NL Round Up

Castleford failed to hit 60 for the first time this season, but still racked up 56 points in a 50 point hammering of Rochdale. Michael Shenton scored a hat trick, with Kirk Dixon and Stuart Donlan grabbing a brace each. Danny Brough celebrated his player of the month award with six goals.

But Castleford won't have it all their own way as Widnes put in a first class second half performance to see off an impressive Halifax outfit. The visitors were well in the game at the break, two Damian Gibson tries helping Fax tie the game 12-12 at half time. But in the second half, Widnes' class shone through, with Mick Nanyn helping himself to a hat trick and 6 goals, with further tries from Mark Smith, Dennis Moran, Toa Kohe-Love, a wonderful solo effort from Damien Blanch and Jordan James adding to Scott Grix's late first half score.

Whitehaven continue to keep their heads down whilst winning, and their underdogs tag will suit them just fine. Their fourth win from 4 was extremely hard fought though, as they held off a mammoth fight from Batley, who had clawed themselves back from 18-4 down to go in 18 apiece. But two quality tries from winger Craig Calvert saw the visitors home in the second half.

Elsewhere and Doncaster Lakers put their off the field controversy behind them, coming from 26-10 down to defeat Dewsbury 33-26 at Ram Stadium, whilst Paul Rowley celebrated his last game for Leigh by leading his side to a 38-22 against a battling Sheffield Eagles outfit.

In National League 2, the signs are that Celtic Crusaders and Barrow Raiders are going to be battling it out for the title as both recorded impressive wins this weekend. Celtic racked up a record win, beating sorry Swinton 82-4, with player of the month Damien Quinn scoring 4 tries and 11 goals. Barrow weren't so emphatic in their win, but were just as impressive, comfortably defeating relegated York City Knights 30-10.

The only team clinging on to the top two are Featherstone, who showed they wont be a pushover with a 70-24 thrashing of Blackpool Panthers. It leaves Rovers just two points behind the league leaders.

Workington made it three successive wins with a hard fought game over the unlucky London Skolars, 22-12. London have now impressed in a few of their NL2 games, but haven't been able to cross the finishing line in a winning position. In the weekend's other game, Oldham defeated Keighley Cougars 32-20, to record back to back wins for the first time in almost 2 years, and consign the visitors to their fourth straight defeat, albeit with the consolation of their second bonus point of the season.

The table gives interesting reading, with relegated York down in 8th place, outside of the playoffs, and playoff finalists Swinton just two places above them. The early dark horses could well be Hunslet, who have a 100% record but find themselves down in 6th place, due to the fact they've only played 2 games so far this season. Their match with Gateshead was postponed yesterday.

There are two eye catching clashes in each division next weekened, with Leigh looking to put their slow start behind them at home to Castleford, whilst Doncaster, a team with Super League aspirations of their own, are put to the test against unbeaten Whitehaven. In NL2, Hunslet meet Barrow in a clash of two of the three unbeaten sides, whilst Celtic Crusaders look forward to their first display in front of the SKY TV cameras against an ever improving Oldham outfit.

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