National League Round Up

Castleford Tigers made it 141 points in four days with a 75-12 mauling of Batley Bulldogs, as they, along with Widnes and Whitehaven, start to open a gap on the rest of National League 1. It's much tighter in NL2 though, with Celtic the early leaders. Read on for a full round up.

After Thursday's 66-4 thrashing of so called promotion hopefuls Doncaster Lakers, Castleford followed that up with a 13 try hammering of last season's high flyers Batley. Stuart Donlan notched a hat trick of tries, with two tries each for Tommy Saxton and Richard Owen. It was an ominous display from the home side, who led 45-0 at half time.

Widnes continued their fine start to the season with a comfortable 46-4 win at Sheffield. Bob Beswick's try in the first minute, after he had charged down a Sheffield kick, set the Vikings on their way, with Mick Nanyn, Gavin Dodd, Dennis Moran and Mark Smith all crossing before the break to give the visitors a 30-0 half time lead. A tough schedule, which has seen them play 3 times in 9 days, and 4 times in 12 days, took its toll on the Vikings, who eased off after the break, but stretched their lead with further tries from Nanyn, Jordan James and Damien Blanch.

Whitehaven are the only other NL1 team with a 100% record as they disposed of Dewsbury Rams 28-12. The Rams put up a great fight, and were well in the game at half time, but second half tries from Craig Calvert, Steve Maden and John Duffy were enough to seal a third win of the season for Haven.

Nobody else in NL1 has picked up two wins. The best anyone else can offer, other than Batley (1 win, 1 draw), is 1 win and a bonus point. Leigh are in 5th place following their much needed 52-18 hammering of Doncaster, Danny Halliwell notching a hat trick on his return for the club, with Halifax joining Leigh on 4 points following a 38-20 win away at struggling Rochdale.

In National League 2, Celtic Crusaders and Barrow Raiders lead the way after yet another impressive display. The Crusaders came away from Cougar Park having dispatched Keighley by 62-12, meaning they've now scored 172 points in just 3 games. Barrow have been in equally fine form, Nick Beach scoring 4 tries in a 65-10 mauling of Gateshead Thunder.

Leading the chase to catch the top two are Featherstone Rovers and Swinton Lions. Rovers fell to their first loss of the season on Sunday, losing 16-13 to an improving Workington Town outfit, who are just a point behind Rovers. Swinton meanwhile, continued their patchy start to the season with a hard fought 34-26 victory over London Skolars.

Oldham picked up their first league win in over 18 months, defeating Blackpool Panthers 40 points to 20, whilst relegated York City Knights fell to a surprise home defeat against Hunslet Hawks, going down 19-14. 

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