The Championship Chat: Round 16

Bradford downed by a Syko
Paul Sykes came back to haunt former club Bradford Bulls on Sunday as he kicked a last minute penalty goal to guide Dewsbury Rams to a 16-14 win at the Provident Stadium. In Rohan Smith’s first home game in charge of Bradford, the hosts were misfiring from the off and the Rams, who were hardly impressive themselves in the first half, had a 14-6 lead at the interval. Shane Grady and Josh Guzdek notched converted tries for Dewsbury while Sykes added a penalty goal for good measure. Jay Pitts was the lone try-scorer for Bradford in the first period. A Danny Addy penalty brought the Bulls back to within a score of their opponents before Adam O’Brien cut the deficit further with a four pointer during the final quarter. The conversion was unsuccessful but yet another penalty goal levelled the game in the dying embers of the clash as Smith’s men looked to have rescued a point. However, Dewsbury won the match at the death after the hosts were penalised for holding a Rams player back following a chip-and-chase. Sykes coolly slotted over the kick to send the visiting fans into raptures. Bradford will be looking to bounce back this weekend when they travel to Workington Town while the Rams host Oldham Roughyeds.

Batley stay in third
Batley Bulldogs, despite a slow start which saw them go 6-0 behind in the early stages courtesy of a Kenny Hughes try, were 42-18 victors over Oldham Roughyeds at the Fox’s Biscuits Stadium. Hughes’ try in the seventh minute got Oldham off to a perfect start but four tries on the spin from Batley put the hosts in a great position at the break. Luke Blake and Wayne Reittie registered a try apiece while James Brown, who is in the form of his life at the moment, scored twice. In the second half, Dominic Brambani and Sam Wood exchanged tries for the hosts and visitors respectively before the former got on the scoresheet again in the final few minutes. Greg Minikin also carried on his good run of form by crossing the whitewash for Batley, Gary Middlehurst provided a consolation try for Oldham’s efforts with a minute left in the match. The Bulldogs go to Sheffield on Friday night to try and enhance their position in the top four.

Featherstone enter top four
The Bulls’ loss to Dewsbury meant there was good news for Featherstone Rovers as they exited the field at the Big Fellas Stadium on Sunday. The Rovers bounced back from their Summer Bash nightmare against Halifax with a 58-12 win over Swinton Lions. Jordan Baldwinson scored two tries inside the opening 16 minutes for Featherstone while Swinton could only score one in that time period. Nick Gregson notched the Lions’ opening try of the contest. Featherstone’s Bradley Tagg and Swinton’s Shaun Robinson were both shown yellow cards for fighting before Liam Marshall’s converted try in the 23rd minute tied the game up. But it was to be the hosts who ended up with the advantage going into half-time thanks to a Danny Craven try. The second period belonged to Featherstone who outscored their opponents 42-0. Craven completed his double during the half, which also saw four pointers from John Davies, Jamie Cording, Kyle Briggs, Kyran Johnson, Tagg and Ian Hardman. Swinton had another player sent to the sin-bin during the second half as the hero from Blackpool, Matty Beharrell, was penalised for interference. Even though Featherstone are now in fourth, the Bulls still have a game in hand on Jon Sharp’s men and a win would see the Rovers drop to fifth. Featherstone take on Leigh Centurions this weekend while Swinton head back to home turf for a clash against London Broncos.

Leigh roll on

Winning can become a habit and that certainly seems to be the case for Leigh Centurions and London Broncos. The Centurions, with Travis Burns on debut, beat Whitehaven 36-12 at the Recreation Ground. Burns scored twice for the visitors while teammates Josh Drinkwater, Adam Higson, Cory Paterson and Tom Armstrong all crossed the whitewash themselves. The game was close at the halfway stage with both sides cancelling each other out by scoring 12 points apiece. Leigh forward Dayne Weston was sin-binned in the latter stages of the first half but the Centurions managed to avoid a banana skin as Burns starred in the second period to guide his side to victory.

London beat Cumbrian opponents
London were free-scoring once again as they defeated Workington 50-28 at Trailfinders Sports Ground. Elliot Kear scored two tries while seven other players got themselves over the whitewash for the Broncos, who took a step closer to Qualifiers rugby. Scott Leatherbarrow, Api Pewhairangi, Alex Foster, Andy Ackers, Mark Ioane, James Cunningham and Rhys Williams all touched down for the capital side during the contest. Brett Carter, Jack Murphy, Matthew Gee, Jarrod Sammut and Oliver Gordon were the try-scorers for Workington, on another disappointing day at the office for the division’s basement side.

Halifax hammer Sheffield
Following on from their dominant victory against Featherstone Rovers at the Summer Bash, Halifax put Sheffield Eagles to the sword at The Shay. Richard Marshall’s side put 60 points past an Eagles side who must have the threat of relegation on their mind ahead of a tough Championship Shield campaign. Adam Tangata and Ben Blackmore swapped scores for the hosts and visitors respectively in the opening exchanges, before Halifax grabbed the bull by the horns and raced away. Gareth Moore grabbed a first half brace while Salford loanee Matt Sarsfield added to his ever-growing try collection in a Fax jersey. The second half started as it meant to go on, with Will Sharp touching down after Rob Worrincy fumbled a cross-field kick. Sarsfield registered his second and third tries of the game within the space of three minutes as the Eagles were sinking without a trace. Matt James and Ryan Millar did notch consecutive tries for the steel city club just before the hour mark but the shoddy defence returned to the delight of Fax. Miles Greenwood and Moore both touched down for the West Yorkshire side before Jacob Fairbank rounded off the scoring with a four pointer on 70 minutes. Tough times for the Eagles while Halifax seem to be hitting form at the right time, similar to last year.

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