The Championship Chat: Round 12

Eagles stop the rot
For most of their match against Dewsbury Rams on Friday evening, it looked like Sheffield Eagles were going to slip further down the league with another loss to their name. However, the steel city side showed a lot of character and spirit to overturn a 20-point deficit to win 32-28 at SHU Sports Park. Rob Worrincy scored twice but the most significant score of the game went the way of Menzie Yere, who in the last minute broke down the flank and evaded numerous Dewsbury defenders to touch down for the winner. A big play by the Papua New Guinea international, and it might have just kept his side’s top four aspirations alive for another week at least.

Halifax and Leigh survive scares

Two interesting games at The Shay and Leigh Sports Village this weekend as both home sides gained wins but not without a battle. Halifax were leading for pretty much all of the afternoon but a late Workington rally brought the game back to 36-32 with a minute left. Town managed to break the defensive line of Halifax in the final tackle of the afternoon but a one-on-one ball steal from Dane Manning sealed the victory for the West Yorkshire side. Meanwhile, at Leigh, the Centurions had to score two tries in as many minutes to come back from a 30-25 deficit. Similar to the game at The Shay, the hosts seemed to have control of proceedings until Batley notched three tries in nine minutes to hit the front. Tries from Alex Bretherton, Dom Brambani and James Harrison helped the Bulldogs to an unlikely advantage but they couldn’t keep hold of their slender lead for the remaining six minutes. Lee Smith and Sam Hopkins both crossed the whitewash for Neil Jukes’ men in the dying embers to maintain the Centurions’ unbeaten home record in 2016.

London win battle of the full-timers
What a season it is turning out to be for Andrew Henderson’s London Broncos. With their latest victory coming against Bradford Bulls at the Trailfinders Sports Ground, the Broncos are one point shy of top place and seven points clear of fifth-placed Batley. Bradford, who lost the match 30-16, were six points up at half-time but things fell apart as the second period progressed. The Broncos scored four tries in the second half while the visitors could only muster a penalty goal to add to their tally. Andy Ackers bagged a brace in the final 40 minutes while winger Rhys Williams completed his double on the hour after already scoring in the first half. Bradford’s Dale Ferguson had been sin-binned just before Williams’ second try and the Broncos, who were 24-16 up going into the final ten minutes, ended the match as a contest through a James Cunningham score. There were some unsavoury scenes in the dying embers of the tie as numerous players from either side clashed which resulted in sin-binnings for Nick Slyney and Mitch Clark of London and Bradford respectively.

Oldham and Swinton keep proving critics wrong
Another week in the Championship saw wins for both Oldham Roughyeds and Swinton Lions. Oldham, after their disappointing defeat to Whitehaven the week prior, bounced back with a win on home turf against Featherstone Rovers. A 16-14 triumph was well fought for and coach Scott Naylor will be mightily impressed by the desire his side showed. Tries from Kenny Hughes, Jack Holmes and Liam Johnson helped the Bower Fold outfit to victory. Swinton put on a second half masterclass to beat Whitehaven 32-26 after going into half-time 26-10 down. The Lions kept the Cumbrians to a blank in the final 40 minutes while they notched four tries of their own to flip the game on its head. Gabriel Fell, Macauley Hallett – who had already scored in the first half – Rhodri Lloyd and Liam Marshall were the try-scorers for John Duffy’s team. Two young British coaches doing magnificent jobs to say the least and this is exactly what the Championship should be about.


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