Championship Round-up 19 – Bradford go top

Bradford Bulls hit the Kingstone Press Championship top spot for the first time this season as they overcame Batley Bulldogs 34-16 at Odsal.

With Leigh Centurions doing battle with Warrington Wolves in the Challenge Cup on Saturday, the Bulls took full advantage in a hard-fought West Yorkshire derby.

The Bulldogs threatened an upset when winger Alex Brown opened the scoring, but Adam Henry went over for a brace after the Bulls got on the scoreboard through tries from Jay Pitts and James Mendeika, leaving the hosts 20-10 up at the interval.

However, with Wayne Reitte crossing for the visitors on 36 minutes, John Kear’s men were still in the contest. 

But former Bradford man Shaun Ainscough was sent off shortly after the hour and the Bulls went on to take advantage of the extra man.

Although Alex Rowe crossed over on 71 minutes for Batley, Danny Williams and Matty Blythe added further tries for Bradford to help clinch a 17th-successive league win which leaves them two points clear at the top.

Meanwhile at Keighley’s Cougar Park, Halifax ran in eight tries as they overcame London Broncos 46-22 to record a fifth consecutive win.

Richard Marshall’s in-form side were away from the Shay due to pitch maintenance work, but they made light work of the change of scenery thanks to tries from Dane Manning, Ben Kaye, Ben Johnston, Steve Tyrer and James Saltonstall which handed the West Yorkshire side an impressive 30-6 interval lead.

The Broncos, who went ahead through Rhys Williams‘ second-minute try, regrouped after the break and restored some pride when Williams crossed the whitewash again. 

Oscar Thomas and Wes Naiqama also touched down.

But Halifax were not to be denied their 12th win of the season, which bolsters their chances of a top four finish, as a second-half brace of tries from Ross Divorty alongside a score from Mitch Cahalane added extra gloss to a comprehensive victory.

Meanwhile in South Yorkshire, Sheffield Eagles consolidated third place in Kingstone Press Championship with a 26-6 win over Workington at Doncaster’s Castle Park.

Workington gave a debut to new signing Jarrod Sammut and had Wigan centre Ian Thornley making his comeback from injury on dual-registration, and Phil Veivers’ men opened the scoring thanks to a Brett Carter try on 21 minutes.

However, the Eagles made it 6-6 at the break with Quentin Laulu-Togaga’e going over for a converted score.

He added a second after half time, while Steve Thorpe, John Davies and Duane Straugheir also touched down and Kyle Briggs kicked three goals to help record a comfortable win for the Eagles.

Meanwhile, reigning Championship Coach of the Year Paul Cooke scored two tries on his debut for Featherstone Rovers in a 42-34 win over Hunslet Hawks at the South Leeds Stadium.

Cooke, who left his role as player-coach of Doncaster earlier this season, touched down twice before half-time and winger Will Sharp did likewise in the second half. 

Gareth Moore, Ian Hardman and Alex Foster got Rovers’ other tries, with Paul Sykes kicking seven goals.

Jack Lee scored two second-half tries for Hunslet, whose others came from Kyle Trout, Andy Kain, Jimmy Watson and Vinny Finigan – Jordan Lilley kicking five goals – but it wasn’t enough for Barry Eaton‘s men to pull off an upset.

Finally, Doncaster look all-but set for a drop into League One next season as they fell to a 50-18 home defeat at the hands of fellow strugglers, Whitehaven.

The Dons, who’s losing run now extends over 300 days since they overcame Halfax 39-18 in August last year, had no answer to the imperious ‘Haven who found themselves 50-0 up after 44 minutes. They ran in nine unanswered tries through Scott McAvoy, who scored twice, Dave Allen, Grant Gore, Chris Taylor, Jesse-Joe Parker, Jordan Sigismeau, Ben Davies and Dion Aiye.


The Dons were able to muster a response late in the game with scores from Paul Mennell, Jansin Turgut and Kyle Kesik, but the hosts’ efforts proved to be nothing more than a consolation at they crashed to their 23rd-successive defeat.

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