The Championship Chat: Round 1, 2017

Featherstone win West Yorkshire derby
Featherstone Rovers beat Halifax 32-26 at the MBi Shay to secure a hard-fought first Championship victory. The Rovers held a 16-10 advantage at the break thanks to tries from Luke Briscoe, Josh Hardcastle and Ash Handley. Jacob Fairbank and Rob Worrincy were the try-scorers for Halifax to cut Featherstone’s lead to just one score. Marshall’s Fax side set off like a house on fire in the second half with two converted tries from Adam Tangata and Scott Murrell. The six-point advantage was cut to two when Hardcastle completed his brace on 50 minutes. Mitch Cahalane, prop for Halifax, was sin-binned soon after and discipline soon became a problem for the hosts and two successive penalty goals from Kyle Briggs put Featherstone in front. Things got even more interesting soon after when Tyrer restored Halifax’s lead in the latter stages of the match but there was still one last twist in the tale. Briggs kicked his third penalty of the game to level the scores once again before scoring the winning try to send the visiting fans into ecstasy. Big games, big players and Briggs certainly showed he’s one of them.

Hull KR sail past Bulls
Hull Kingston Rovers claimed an opening day 54-24 win against Bradford Bulls at KCOM Craven Park. Tim Sheens’ side were 30-12 up at the halfway stage following tries from Andrew Heffernan, James Donaldson, Ryan Shaw and a Nick Scruton brace. Bradford’s scores came courtesy of Liam Kirk and Ross Oakes. James Greenwood, Jamie Ellis and Adam Quinlan racked up four pointers in the second half prior to Ethan Ryan and Heffernan swapping scores for Bradford and KR respectively. Iliess Macani bagged the final try of the game for the visitors, who will be quietly confident despite the loss.

Sheffield fall to defeat at hands of Roughyeds
Mark Aston’s Sheffield Eagles lost 26-10 against Oldham at Bower Fold on Sunday. Matty Fozard got the first score of the afternoon before Danny Langtree responded to cut the deficit to two points at the break. The second half was a completely different story as the hosts racked up two consecutive tries through Sam Gee and Dave Hewitt. Leatherbarrow kicked a penalty goal prior to Ryan Millar getting the Eagles back in the game with his side’s second try of the afternoon. However, Langtree completed his brace and Leatherbarrow kicked another penalty to seal the win for Scott Naylor’s side.

Rochdale and Toulouse hammer Heavy Woollen sides

What an introduction to the Championship for Rochdale Hornets and Toulouse Olympique. Both teams were impressive against their respective opponents and racked up big victories. Rochdale beat Dewsbury Rams 46-0 at the Crown Oil Arena and were 22-0 up at the break. Two tries from Ben Moores as well as the efforts of Samir Tahraoui and Danny Yates gave the hosts a comfortable advantage. The second half saw things get better when Jo Taira, Rob Massam, Lewis Galbraith and Ryan Maneely all scored for the Hornets.

Toulouse defeated Batley Bulldogs 44-6 at Stade Ernest-Argeles on Saturday afternoon. Alistair Leak opened the scoring for the visitors in the early stages before Toulouse ran away with the game thanks to a first half hat-trick from Kuni Minga and a lone score courtesy of Gavin Marguerite. Tyla Hepi kept the pressure on in the second half with Olympique’s fifth try of the game before Rhys Curran and Clement Boyer both touched down in the space of two minutes. The French side finished with a flourish as Tony Maurel and Marguerite both added tries in the final quarter.

London start with close win
The Broncos got off to a winning start in the Championship with a 26-23 win over Swinton. Despite this, it was John Duffy’s Lions who were 16-10 up at the break courtesy of a Liam Forsyth brace and Shaun Robinson single. Rhys Williams and Jarrod Sammut were the try-scorers for London in the first period. After the restart, Tom Davies extended Swinton’s lead and a shock looked to be on the cards. However, William Barthau and Mark Ioane struck converted tries in the space of five minutes to level the game at 22-22. Swinton’s Chris Atkin kicked a drop goal with 11 minutes to go but the decisive try went the way of Daniel Harrison, who benefited from good work by Eddie Battye.

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