Dawson (2), Thompson, Hall and Hood all scored first half Leigh tries with Barlow’s effort on the half hour being Swinton’s only response. At 34-6 at half-time Leigh were looking to a stronger second half to improve their points difference. But Swinton wouldn’t roll over. Fairclough and Lloyd made it 34-18 before Hall and Mata’utia put Leigh 44-18 ahead. Shelford got a converted try ten from the end for Swinton but Hutchinson brought up the Leigh fifty for a final score line of 50-24.

It was a real battle in the heavy woollen derby as Dewsbury eventually triumphed by 23-20. Day put Batley ahead but Walshaw edged the Rams into a lead just a minute before Leak  re-established the Bulldogs lead at 10-6 where it stayed until the break. Dewsbury had a great start to the second half with tries from Ryder, Potts and a second from Walshaw putting the home side 22-6 ahead. Knowles added a drop goal before a late Bulldogs fightback saw Bretherton and Walker over the whitewash but it was too little and too late.

Sheffield Eagles lifted themselves above their opposition today, Barrow, and into eighth place with a 28-10 win. James and Blackmore gave the Eagles a 10-0 lead but Carter grabbed one back just before the interval for Barrow. Aston made it 16-4 just after the restart and a Pownall try and Dallimore conversion got Barrow back to within six at 10-16 on the hour mark. The Eagles romped home with tries from Aston and Yere in the closing stages to seal the victory.

We are still no clearer about the make-up of the middle eights with any three from five still able to join the Toronto Wolfpack as they will take on Super Leagues; Leeds Rhinos, Hull KR, Salford Red Devils and Widnes Vikings. Toulouse, London and Halifax are in the position of knowing that wins against Dewsbury, Barrow and Rochdale will be enough to secure them a berth in the qualifiers.

Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sun 22nd Jul 2018 5:35 PM | Views : 12232 | Replies : 0 | BACK TO STORIES
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