Championship round-up: Toulouse and Leigh all but secure play-off places

James Gordon

Toulouse moved up to second in the Championship with a comfortable 28-12 win at Widnes.

After suffering a defeat in the reverse fixture earlier in the season and prior to the Vikings’ administration problems, the French side took a fourth minute lead through recent signing Junior Vaivai, who also scored against Widnes for York earlier in the season.

A Mark Kheirallah penalty put Toulouse 8-0 to the good at half time, and they stretched that lead when Constantine Mika powered over on 47 minutes.

A tidy Jack Owens try, off an inside ball by Tom Gilmore, gave Widnes some hope but it was shortlived.

Ilias Bergal won the race to a kick to touch down in the left corner, before Joe Bretherton breezed through a hole in the Vikings defence for a simple score.

Jordan Dezaria put the game to bed before Hep Cahill’s late consolation as Widnes fell to a fourth straight defeat.

Widnes’ safety still isn’t confirmed, though Barrow squandered another opportunity to give themselves a lifeline as they were beaten 46-22 at home by Bradford.

The damage was done in the first half, the Bulls taking a 32-6 lead as they ensured their faint play-off hopes at least continue for another week.

Elliot Minchella scored a brace of tries and there were scores for Joe Keyes, Matt Garside, Ethan Ryan, George Flanagan, Ross Oakes and Brandon Pickersgill.

Leigh all but secured their play-off berth as they moved up to third with a 50-18 win at relegated Rochdale.

Again, this one was over as a contest well before half-time, when the Centurions led 40-6.

They had eight different try scorers on the day, though Rochdale did at least restore some pride by winning the second half 12-10.

Like Toulouse, Leigh were able to take advantage of York’s 56-6 defeat at Toronto.

A weakened City Knights squad was well beaten by the runaway leaders, for whom Gareth O’Brien scored 22 points.

It was 32-0 at half time, with Josh McCrone and Andy Ackers scoring two apiece, though Knights coach James Ford will hope any potential meeting in the play-offs will be very different.

Swinton’s recent good form was brought to an end with a bump as they were thumped 66-16 by Featherstone.

Rovers were another team keen to get business done early, and they led 28-6 at the break in this one.

Cameron King scored two tries, as did Alex Sutcliffe and Brad Day, wtih Dane Chisholm adding nine goals.

That left it up to Sheffield to keep the play-off race alive, and they did that with a 20-18 win at Halifax.

They led 18-6 at half time and had to hold off a fightback from Halifax, with Pat Walker’s penalty eventually proving the difference.

It means the Eagles are four points adrift of fifth place Featherstone with three games to play.

York are a point further ahead on 33, with Toulouse and Leigh on 34.

There was nothing but local pride on offer in the Heavy Woollen derby, and it was Batley who came out on top, 16-10 over Dewsbury.

The Bulldogs led 14-0 after Wayne Reittie’s try on the hour, though the Rams did mount a late fightback.

Luke Walshaw and Dale Morton tries dragged them back in to it with 10 minutes to play, but after Liam Finn was sinbinned for dissent in the 77th minute, Batley tagged on a penalty through Dominic Brambani and that proved the end of the scoring.