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Rugby League Championship

Kingstone Press Championship Round 4 Review

Another brilliant set of fixtures this weekend in the Kingstone Press Championship including a brilliant comeback in the game between Bradford Bulls and Leigh Centurions. You’d have thought they’d put this stuff on TV, wouldn’t you?

Bradford Bulls 32-32 Leigh Centurions – Despite facing a 26 point deficit with 15 minutes remaining, Bradford Bulls came back from 32-6 down to draw the game thanks to an amazing revival. Leigh were 12-0 up inside ten minutes thanks to tries from Jonathan Pownall and Ryan Brierley, with Lee Smith converting both. A penalty goal by Smith on the 20 minute mark extended Leigh’s lead to three scores before Kris Welham broke Bradford’s duck with a 40 metre try. Danny Addy converted to make it 14-6, which was the score at half-time before everything went bonkers. Two tries in the opening stages of the second half put Leigh further into the driving seat as Smith and Reni Maitua both found their way over the stripe. Brierley added his second try of proceedings as the hour mark approached as the Centurions broke the 30 point barrier, Smith converted again for 32-6. Then came the onslaught. A quick James Clare double-salvo may have forced a few smiles onto the faces of Bradford fans but Addy was unsuccessful with both conversion attempts. Four pointers from Adrian Purtell and Addy will have alarmed the Centurions’ defence, especially as the scoreline read 32-26 with four minutes to go. Leigh’s worst nightmare came true on 79 minutes as Omari Caro touched down after taking a high bomb but Addy was left with a very tough conversion attempt from the sideline. But it was one he nailed to the delight of the Bulls fans in the stadium. Leigh would have been happy with a point coming into the match but with how it panned out, Sunday’s result will have felt more like a defeat than anything else. Absolutely sublime entertainment.

Prediction – Leigh by 12

Result – Draw

Dewsbury Rams 20-4 Whitehaven – After an awful defeat to Oldham Roughyeds in round three, Dewsbury bounced back with a solid 20-4 victory over Whitehaven at the Tetley’s Stadium. It took until nearly halfway into the first half for the first try of the match, which came from Dewsbury full-back Josh Guzdek. The former Hull KR man has been a regular visitor to the whitewash in the opening rounds of the season and he continued in the same vein of form against the Cumbrians. The conversion was missed by Paul Sykes but that wasn’t worried about too much, especially when Shane Grady crossed the chalk for his first try of the season. Sykes did convert Grady’s try, as well as add a penalty goal in the following minutes to put the Rams 12-0 up at half-time. Whitehaven needed to respond first in the second half and they did just that through Scott McAvoy. Louis Jouffret couldn’t convert so the deficit stayed at eight points. Good work by Dewsbury’s Aaron Brown was rewarded when Scott Hale touched down to restore the two score advantage. Sykes converted, and he also kicked a penalty goal in the dying embers to make the final score 20-4. Job done for the Rams while Whitehaven travel back to Cumbria without a win to their name so far this year.

Prediction – Dewsbury by 16

Result – Dewsbury by 16 

Featherstone Rovers 20-6 Oldham Roughyeds – Featherstone’s unbeaten start to the season at home continued with a 14 point win against Oldham, who couldn’t replicate their impressive performance of last weekend when they beat Dewsbury Rams at Bower Fold. Misi Taulapapa opened the scoring for the Rovers in the early stages but Kyle Briggs couldn’t convert. Anthony Thackeray extended Featherstone’s advantage with a try of his own soon after, and Briggs was able to add the extras on that occasion. Richard Lepori replied for Oldham before the interval as the full-back swooped over the whitewash. Lewis Palfrey cut the deficit further with a conversion and at half-time, Scott Naylor’s men were only four points down. Any lingering nerves were dealt with by Briggs when he scored a try, then converted it, on 56 minutes. But there was no more tries from either side up until the final minute when Danny Craven sealed the win for the hosts with his side’s fourth and final try of the afternoon..

Prediction – Featherstone by 16

Result – Featherstone by 14

Halifax 12-17 Batley Bulldogs – Batley added another impressive win to their collection by beating Halifax at The Shay on Sunday. Neither side were going to run away with the victory and that was shown by the first try of the match which came in the 25th minute. Former Batley forward Dane Manning came back to bite his side on the rear by crossing the whitewash and giving his current side the lead. Steve Tyrer converted, as is usually expected nowadays. Halifax ended the half in disappointing fashion, however. Firstly, Alex Bretherton scored a try for the Bulldogs before Dom Brambani converted to level matters. Then, moments after the restart, Batley won a penalty and Brambani kicked a penalty goal to put his side in front as the hooter sounded. It was important for Halifax to score the first try of the second half and that’s exactly what they did courtesy of Gareth Moore. Tyrer converted for a 12-8 lead. It didn’t take long for the visitors to strike back, though. Brambani was at the forefront of the attack once again and it was the half-back who finished the move off to put his side back on level terms. The former Sheffield playmaker converted his own try as the Bulldogs went in front for the second time in the match, and they wouldn’t let go of their advantage. Pat Walker slotted over a penalty goal during the final quarter before a Brambani drop goal ended the scoring for the afternoon.

Prediction – Halifax by 8

Result – Batley by 5

Sheffield Eagles 48-26 Swinton Lions – Sheffield reacted to their first defeat of the Championship season in positive fashion by beating Swinton at the SHU Sports Park. It was the visitors who struck first through Chris Atkin but their lead only lasted ten minutes as Ben Blackmore notched his first try of the evening. Both tries were converted. Further Eagles scores in the first half came from George Tyson, Scott Wheeldon and Quentin Laulu-Togagae as the hosts went out into a 22-6 lead going into the break. After the restart, the scoring continued for Sheffield thanks to Menzie Yere who forced his way over the whitewash. Shaun Robinson did reply for Swinton with his own try but the Eagles kept coming back with the right answers in the shape of four pointers, their sixth and seventh scores came from Cory Aston. At 34-12 up on the hour, the end result wasn’t in doubt hut Swinton kept fighting and scored two tries on the bounce courtesy of Greg Scott and Macauley Hallett. This didn’t deter the Eagles, however, who kept their attack rolling and Blackmore scored his second try of the match with ten minutes remaining. Swinton’s Scott and Sheffield’s Mitch Stringer exchanged scores in the dying embers as the game petered out. The Eagles are back to winning ways while Swinton go into round five without a win but it doesn’t look like they will have to wait long if their spirited performances are anything to go by.

Prediction – Sheffield by 14

Result – Sheffield by 22

Workington Town 13-16 London Broncos – A big win for the Broncos, who haven’t got the best record in Cumbria. A scrappy game to say the least but Andrew Henderson’s men will be thrilled with the victory that they had to fight every minute for. The introduction of Jarrod Sammut into the Workington side will definitely help them in the long run and he was a massive part of the Cumbrians’ attack today. The score at half-time was 6-6 following a James Cunningham try for Broncos and Sammut’s score for Town. Sammut made his way over the whitewash after the restart to put Workington in front, and with Forber’s conversion the momentum was with Workington. However, London hit back with 15 minutes left as Rhys Williams forced his way over in the corner. Leatherbarrow’s conversion attempt fell short and the Broncos still had two points to make up. They cut the deficit completely with interest when Matt Garside notched a massive try underneath the sticks to regain the lead for London. Leatherbarrow converted and the visitors were four points up with ten minutes to go. In rather weird fashion, Sammut cut the deficit a few minutes later via a drop goal but Workington couldn’t find the killer score to win the match.

Prediction – London by 16

Result – London by 3

I study Sports Journalism at the University of Sunderland. Write about the Kingstone Press Championship for a few websites, as well as doing match reports and previews for Sheffield Eagles.

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