With Toulouse Olympique XIII having an away game to complete their season we had a full final round of the Betfred Championship with all fourteen sides in action including that visit of the Minor Premiers to Newcastle to take on the Thunder.
Play off places were up for grabs on Sunday with six three o’clock kick offs which included; Bradford against Whitehaven, Halifax versus Batley and York playing the London Broncos.
Elsewhere Featherstone were expected to beat a struggling Sheffield Eagles side while Widnes should have been too much for Swinton in the same way the Dewsbury should have found it easy going against Oldham.
It was a massacre for the Newcastle Thunder as they crashed to an 82-12 loss to Toulouse, the only tries for the home side on seven a fifty-five minutes from the hands of Roebuck with Woods converting both. The home side were already behind to a Hitchcox opener before equalising, but it was then all downhill as Hitchcox added two more, with Bretherton, Peyroux, Jussaume and Sangare all picking up four pointer for a 36-6 interval lead. Paulo, Bretherton and Sangare all scored again before the second Thunder try, and to complete the big winning score they added more tries from Jassaume, Navarrete, Kheirallah, Marion and a fourth try from Hitchcox in a fifteen try haul, eleven of which were converted by Kheirallah.
While second placed Featherstone Rovers couldn’t score eight-two, they did manage seventy-eight as they destroyed the Sheffield Eagles. Hall had opened the scoring for Fev’ before Johnson equalised for Sheffield, but the rest of the half was one-way traffic. A second from Hall, a Brown hat-trick, and a try for Brown made it 32-6 at the interval and it only got worse for the Eagles. Hall added three more second half tries for a five try haul with Ferres and Gale getting a brace, and Bussey and Hardcastle collecting a try apiece before a very late Worrincy consolation made it 78-10 to the home side.
York never looked in ay real trouble against the London Broncos despite going behind to a Richards try on eleven. Clarkson, Bass and Kirmond scored first half tries for 14-6 at the interval. Marsh, Dow-Nikau and Washbrook gave the home side a 30-6 lead before a fightback saw Hankinson, Jones and Gwaze over for the Broncos to reduce the arrears to just eight. A last-minute Green penalty absorbed any remaining pressure and fear of a comeback for the 32-22 win.
Plucky Swinton lost theit last game in the Championship, depite again taking the lead through a Doyle try. Lawton, Cross and Tyrer scored for the Vikings before an interval which the visitors led by 14-4. Cox gave the home side some hope seven after the restart but it was short-lived as Hatton and Hulme pushed the Vikings out to an uncatchable lead. A late Hamlett try counted for nothing in the 16-26 win, a disappointing season for both sides.
Whitehaven ensured their play-off place with a good win at the Bradford Bulls. The Bulls went into a comfortable lead through tries from Evans, Murphy and Foggin-Johnston as they raced into a 16-0 lead but tries late in the first half from Walker and Jouffret made it 12-16 at the break and gave the away side encouragement. McNally, Taylor and Jouffret all scored inside ten of the restart for 30-16 and a Walmsley try with seventeen remaining sealed the win. Evans added a try ten from the end but the Bulls were already well beaten by 36-22.
Dewsbury made hard work of the win over Oldham despite going eight ahead through Carr and Ryder. Abram and Bridge scored converted tries which saw Oldham 12-8 ahead at the break and an Abram penalty after the restart stretched that lead. Late tries from Ryder and Knowles, both converted and punctuated by a Sykes drop goal secured the 21-14 win in a game which looked to be slipping away from the home side.
A monster fight between Halifax and Batley saw Batley emerge winners and end the season on the same points percentage as their opponents, the Panthers retaining third spot by virtue of a better scored points percentage. Saltonstall had given Halifax the lead but Walshaw and Campbell scored for Batley before the interval for the Bulldogs to have a 12-4 lead. McGrath added a second Halifax try just after the restart for 10-12 but the teams then remained deadlocked until the final hooter for a confidence boosting Bulldogs win.
Toulouse and Featherstone will now have a week off, while Halifax will host Whitehaven, and Batley will entertain Bradford in the opening play-off fixtures next weekend.