Championship round-up: Sheffield thump Bradford, Halifax impress & Finnigan draws on Newcastle return

There were plenty of talking points as the Championship made its long-awaited return. 

The recently-rebranded Halifax Panthers made an ideal start to the new season with a 47-14 victory over London Broncos. 

Ed Barber crossed twice, while there were further scores for Elliot Morris, Liam Harris, Zack McComb, Scott Grix, Jacob Fairbank and Conor McGrath. Lebanon international Abbas Miski bagged a brace in response for the visitors. 

Oldham also started the new campaign off on the right foot with a hard-fought 28-20 win against Swinton. 

Trailing 20-10 at the break, the hosts ran in three unanswered second half tries through Ben Heaton (2) and Tyler Dupree.

Featherstone were made to work hard against a spirited Batley outfit to get their season off to the perfect start with a 28-18 triumph at The Millenium Stadium. 

James Webster’s side ran in six tries in total, with five of those players – Craig Kopczak, Kris Welham, Frankie Halton, Fa’amanu Brown and Junior Moors – signed in the off-season. 

Toulouse recovered from an early setback to spoil York City Knights’ first league game at the LNER Community Stadium. 

Ben Jones-Bishop’s superb long range effort put the home side ahead, but tries from former St Helens man Dominique Peyroux and fellow front-rowers Mitch Garbutt and Joe Bretherton steered the French side to victory. 

Lee Greenwood’s Dewsbury marked the start of the new season with a tense 17-8 victory over Whitehaven. 

The visitors started and finished the scoring, but three tries either side of half-time in an 18-minute period – two of which were scored by Matthew Fleming – saw the Rams home, before half-back Liam Finn wrapped up the points with a late drop goal. 

Sheffield crushed an ill-disciplined Bradford outfit 50-12 at the Keepmoat Stadium. 

Aaron Brown, James Glover and Anthony Thackeray all crossed twice as the Eagles put John Kear’s side to the sword. Izaac Farrell also crossed in the second half and added eight points from the boot. Adam Rooks and Joe Brown grabbed the Bulls’ response with quickfire tries just before the hour mark. 

Simon Finnigan’s return to Newcastle as Widnes boss ended in a dramatic late 30-30 draw.

The Vikings led 30-16 with eight minutes left, but a remarkable comeback saw the Championship new boys draw level. Tries from Kieran Gill – his second of the game – Connor Bailey and Jack Johnson got the hosts back into contention, but they couldn’t convert the final try from out wide with time almost up.

Championship round one results:

Halifax Panthers 47-14 London Broncos

Oldham 28-20 Swinton Lions

Featherstone Rovers 28-18 Batley Bulldogs

York City Knights 6-21 Toulouse Olympique

Dewsbury Rams 17-8 Whitehaven

Sheffield Eagles 50-12 Bradford Bulls

Newcastle Thunder 30-30 Widnes Vikings


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