Dewsbury Rams 19-10 Sheffield Eagles – The Rams of West Yorkshire opened their Championship campaign with a victory over usual bogey side Sheffield. A brace from Dalton Grant and outstanding kicking performances from Matty Wildie and Anthony Thackeray certainly contributed to Dewsbury gaining their first win over the Eagles in quite some time. Sheffield were 10-0 up at one stage in the first half, thanks to tries from former Dewsbury men Scott Turner and Patch Walker. Dewsbury replied with scores from the tricky Thackeray and winger Grant. Only seven points were on show in the second half at Tetley’s Stadium, a drop-goal from Thackeray kept the scoreboard ticking over while Sheffield couldn’t muster a real solid attack. Grant provided the killer try on the hooter, to the delight of the Dewsbury fans.
Prediction – Sheffield by 7.
Result – Dewsbury by 9.
Batley Bulldogs 30-6 Workington Town – A try scoring masterclass from Shaun Squires more than helped Batley on their way to a win in their round 1 clash with Workington. Four tries were scored from the former Sheffield centre, who undoubtedly got the man of the match award. However, it was Workington who struck first in West Yorkshire, through Brett Carter after good work from Jack Murphy. From then, though, it was all Bulldogs who looked more sharp in attack and defended for their lives. Squires notched a quick brace to get Batley in the lead, plucking the ball out of the air for his first and selling a dummy to a pair of Workington players for his second. Karl Olstrum got sin-binned for a swinging arm on Campbell before the Squires show returned for a third time. Squires recorded his first half hat-trick thanks to another precise chip from Southernwood. Two Scott Leatherbarrow penalty goals extended Batley’s lead to two scores during the second half, before the Southernwood-Squires combo came up trumps again. Alex Bretherton scored the Bulldogs’ final try, rounding off a great day at the office for John Kear’s men.
Prediction – Batley by 10.
Result – Batley by 24.
Whitehaven RLFC 16-44 Halifax RLFC – Three Halifax players scored braces in what was a routine victory for Richard Marshall’s men. Alex Brown, Adam Robinson and James Saltonstall all notched two each for the West Yorkshire side, against a Whitehaven team under the temporary stewardship of Brett Seymour. The Cumbrian side looked on a hiding to nothing when Fax went 16-0 up after 15 minutes, courtesy of scores from Steve Tyrer, Miles Greenwood and Saltonstall. Jordan Burns replied on the 21st minute as Haven looked to be on the comeback trail. Halifax returned serve through Brown, who looked to be on fine form after a great scoring spell at Batley last year. Robinson recorded a quicktime brace for Fax with tries in the final five minutes of the half while Paul Johnson added to Haven’s total with a score of his own. Whitehaven loanee Grant Gore opened the scoring in the second half, reducing Halifax’s lead to twelve points at 16-28. But the half, and match overall, belonged to Fax as Luke Ambler, Saltonstall and Brown all went over the whitewash before the final hooter sounded.
Prediction – Halifax by 16.
Result – Halifax by 28.
London Broncos 26-22 Doncaster RLFC – Championship newbies London Broncos suffered one hell of a scare from Paul Cooke’s Doncaster in their round 1 battle. Everything looked plain sailing for the capital club at half-time, up 20-0 and the new signings providing some good tries. Italy international Ray Nasso scored the Broncos’ first try of the ‘new era’, before his teammates chipped in with their own contributions to the whitewash. A Daniel Harrison try along with a Rhys Williams brace put clear daylight between the two sides. Doncaster got back into the game as the half went on, Sam Doherty held up over the line being the closest they got to putting points on the board in the first half. In the second half, Wes Naiqama scored his first try in Championship rugby after a break from Brad Dwyer gave London a platform to work on. However, Doncaster scored two tries in quick succession through Iafeta Paleaaesina and Sam Doherty, with Stewart Sanderson converting both scores. Lee Waterman and Doherty again both added converted tries to make the final five minutes very nervy, but Joey Grima’s Broncos came away with the win.
Prediction – London by 22.
Result – London by 4.
Leigh Centurions 36-24 Bradford Bulls – An humdinger to say the least. At one point in this match, it was 11 Centurions versus 11 Bulls, typifying the aggressive nature of the match. Sin-bins for the Bulls included Harry Siejka on two occasions and Danny Williams while the Centurions had Kurt Haggerty, Jamie Acton and Gregg McNally all spending time in the bin. The ill-discipline faded away in the second half, and the Centurions came back from a 20-6 half-time deficit to beat Bradford by 36-24. James Lowes’ Bulls side went 10-0 to the good in the early stages through Adam O’Brien and Chev Walker. Ryan Brierley posted Leigh’s first points of the contest four minutes after Walker’s score. Bradford went into half-time on the back of two late tries from Mullaney and Uaisele. All the sin-binnings bar one were in the first half. Leigh started their comeback with four pointers from Liam Kay and McNally before taking the lead through Tom Armstrong. In-between the Leigh scoring was Harry Siejka’s second stint in the sin-bin. Adam O’Brien scored his brace to put the side from the Provident Stadium back in front with ten minutes left, the Leigh onslaught began from then on in. McNally and Sean Penkywicz both recorded converted tries while Martyn Ridyard kicked a penalty goal to put gloss on a fine first round win for the Centurions.
Prediction – Leigh by 12
Result – Leigh by 12
Featherstone Rovers 28-14 Hunslet Hawks – The first round of the 2015 Kingstone Press Championship concluded at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium on Monday as Featherstone beat Hunslet in a gritty encounter. Despite Sam Irwin winning the man of the match award, Paul Wood stood out more than anyone in the match. The former Warrington prop forward was a constant threat and battled his way up the field with every charge. Ian Hardman and Callum Casey both scored tries for Featherstone and Hunslet respectively, making the match a more open contest as a result. Tim Spears was sin-binned in-between the two scores, for a late challenge on a kicker. A Simon Brown penalty goal made sure that the visitors went into the sheds at half-time with a slender lead. It didn’t take long for the lead to be brought back as Jack Bussey notched on 43 minutes, the young Featherstone star is going to be in for a top season if he keeps his form from pre-season going. Hunslet hit back soon after Bussey’s score when Liam Mackay collected a grubber to touch down, 14-12 to the Hawks after 46 minutes. A Ben Blackmore brace and a Paul Sykes try made sure that Featherstone weren’t to suffer an opening round defeat for the second season running. Andy Hay will be happy with how his side responded when they went behind, as well as the performances of a few individuals including trialist Remy Marginet. Barry Eaton will be hoping his side get a win next week against John Kear’s Batley Bulldogs.
Prediction – Rovers by 14
Result – Rovers by 14