Batley Bulldogs 22-18 Swinton Lions – Batley Bulldogs were made to work for their 22-18 victory against Swinton Lions at the Fox’s Biscuits Stadium. The Bulldogs had Dave Scott and Macauley Hallett to thank as the full-back and centre both scored braces to help their side to a hard-fought win in terrible conditions. Swinton had the lead from the fourth minute up until the 72nd when ex-Lion Hallett completed his brace, so they will feel mightily disappointed to not have sealed a great win.
Swinton took the lead through Shaun Robinson and their four point advantage was soon extended as Jack Murphy touched down in the 13th minute. One of the two conversions from Chris Atkin proved successful. Scott registered his first try soon after but the Lions held firm after being breached for the first time. Atkin kicked a penalty goal for the visitors, who went into half-time 12-6 in front and they didn’t have to wait long for things to get better after the restart.
The second period was two minutes old when Andy Thornley continued his impressive try-scoring form by adding the finishing touch to a nice attacking move. The conversion from Atkin was successful. With the hour mark fast approaching, Hallett got himself on the scoresheet to cut the deficit to eight points, which turned into six following Cain Southernwood’s conversion. In the final quarter, Scott added his second try but Southernwood was off target with the extras so the Lions had a two point lead to play with. Unfortunately for John Duffy’s side, Batley had a foothold in the contest and they managed to grab the decisive score eight minutes from time after constant pressure. Hallett came back to haunt his former employers with the winning try. With two minutes to go, the Bulldogs furthered their lead with a penalty goal – the final scoring act in a gruelling match.
Featherstone Rovers 9-10 Rochdale Hornets – Rochdale Hornets handed Featherstone Rovers their first loss in this season’s Championship as Alan Kilshaw’s men battled to a 10-9 win at the Big Fellas Stadium. The ever-reliable Lewis Palfrey kicked a penalty goal two minutes from time to give the Hornets a great victory in West Yorkshire against an in-form Featherstone side.
Rochdale went into half-time 8-2 in front and it was Palfrey who registered the first points of the contest with a penalty goal. Featherstone went close on a number of occasions but couldn’t break through and it took till the 34th minute for the hosts to get on the scoresheet. After Hornets half-back Danny Yates was sent to the sin-bin for a professional foul, Michael Knowles levelled the scores with a goal. But moments later, even with a man less on the pitch, Rochdale scored the first try of the contest through Danny Bridge. Palfrey added the extras.
A stellar defensive performance from Rochdale was spoiled on 55 minutes by Chris Ulugia, who could not be stopped from close range. Cory Aston, on debut from dual-registration partner Leeds Rhinos, converted to make the score 8-8. After cracking the defence once, the Rovers were smelling another try but Rochdale didn’t buckle and there wasn’t to be a second try for the hosts. However, Jon Sharp’s side did take the lead for the first time through an Anthony Thackeray drop goal with 11 minutes to go and that looked to be the winner but for an offside call in the dying embers. The Hornets were in kicking distance and Palfrey did the rest as Rochdale bagged a brilliant scalp.
Halifax 10-12 Toulouse Olympique – Toulouse Olympique picked up their first away victory of the season as they beat Halifax 12-10 at MBi Shay. A penalty goal from Tony Maurel four minutes from time handed the French side a great victory which should spark confidence for Sylvain Houles’ side.
The hosts got off to a storming start thanks to a sixth minute try from Steve Tyrer, who converted his own score for an early 6-0 lead. In response, Toulouse crossed the whitewash courtesy of Greg White and Maurel levelled matters with the conversion. Tyrer regained Halifax’s lead with a penalty goal but their advantage was relinquished soon after when Bastien Ader touched down. Maurel was off target with the conversion attempt but the visitors held a 10-8 lead at the break.
The opening quarter of the second half saw no more points for either side, leaving the last 20 minutes to be a nervy affair. On 66 minutes, Tyrer kicked his second penalty goal of the contest to level things up. The match was there for the taking and it was Toulouse who snatched the spoils. After receiving a penalty on the touchline – 35 metres out – Maurel opted to kick for goal and it was a decision which proved valuable. The ball sailed between the sticks and the visitors had sealed their first win on the road this season. How big could this be for Toulouse?
Hull Kingston Rovers 50-10 Sheffield Eagles – Hull Kingston Rovers’ dominant start to the Championship campaign continued at the weekend as they beat Sheffield Eagles 50-10 at KCOM Craven Park. The hosts were only 18-10 up at the break but had a man advantage to start the second half following Menzie Yere’s sin-binning in the final minute of the first period. Hull KR broke the deadlock on 15 minutes through in-form back-rower James Donaldson. Jamie Ellis converted but Sheffield had the answers at the other end of the field, as they hit the front with two consecutive tries. Duane Straugheir and Garry Lo both touched down for Mark Aston’s side, with Dane Chisholm converting once. Two tries in three minutes before the interval gave the Robins an eight point lead which they would not surrender for the remainder of the match. Ben Cockayne and Andrew Heffernan were the try-scorers for Tim Sheens’ side, who went from strength to strength. Sheffield centre Menzie Yere was sin-binned in the final minute of the first half, and that proved costly with two tries being scored in his absence after the break.
Thomas Minns and Adam Quinlan both crossed the whitewash to get the hosts up and running in the second period. With the hour mark close by, Chris Clarkson also got in on the act for the former Super League club who have adapted to life in the second tier seamlessly. The final quarter saw two more tries go the way of Rovers thanks to Jordan Abdull and Donaldson. A last minute penalty from Ellis got his side to 50 points for the contest.
London Broncos 42-12 Bradford Bulls – London Broncos showcased their strength with a seven-try performance against Bradford Bulls, ending in a 42-12 win at Trailfinders Sports Ground. The Broncos had notched five tries by the end of the first half as they led 30-6 before a more quiet first half saw the capital club seal a straightforward victory.
Alex Walker got the ball rolling for the Broncos with a try in the opening stages before Welsh international Elliot Kear also touched down ten minutes later. Kevin Larroyer responded for the visitors with his first try in Bulls colours, the conversion from former Bronco Oscar Thomas was successful. However, three tries in the final 15 minutes brought the first half to a brilliant close for London. Matt Garside struck twice, either side of a William Barthau score in the midst of a hailstorm. Sammut was 100% from the tee with five conversions from as many attempts.
It took 17 minutes for the first try of the second period and it went the way of Bradford thanks to bustling forward Colton Roche. Thomas converted to cut the lead to 18 points at 30-12. A penalty goal from Sammut in the final quarter restored London’s four score advantage before the half-back crossed for a try of his own. The final four pointer of the game came courtesy of Kieran Dixon five minutes from time as the Broncos surpassed the 40 point mark. Unfortunately for Sammut, his perfect goal-kicking record for the match was abruptly ended as his touchline conversion attempt drifted wide. A good day at the office for the Broncos while Bradford will be looking to get back on the horse next weekend when they take on Batley Bulldogs.