The Championship Chat: Round 2

There wasn’t any shocks to note in the second round of Kingstone Press Championship action, but that won’t stop us taking a look back and analysing some of the key details from the weekend just gone. We’ll start with the first game of the round, which came in Sheffield on Friday.

Eagles fly high over ‘Fax

An interesting game to say the least. At half-time, Sheffield and Halifax had played out 40 minutes of rugby without conjuring up a point between them. But the second half, and especially the opening ten minutes or so, was a totally different matter. Four tries for the hosts had put the game beyond any realistic doubt – two tries from ex-Fax winger Rob Worrincy and a try apiece for Cory Aston and Menzie Yere had blown the floodgates wide open. Will Sharp hit back later on in the half for Richard Marshall’s Halifax side but no comeback was forthcoming. An Elliot Minchella try was the icing on top of the cake for the Eagles, who go into next weekend’s tie with Batley Bulldogs at the summit of the Championship table. Halifax make the journey up to Cumbria for a match with Workington Town on Sunday – both sides will be looking to make amends for their respective defeats in round two.

Rovers and Bulldogs play out tough battle

It was always going to be a close match, especially after the round one matches which saw Batley beat Leigh and Featherstone keep Bradford to a respectable scoreline. Featherstone, in their first home match of the year, won by a slender two points – a Kyle Briggs penalty goal in the second half making all the difference. At the break, the Rovers were 12-6 ahead after two tries in three minutes from Ash Handley and Misi Taulapapa. Batley had initially taken the lead through fullback Dave Scott but the hosts hit back with a vengeance. A Briggs penalty goal extended his side’s advantage to two scores but the nerves started to become a factor when the Bulldogs’ Wayne Reittie latched on to a grubber kick on the hour mark. However, Jon Sharp’s Featherstone held on to claim victory and now they can focus on the challenge that Whitehaven will pose at the Recreation Ground on Saturday.

Centurions get back on track

Leigh, without halfback Ryan Brierley who was surprisingly left out of the squad, encountered no problems against Oldham on Sunday. A 48-18 victory would have been just what coach Neil Jukes will have wanted to see as his chargers got their first win of the Championship season. Although the hosts only had a 14-point lead at the interval, they soon put on the afterburners by scoring five tries in 17 minutes. Tries from Jonathan Pownall, Lee Smith, and a brace courtesy of Adam Higson – with two out of the four tries being converted – brought Leigh to 20 points for the first half while Oldham got on the board through Tom Ashton and a conversion from Lewis Palfrey. A second half hat-trick by Sam Hopkins as well as tries from Fuifui Moimoi and Reni Maitua made the afternoon a whole lot more comfortable but, to their credit, the visiting Roughyeds made a fist of it in the latter stages of the match and crossed the whitewash on two more occasions. Adam Clay and Palfrey were the try-scorers, and both scores were converted by the latter as the leading League 1 side of 2015 left the Leigh Sports Village with their heads rightly held high.

Top try-scorers after round 2..

4 – Steve Tyrer (Halifax)

4 – Josh Guzdek (Dewsbury)

4 – Lee Gaskell (Bradford)

3 – Sam Hopkins (Leigh)

3 – Cory Aston (Sheffield)

3 – Rob Worrincy (Sheffield)

3 – Rob Lever (Swinton)

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