Championship round up: London into top four, Rochdale give Leigh a scare, Sheffield edge Dewsbury

Josh McAllister

Round 21 of the Betfred Championship saw plenty of action across the weekend, including a new team into the top four.

Batley Bulldogs travelled to Lamport Stadium to face in-form Toronto Wolfpack, who lifted the Championship League Leader’s Shield last weekend following their victory over Sheffield Eagles. Half-back Blake Wallace opened the scoring, and Paul Rowley’s side dominated with a 64-18 victory in front of 6,088 fans.

London Broncos hosted top-four rivals Halifax in the capital city, with the two-points crucial for both side’s hopes of a middle eights finish. However, it was Danny Ward’s London team who claimed victory. A late try by Halifax’s Jacob Fairbank, converted by Steve Tyrer, left a tense-last minute for the hosting side, but they kept their cool and climbed into the top four while Halifax dropped to fifth.

Featherstone Rovers secured their place in the Qualifiers, travelling to Heywood Road to face struggling Swinton Lions. Full-back Ian Hardman scored two of his own, and converted 10 out of 10 as his side claimed a 60-4 victory. Mike Butt bagged a late try for home the side – his 40th for the club.

Rochdale Hornets gave Leigh Centurions a scare at the Crown Oil Arena, leading 22-16 at one stage of the game. However, Kieron Purtill’s side came back with a strong 54-32 victory but they remain sixth in the Championship table.

At the rear of the table, Sheffield Eagles hosted Dewsbury Rams, with both sides avoiding the bottom two spots occupied by Swinton and Rochdale. Michael Knowles scored a try on the hooter for the Rams, with Paul Sykes having the chance to snatch a point away from home. However, the veteran stand-off missed the opportunity, which saw Sheffield move up to ninth place in the table with 12 points, while Dewsbury are just three points ahead of the bottom two.

Barrow Raiders, currently struggling with on-going financial issues well-documented by the club, hosted French side Toulouse in the county of Cumbria, and it was the visitors singing the victory song with a 72-6 scoreline. Bastien Ader bagged a hat-trick, while Mark Kheirallah kicked ten goals and crossed the whitewash himself.

With two games left, there’s all to play for in the race to the middle eights. Toronto, Toulouse, Featherstone and London are currently in the top four, closely followed by Halifax and Leigh. Swinton and Rochdale are joint bottom.

Championship Round 21 results:

Barrow Raiders 6-72 Toulouse Olympique (981)

London Broncos 20-18 Halifax (754)

Rochdale Hornets 32-54 Leigh Centurions (1,080)

Sheffield Eagles 30-28 Dewsbury Rams (425)

Swinton Lions 4-60 Featherstone Rovers (610)

Toronto Wolfpack 64-18 Batley Bulldogs (6,088)