Championship Round-up – Week 3

Bradford Bulls pulled off the result of the day in Round Three of the Kingstone Press Championship as an outstanding 80 minute performance saw them run out out 40-4 winners away against Featherstone Rovers.

Much of the pre-match build-up surrounded Rovers’ return to The Big Fella’s Stadium following their significant ground renovation, but the Bulls were in the mood to spoil the party.

In front of a 6,346 crowd, the biggest turn-out of the weekend, the visitors, who now appear to be ominously settling into Championship life, ran in seven tries with Lee Gaskell kicking off the scoring on 18 minutes, before Adrian Purtell and Chris Ulugia helped take the Bulls clear with tries on the stroke of half time.

Ryan Shaw added all three conversions and the former Barrow Raiders centre crossed for a score of his own on 42 minutes before Adam O’Brien and Jean-Phillipe Baile both crossed to make it 30-0 on 47 minutes.

James Lockwood finally gave the home fans something to cheer with a try on 50 minutes, but Gaskell and Ulugia both went on to notch their second tries of the day during the final ten minutes to complete the rout.

Meanwhile, reigning champions Leigh Centurions continued their perfect start to the season with a comfortable 25-12 win over London Broncos in front of a healthy 4,531 crowd.

The Centurions, who are now the only unbeaten side the the competition, began well with tries from Kurt Haggerty and free-scoring winger Liam Kay, plus two kicks from Martyn Ridyard, handing the hosts a 12 point advantage after just 13 minutes.

However, London, whose head coach Joey Grima didn’t travel with the squad due to illness, mustered a response through Erjon DollapiWes Naiqama adding the extras.

But Leigh stormed ahead with Tom Armstrong scoring either side of a Ryan Brierley try to give the hosts a commanding 24-6 lead after 43 minutes.

Rhys Williams crossed late on but that proved to be only a consolation as Ridyard wrapped up the scoring with a drop-goal as the final hooter sounded.

In Batley, the Bulldogs suffered their first defeat of the 2015 season, falling to a 6-2 defeat against Halifax at the Fox’s Biscuits Stadium.

In a game which goes down as one of the lowest-scoring clashes ever in the summer era, Scott Leatherbarrow gave the hosts the lead with a penalty on 35 minutes, but the visitors responded soon after, scoring the only try of the game through Australian half-back Matthew Place. 

Steve Tyrer converted to hand his side a slender four point advantage at the break and Fax hung on for a hard-fought win after a scoreless second half.

Staying in West Yorkshire, Hunslet Hawks produced something of a shock in round three as they overcame Dewsbury Rams 18-6 at the South Leeds Stadium.

A scrappy first half saw Simon Brown dominate proceedings, kicking three penalty goals to hand the Hawks a 6-0 advantage before George Flanagan burrowed over from close range to take his side 12 points ahead as the interval approached.

Vinny Finigan crashed over on 49 minutes to take the home side 16-0 ahead before Ryan Hepworth finally responded for the Rams on the hour to give the visiting supporters some hope. But Hunslet held out and another Brown goal late on secured a first win of the season for Barry Eaton‘s men.

In Cumbria, Workington Town also earned their first win of the season with a 33-6 victory over Doncaster.

Town were on top in the opening stages with tries from Sam Forrester and Wigan loanee Dom Manfredi giving the hosts an early 8-0 lead. But Pasqualle Dunn halved the deficit before a Dave Scott conversion reduced the margin to just two points.

However, the Cumbrians turned on the style in the second half with Callum Phillips and Perry Whiteley crossing before the hour. Karl Olstrum then scored to secure the win before Carl Forber converted his own try on 78 minutes.

Forber kicked all of his four goals in the second half and Jamie Doran added a late drop goal to add extra gloss to the scoreline.

Finally, Whitehaven’s wait for their first win of the season goes on as they suffered a 20-6 home defeat against Sheffield Eagles.

New Haven coach James Coyle officially took charge of his side for the first time and they began positively, leading 6-4 mid-way through the first half thanks to a Danny Craven try.

 

But, Pat Walker had scored the game’s opening try and the Eagles added further scores through Scott Turner, who scored twice, Quentin Laulu-Togagae and Menzie Yere, with Dom Brambani, surprisingly, missing all his kicks at goal.

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