National League Round-Up

Widnes put in a superb defensive display to shock Castleford 44-20 at The Jungle to maintain their 100% record – now the only 100% record left in the top 3 divisions of British Rugby League. The Vikings took an early lead through Gavin Dodd, with Mark Smith's try extending their lead to 12-4 at the break. In the second half, a clinical display of finishing saw the visitors race away with the game, before Cas scored three late consolation tries to fall to their first defeat of the season.

It gave Whitehaven the chance to move up to second place, courtesy of a bonus point, if they won at home to Halifax. They duly obliged, a brace each for Richard Fletcher and Derry Eilbeck leading the Cumbrians to a 40-24 win over Halifax, who had led 24-18 at one point.

Doncaster put together a virtually unrecognisable team in their first game since going in to CVA – falling to a 58-12 defeat at Rochdale. Michael Worrincy, Ryan Tandy and Graham Holroyd have been the most high profile exits, with Joel Penny set to move to Widnes this week.

Defeat for the Lakers meant that Leigh moved up to 4th, thanks to a high scoring 44-30 win away at Batley. The Bulldogs found themselves 30-0 down at one stage, but put up a brave second half fight to give the Centurions a scare, who were thankful to a brace of tries from Danny Halliwell and Aaron Heremaia for their win.

On Friday night, Dewsbury continued their steady start to the season, winning 26-12 away at Sheffield Eagles, who fall to the bottom of the table. Ashley Klein was in charge as tries from Kegan Hurst, Bryn Powell, Austin Buchanan and Andrew Bostock saw the Rams home.

National League 2's remaining 100% record went with a bang as Oldham recorded a tremendous 50-18 win over Barrow Raiders. After their on and off the pitch problems of 2006, the Roughyeds have seemingly turned the corner, and picked up their best win in over 2 years here, with Neil Roden scoring a hat trick of tries. Following their awesome second half display in Bridgend against Celtic Crusaders, Oldham must now be a serious contender for promotion.

Workington Town blew the promotion race wide open with a surprise 28-16 win over Celtic Crusaders. The visitors fell to their second defeat in a row, allowed Town to leap frog them in to third place. Carl Forber, Stephen Dawes, Shaun Lunt and Martyn Wilson all crossed for tries for the home side.

With Barrow and Celtic slipping up, Featherstone took full advantage with a 13 try drubbing of Gateshead Thunder. Rovers have been racking up the points in recent weeks and now go 1 point clear at the top of NL2, Danny Kirmond scoring 4 tries.

Two sides that have disappointed this season are Swinton and York, and they fought out a tight game at Park Lane. A dominant first half display laid the foundation for York, as they managed to go away with a 38-26 win, Alex Godfrey and Lee Mapals scoring two tries each. The increased competitiveness of NL2 this year means these two teams may struggle to reach a playoff spot that you'd have put them odds on to reach at the start of the year.

A team quietly undergoing their work unnoticed are Hunslet, who beat Blackpool 30-12. The Hawks are down in 7th, but have games in hand on teams above them, so could join what is becoming an increasingly wide open promotion chase.

That result leaves Blackpool rooted to the bottom of the table, as Keighley Cougars and London Skolars eased away from the bottom place with a 16-16 draw at Cougar Park. Keighley came back from 15-4 down to deny what would have been London's first win of the season. 

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