The Championship Chat: Round 22

Leigh keep unbeaten streak alive
Leigh Centurions always seem to find a way to win a game, no matter how they’ve played. Their most recent victory, against Sheffield Eagles on Friday night, was decided by a Gareth Hock try in the 79th minute. They just know when to turn it on. Leigh went into half-time with an 18-16 lead despite being 16-4 down at one stage. Menzie Yere opened the scoring for Sheffield before Gregg McNally, on his return to the Leigh side, scored straight from a scrum play. Duane Straugheir and Scott Wheeldon then touched down for the Eagles before the Centurions finished the first period in style with scores from Tom Armstrong and Martyn Ridyard, as well as a penalty goal from the latter. After the break, Nathan Chappell regained Sheffield’s lead prior to Andrew Dixon levelling things up. Eze Harper put the visitors back in front with a try in the 64th minute but eight straight points from the Eagles soon turned the game on its head. Yere notched his second try of the contest before Cory Aston kicked a penalty goal. However, there was one final twist in the tale as Hock latched on to a Ridyard offload to burst over the try-line to win the match.

Batley in pole position

Batley Bulldogs moved to within one point of the Qualifiers after a 31-20 win over London Broncos. Jamie Soward was at the heart of everything good that came from the Broncos but that wasn’t enough to deny Batley a massively important win. Elliot Kear and Shaun Ainscough exchanged tries for the visitors and hosts respectively in the first half before Shaun Squires and Ainscough, once again, touched down. Batley had a 14-4 lead at the break but Ben Hellewell cut into the deficit in the opening stages of the second period. Consecutive four-pointers from Wayne Reittie and Dominic Brambani put Batley in prime position at 24-8 up heading into the final quarter. Api Pewhairangi did respond with a try for the capital club but there was to be no comeback as Adam Gledhill crossed soon after. Mark Offerdahl registered a consolation score for London before Brambani sealed the victory for the Bulldogs with a drop goal.

Bulls go fourth
Everything worked out perfectly for Bradford Bulls last weekend. They did their own job on the field and results elsewhere meant that they will head to Featherstone on Sunday in fourth place. However, the first half didn’t pan out too smooth for Bradford. The full-timers led Oldham 18-12 after tries from Kris Welham, Omari Caro, Kurt Haggerty and Joe Philbin while debutant Jack Blagbrough and Michael Ward were the try-scorers for the Roughyeds. The second half proved to be plain sailing for the Bulls as Caro registered four tries to his ever-growing account and fellow winger Ethan Ryan also got in on the act with a score of his own.

Dewsbury triumph on home turf

Dewsbury Rams beat Swinton Lions 34-16 at the Tetley’s Stadium on Sunday afternoon. The win saw the Rams move above Swinton and Sheffield Eagles in the table. The West Yorkshire club were quick out of the blocks with three tries in the opening stages courtesy of Lucas Walshaw, Dale Morton and Matt Groat. Liam Marshall got the visitors on the board with a try on 22 minutes before both sides went down to 12 men following a fight which saw Jason Crookes and Stuart Littler go to the sin-bin. Andy Kain and Rhodri Lloyd posted tries for Dewsbury and Swinton respectively prior to Paul Sykes ending the half with a penalty goal to make the score 24-10. After the restart, Marshall doubled his tally for the day as Swinton moved to within eight points of their opponents. However, in the final quarter, Dewsbury crossed the whitewash on two occasions to mark a successful afternoon. Tony Tonks and Sykes were the try-scorers for Glenn Morrison’s side.

Fev gain revenge
Revenge can be sweet, and it most certainly is for Featherstone Rovers. Jon Sharp’s men battled their way to a 24-20 victory against Halifax which has set up a ‘winner takes all’ match with Bradford Bulls at the Big Fellas Stadium on Sunday. It was Halifax who were in the lead at the halfway mark in the match after tries from Connor Robinson and Ben Johnston as well as a penalty goal from Steve Tyrer. The penalty had been awarded to Fax shortly after a fight broke out, resulting in Fax’s Jacob Fairbank and Fev’s Ian Hardman being sent to the sin-bin. Featherstone’s tries in the first half came courtesy of Andy Ellis and Ashton Golding. In the second half, Briggs tied the game with a penalty goal prior to Featherstone hitting the front thanks to a try from Misi Taulapapa. The back-and-forth contest never gave the fans a chance to catch their breath and it was the Fax faithful who were celebrating on the hour after Mitch Cahalane’s try. Scott Murrell converted for a two point lead but that was wiped out completely during the final quarter after former Halifax scrum-half Anthony Thackeray touched down after taking a timely offload from Jack Ormondroyd. Want entertainment, drama and a brilliant atmosphere? Get down to Big Fellas Stadium on Sunday.

Mossop and Sammut provide last-minute heroics

The Cumbrian derby went down to the wire on Sunday as Workington Town sealed a 30-28 win with the last kick of the game. Just minutes after Grant Gore looked to have won the game for Whitehaven, Workington managed to get the ball in dangerous territory and Jason Mossop scored to level the game. Jarrod Sammut was the man to win it for Town, and he did so with a conversion that left Workington fans in ecstasy and the travelling Haven fans in heartbreak. To add to the story, the hosts won the match while playing with 12 men for 77 minutes after Karl Olstrum’s dismissal in the opening stages. Phil Veivers’ men were 12-0 up at the break, however, following a try from John Patrick and three penalty goals courtesy of Sammut. Whitehaven managed to level the scores inside the first seven minutes of the second half with tries from James Newton and Andy Yates. That man Sammut got Workington back in front as the final quarter loomed but Whitehaven winger Craig Calvert provided a response with a four pointer of his own. John-Paul Brocklebank couldn’t convert so the two point deficit remained at 18-16 to Town. In the minutes after, Patrick doubled his tally for the afternoon as Town moved eight points ahead. Brocklebank then made up for his earlier error from the kicking tee as he notched a converted try to set up a dramatic finale. Gore sent the Haven fans wild in the dying embers of the clash but Mossop replied with a cruel blow. And to put it simply, Sammut did the rest.

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