Championship Round-up – Week 1

Featherstone Rovers rounded off the first weekend of Championship fixtures with a 28-14 win over Hunslet Hawks at Wakefield’s Rapid Solicitors Stadium on Monday night.

The Hawks, tipped by many to struggle this season, started well and were 8-6 ahead at the break after Callum Casey responded to an Ian Hardman try with Simon Brown kicking a penalty on the hooter.

Liam Mackay and Jack Bussey traded scores before the 50 minute mark but Fev pulled clear soon after with Ben Blackmore scoring twice and Paul Sykes going over for a debut try to seal the points.

Leigh Centurions took the headlines on Sunday with a dramatic 36-24 win over Bradford Bulls.

In front of an impressive 7,449 crowd at Leigh Sports Village, the two heavyweights of the division produced a classic.

In a first half which was punctuated by bust-ups and sin-binnings, the Bulls dominated. 

They went 10-0 up after just ten minutes following tries from Adam O’Brien and Chev Walker, but Ryan Brierley hit back for the hosts four minutes later.

At 10-6, the tie was finely balanced and tempers flared – both sides going down to 11 men mid-way through the first half. The Bulls added to their lead through Jake Mullaney and Etu Uaisele as half time approached – the visitors held an ominous 20-6 lead at the break.

But Leigh improved in the second half with Liam Kay and Gregg McNally going over to reduce the arrears before the hour. Then, FuiFui MoiMoi laid the platform for Tom Armstrong to go over with an exceptional break on 64 minutes. Martyn Ridyard kept up his 100 per cent record with the boot to put the hosts in front for the first time.

A pulsating finish was to come with Adam O’Brien swinging the game in Bradford’s favour but Harry Seijka missed the simple conversion to leave the visitors just two points ahead. 22-24.

McNally took advantage to edge his side ahead once more before Ridyard added a penalty to seal the win. Sean Penkywicz added extra gloss to the scoreline on the hooter to send the home fans into delirium.

Meanwhile, Dewsbury Rams got their season off to a flying start, beating Sheffield Eagles 19-10 in the first ever game of the Championship’s #RLNewEra on Friday night.

The Rams were looking to end a 16 game losing streak against Sheffield but the visitors looked sharp from the off and took the lead though Scott Turner in 16 minutes before Pat Walker’s converted try took the Eagles ten points ahead.

But the home side launched a fightback almost immediately with Dalton Grant and Anthony Thackeray going over as the minutes ticked down to half time. The Rams led 12-10 at the break and the second period was tight but Dewsbury finally secured the two points with seconds to go as Dalton Grant crossed in the corner to bring eight years of hurt to an end.

London Broncos got their Championship campaign off to a positive start with a 26-22 win over Doncaster.

In front of the lowest crowd of the round, 976, the Broncos flew out of the blocks, Ray Nasso, Daniel Harrison and Wes Naiqama helping build a 14-0 lead after 15 minutes. 

Williams was over again mid-way through the first period before Naiqama scored again on 47 minutes to give the hosts a 26-0 lead.

But Doncaster launched an incredible response, Feka Paleaasina, on dual registration from Hull, scored six minutes later and Sam Doherty made it 26-12 on the hour. Lee Waterman took the Dons to within eight points as the tie entered the final 15 minutes before Doherty notched his second of the day with five to go, but the Broncos held on.

Shaun Squires scored four tries in Batley’s demolition of Workington. Town, who had England international Lee Mossop in their line-up, began the game on top and went ahead on 17 minutes through Callum Phillips, but Squires mustered a response just six minutes later before putting his side 10-6 ahead on 23 minutes.

The former Shaw Cross centre completed a 15 minute hat trick with five to go in the first half before sealing the win on 68 minutes. Alex Bretherton scored late on to give the scoreline a more comfortable look.

Whitehaven produced an admirable display following the surprise departure of Steve Deakin last week but Halifax ran out 44-18 winners at the Recreation Ground.

Steve Tyrer and Lee Greenwood helped Fax to a 10 point lead after as many minutes before James Saltonstall, Alex Brown and Adam Robinson all scored twice, with Luke Ambler also going over – Tyrer notching four two-pointers.

Jordan Burns, Paul Johnson and Grant Gore scored for Haven with player-coach Brett Seymour kicking two goals, but it wasn’t enough as the hosts fell to an opening day defeat.

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