Its still all to play for heading into the final week of the Kingstone Press League 1 regular season after Whitehaven dropped points for the first time since March with a draw at North Wales.
That 12-12 draw sees the Cumbrians drop into third ahead of a crucial Cumbrian debry v second placed Barrow Raiders on Sunday Afternoon. Haven went into the break 8-0 up after two tries from winger Jordan Burns in the 2nd and 24th minute. The welsh side come out with a better performance in the second period and scored two tries in nine minutes. Joe Bate & Taylor Prell put them into a two point lead. Dion Aiye hit back with twelve minutes left on the clock to regain the lead for the visitors. Paul crook missed his third consecutive conversion and were ruing that as Tommy Johnston hit a penalty later on to grab a draw and keep the Crusaders hope of a top 8 finish alive.
Their hopes were hit though as Keighley grabbed a draw despite playing more than 25 minutes with 12 men as Brad Nicholson was sent off. Town will be thoroughly disappointed after letting a 22-4 half time lead slip. They got that lead with two tries from Jamie Doran and a try each from Joe Hambley & Gabe Fell. Ritchie Hawkyard mark his return from a horrific faical injury with a try in the 42nd minute then came the sending off of Nicholson after a brawl. It looked to have put Town as firm favourites but Cougars were the side in the ascendancy. Two Sean Kelly tries in two minutes reduced the gap to two points. A further try a piece but with Keighley’s being converted it was a drawn game. That was until Tee Ritson looked have to scored the winner six minutes from time. Andy Gabriel had other days as he crosses in the final seconds. Matty Beharrell couldn’t convert and a second draw of the day.
Big scores were racked up by more of the top six as Toronto hit Gloucester for 62 points and York & Newcastle both ran up 68 points against Hemel & Coventry respectively. Doncaster scored 70 in Merthyr Tydfil against the South Wales Ironmen.
But the honour of the biggest score goes to Barrow Raiders as they went back up into second ahead of that derby fixture v Whitehaven. They went at a point a minute against Oxford in a 80-10 victory on Saturday Evening. Raiders shared around 14 tries through 11 try scorers while Lewis Charnock converted 12 out of 14 in a game that was over as a contest early on with a 56-0 scoreline at the break. Eze Harper starred with a hat-rick. Harrison Brough & Burnett got consolation tries but they were nothing more as Oxford consigned to 10th defeat of the season and their seventh in a row.
The game that got the weekend underway was London Skolars victory over Hunslet which consigned the Yorkshire side to the bottom 8 sides and competing for the League 1 shield. It was a tight first half with only one try as Sam Nash crosses in the 11th minute giving the Skolars a 6-0 half time lead. The second half was an explosive one with seven tries and two yellow cards and a red card. But it was the home side was had the best of the half with four tries. Nash getting his second and one try each fro James Hill, Mike Bishay & Lamont Bryan. Hunslet could never take the lead despite tries early in the second half from Jack Coventry & Mufaro Mvududu. A Jimmy Watson try two minutes from time was nothing but a consolation.
It’s all set up in the final weekend of the season. Barrow & Whitehaven will battle it out for second while York, Newcastle & Doncaster battle it out for fourth who are level on 18 points. The battle for the final two top eight places between Workington, Keighley & North Wales.
Round 15 Fixtures
Sunday 15th July (All 3pm)
Coventry Bears v North Wales Crusaders
Hunslet v Newcastle Thunder
Keighley Cougars v Oxford
London Skolars v South Wales Ironmen
Uni of Gloucestershire All Golds v Doncaster
Whitehaven v Barrow Raiders
York City Knights v Workington Town