Hunslet Hawks produced one of the shocks of the season as they handed a surprise boost to their chances of avoiding relegation with a fine 41-24 Championship Shield victory over London Broncos at The Hive.
But the hosts struggled to live with the part time Hawks after the restart, with Ryan Backhouse, Lewis Reed and former Bronco James Duckworth all crossing before Jason Walton was sin binned as London’s frustrations boiled over.
Simon Brown slotted over a drop goal and then added a penalty to make it 35-18 after 65 minutes despite Ben Hellewell’s earlier try offering the Broncos some hope.
Hellewell went over again but there was still time for Jack Lee to score and complete a memorable win for Hunslet, their first two points since a Summer Bash victory over Doncaster in May.
London’s defeat was tempered somewhat by Whitehaven as the Cumbrians overcame second-placed Dewsbury Rams 42-30 at the Tetley’s Stadium to move to within a point of fourth-placed Workington, meaning the Broncos remain three points adrift of the Rams.
The Rams had taken an early 10-0 lead courtesy of Shane Grady‘s brace but Head Coach Glenn Morrison was left to reflect on a first Shield defeat, despite second half four-pointers from Joel Farrell, Matty Wildie, Karl Pryce and Dalton Grant.
But Rovers fired a subtle warning to their Championship Shield rivals as they crossed three times in the second half through Will Sharp, Steve Snitch and Will Milner, to secure their third successive Super 8s win, which extends their advantage at the top to three points.
Meanwhile, Batley Bulldogs kept their slim hopes of a semi final berth alive by beating already-relegated Doncaster 38-20 at the Keepmoat Stadium.
Elliot Cosgrove had scored Batley’s only first half try but the visitors enjoyed much the better of the second period, with Wayne Reittie and Shaun Ainscough each crossing twice alongside scores from Cain Southernwood and Shaun Squires.
Tom Hodson went over late on for Doncaster but they were left to endure a familiar losing feeling after suffering their 25th defeat of the season.