The Championship Chat: Round 23

Eagles go five points clear
Sheffield Eagles beat Whitehaven 32-14 on Saturday evening to move further away from the relegation zone. It was Haven who were in the lead at the break, 12-10. Quentin Laulu-Togagae broke the deadlock for Sheffield before Chris Taylor and Grant Gore notched consecutive tries for the hosts. Rob Worrincy levelled matters in the latter stages of the half before Gore kicked a penalty goal to give Whitehaven a slender lead at the interval. Gore kicked another penalty to start the scoring in the second half before Sheffield ran away with the contest with four tries on the bounce. With Haven’s 15 men tiring –  two were left on the interchange due to injuries – Stan Robin, Steve Thorpe, Nathan Chappell and Garry Lo all crossed the whitewash to win the match for the visitors.

Batley and Featherstone secure top four spots

It was an amazing weekend for Batley Bulldogs and Featherstone Rovers as both teams made sure of their places in the upcoming Qualifiers. The Bulldogs finished third in the table after a 62-24 victory over Swinton Lions at Heywood Road. Swinton opened the scoring through Shaun Robinson before Alistair Leak, Chris Ulugia and Wayne Reittie settled the nerves with all three scoring a try each. Andy Thornley was sin-binned for Swinton prior to Leak and Shaun Squires crossing the whitewash. Josh Barlow ended the half with a try for the Lions, who went into the break 30-12 down. The Bulldogs struck three times without reply in the second half courtesy of Ulugia, Brad Day and James Brown. Thornley responded with a four pointer of his own before Barlow was sin-binned for punching. Shaun Ainscough bagged a brace in his absence, with Swinton half-back Matty Beharrell scoring in-between the winger’s double. The action concluded with a Dominic Brambani try in the dying embers.

Featherstone beat Bradford Bulls 20-0 in the ‘winner takes all’ shootout at the Big Fellas Stadium. The Rovers were 18-0 up at the halfway stage thanks to tries from Andy Ellis, Anthony Thackeray and Steve Snitch alongside a penalty goal from Kyle Briggs. The only points of the second period came from Briggs’ boot as he slotted over another penalty goal. Bradford’s dream of a Super League return in 2017 was dead.

London end regular season with victory
London Broncos ended any hope of a top four finish for Halifax with a 41-22 win at The Shay. The Broncos were ten points up at the break following a brace from Eddie Battye and a lone try from Matt Garside. Ben Johnston scored Fax’s only four-pointer of the half. In the second period, Jamie Soward crossed the chalk for London prior to Fax fighting back to make the score 22-22 after an Ed Barber double and a single from Will Sharp. However, London finished the match in a strong manner and they sealed the win with three consecutive tries from Mark Ioane, Nick Slyney and Sadiq Adebiyi.

Dewsbury fire blank against Leigh

Leigh Centurions finished another very good regular season in the Championship with a dominant 58-0 win over Dewsbury Rams. Leigh were 28-0 up at the interval after a first half hat-trick from Gregg McNally as well as scores courtesy of Reni Maitua and Greg Worthington. Adam Higson notched an hat-trick of his own in the final 40 minutes while Ben Reynolds and Micky Higham rounded off the afternoon with a try apiece.

Veivers’ men win third match in a row
What a revival from Workington Town. On the back of three consecutive victories, they’re now off the bottom of the Championship table at the expense of neighbours Whitehaven. Their latest win came against Oldham at Bower Fold, and it was a nail-biter. Town won 32-30 and they were 20-12 up at the break after tries from Jarrod Sammut, Marc Shackley and Tom Walker. Sammut also kicked a penalty goal in the first period. Richard Lepori and Gareth Owen were the try-scorers for Oldham. In the second half, Michael Ward cut the deficit for the Roughyeds with a 41st minute try before Workington hit back with two scores of their own from Oliver Gordon and Declan Hulme. However, a double courtesy of Kenny Hughes brought Oldham back to within two points of their opponents in the latter stages but the decisive try wasn’t forthcoming.