Championships Review – Round 8

James Gordon

Featherstone continuted their unblemished start to the Championship season with a 76-12 thumping of Keighley.

In the re-arranged Thursday night televised game, Featherstone hosted the Cougars rather than original opponents Toulouse, owing to the ongoing air traffic problems that have hit the UK and much of Europe in recent weeks.

Rovers were quick to stamp their authority on the game and led 30-0 at the break. Liam Finn was the star of the show with four tries, while Kyle Briggs (2), Zak Hardaker, Dane Manning, Andy Kain, Iain Morrison, Michael Coady and Ian Hardman also got on the scoresheet.

Ian Millward’s Leigh kept up the pressure on high-flying Rovers with a hard fought 36-20 win over Sheffield. The Centurions had put themselves in a winnable position, but the sending off of Dave Alstead for a high tackle left them at a disadvantage for more than half the game. The Eagles pushed within four points of the home side, but Leigh held firm to maintain their unbeaten start to the season.

Halifax continuted Whitehaven’s miserable start to the season with a comfortable 28-10 win in Cumbria. Ben Black (2), Shay Royston (2) and Said Tamghart helped Fax home, despite an improved performance from Ged Stokes’ side, who have won just twice this season.

A blistering start helped Widnes record a 32-24 win away at Batley. The Vikings led 18-0 inside the first ten minutes thanks to converted tries from Shane Grady, James Ford and Chris Gerrard, and Paddy Flynn‘s four-pointer shortly before the break gave Paul Cullen’s injury-hit side a 24-0 half time advantage.

Playing down the hill in the second half, Batley hit back and reduced arrears to eight, before a Grady penalty and Flynn’s second try proved enough of a cushion to see the visitors home.

Champions Barrow remain fourth following a 34-24 win over Dewsbury, who remain winless, despite earning their fifth bonus point of the season. Gary Broadbent, Liam Campbell, Liam Harrison, Ned Catic, Nathan Mossop and Anthony Blackwood all crossed for the home side.

In Championship 1, Blackpool survived a first half scare to retain their 100% start to the season with a 48-12 win over Doncaster while leaders Hunslet recorded a 46-8 victory at London.

Swinton held off South Wales Scorpions 20-14 at Park Lane while York got the better of Rochdale in a 70 point thriller at Huntington Stadium, coming out 36-34 winners in Dave Woods’ first league game in charge.

Elsewhere, Oldham thrashed Gateshead 64-10, with winger John Gillam scoring four tries.