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Kingstone Press Championship Round Three Review

In round three, we had the lot! Low scores, high scores, big attendances, and some scrappy matches played on heavy pitches, true ‘summer rugby!’ Round four is on the horizon, and the excitement of the fixtures doesn’t seem to be dying down. Let’s have a look at the results from Sunday!

Batley Bulldogs 2-6 Halifax – The lowest scoring tie of the round. This all West Yorkshire match was a proper war of attrition, as you can probably tell by the nature of the result. Scott Leatherbarrow edged his side in front with a penalty goal in the first half, that was before Matt Place recorded the only try of the match just before half-time. Steve Tyrer converted the try and a four point ball game it stayed for the rest of the match. Batley went close to notching a few tries, never mind one. Johnny Campbell and Wayne Reittie, the respective wingers for the Bulldogs, both neared the whitewash but solid Fax defence kept them at bay. Campbell had touched down on one occasion but it was disallowed as Joe Cobb deemed Cain Southernwood’s looping cut-out pass to be a forward one. An astute kicking performance from Scott Murrell really made sure that Halifax wouldn’t let their slender lead slip. The former Hull KR half-back knows how to manage a game and he did just that on Sunday at the Fox’s Biscuits Stadium.

Prediction – Halifax by 8

Result – Halifax by 4

Featherstone Rovers 4-40 Bradford Bulls – On a momentous day for Featherstone, as they opened their new stands built with the full help of volunteers, Bradford stole the limelight on the field with a sublime attacking performance in front of 6,346 people at the Big Fellas Stadium. Lee Gaskell and Chris Ulugia scored a brace apiece as the Bulls elevated themselves to second position in the Championship table. Gaskell and Ulugia both scored their first tries of the game in the first half, while Adrian Purtell also went over the whitewash. Ryan Shaw converted all three tries for an 18-0 lead going into the break. Adam O’Brien and Jean-Phillipe Baile resumed the Bulls’ try scoring service on the 41st and 47th minute respectively, before James Lockwood scored the hosts only four pointer of the afternoon. Gaskell and Ulugia rounded off a top day at the office for Bradford who have got back on track well since their opening round loss to Leigh. This was Featherstone’s first defeat of the season, and it’ll certainly be a performance they won’t want to store in the memory bank.

Prediction – Bradford by 12

Result – Bradford by 36

Hunslet Hawks 18-6 Dewsbury Rams – Barry Eaton’s Hawks won their first game of the 2015 campaign against a Dewsbury side who’ll have left South Leeds Stadium on Sunday evening a very disappointed team. Simon Brown put the first six points of the game on the board with three penalty goals, the Rams were hit with a sucker punch just before half-time though. George Flanagan, an off-season signing from Featherstone, scored his first try in Hunslet colours out of dummy half. A predatory try which caught the Rams off guard. Brown converted for a two-score lead as both sides entered the sheds. Minutes after the restart, winger Vinny Finigan got his first four points of 2015 after taking a bomb to the corner from Brown and touching down. The stand-off couldn’t convert this time but his kicking contribution would be needed later on in the match. Ryan Hepworth replied well for Dewsbury just short of the hour mark; bundling his way over after a pass from hooker Tom Hemingway. Brown added a penalty goal to put some gloss on the finishing scoreline, the Hawks fans will be delighted to have got one over on a fellow West Yorkshire side.

Prediction – Dewsbury by 10

Result – Hunslet by 12

Leigh Centurions 25-12 London Broncos – The Centurions kept up their perfect start to the 2015 Kingstone Press Championship with a 13 point victory over London Broncos. Things started well for the hosts who had two tries on the board within 12 minutes of the game kicking off. Kurt Haggerty and Liam Kay both notched to give Leigh an early lead. Erjon Dollapi made the most of good work from Brad Dwyer to reply well for the capital side, Wes Naiqama converted the try and the Broncos were contending at 12-6 down. Tom Armstrong and Ryan Brierley both scored before half-time to give their side a hefty advantage. Only one try was to be scored in the second half, and it came in the 43rd minute via Armstrong. Martyn Ridyard looped over a last minute field goal for good measure, a win will have pleased Paul Rowley who’ll be asking his side to keep up that unbeaten streak for as long as possible. London coach Joey Grima resigned the day after the match, due to family reasons. Grima wasn’t at the Leigh Sports Village for the Broncos game either, due to an illness.

Prediction – Leigh by 16

Result – Leigh by 13

Whitehaven 6-20 Sheffield Eagles – A five try performance from the Sheffield Eagles will have pleased Mark Aston, despite his kickers not being able to convert any of the scores. Scott Turner opened the scoring for the Eagles in the 11th minute, the try would be his first of three in the match. Danny Craven replied for the Cumbrians, scoring off a Brett Seymour dink which was directed to the sticks. Turner and Laulu-Togagae both got tries before half-time arrived, giving their fellow chargers a six point lead after the first 40. Turner’s hot try streak was very much alive when he touched down for a third time when he dabbed the ball forward after a Dominic Brambani bomb was left to bounce by everyone before it. The Eagles made it hard for themselves during the second half as countless errors could easily have proved costly. But they were bailed out by either poor composure from the Whitehaven attackers, or good defence by the Eagles themselves. Menzie Yere got the final score of the game when he pounced on a grubber. A good day at the office for the Eagles, in what’s usually a banana skin of a tie up at The Recreation Ground.

Prediction – Sheffield by 22

Result – Sheffield by 14

Workington Town 33-6 Doncaster – The postponement of Town’s round two fixture with Dewsbury didn’t seem to make them falter in Sunday’s match with Doncaster. A 33-6 win for the Cumbrians was just deserts for good defence down in their own end of the pitch. Sam Forrester and the dual-registered Dominic Manfredi started the Town’s scoring in the opening quarter of the match. Pasqualle Dunn replied for the visitors on the half an hour mark, Dave Scott, unlike Workington’s Carl Forber on both occasions, converted to put his side only two points behind at half-time. The second half belonged to the hosts though, as Phil Veivers’ side ran in four converted tries and nailed a drop goal before the finish. Callum Phillips, Perry Whiteley, Karl Olstrum and Carl Forber all went over the whitewash in the second 40 minutes, with Jamie Doran kicking the drop goal. The match marked a special occasion for half-back Forber who recorded his 1000th point for the Cumbrian club, a brilliant achievement indeed.

Prediction – Workington by 10

Result – Workington by 27

Kingstone Press Championship Round Four fixtures..

Bradford Bulls v Hunslet Hawks

Dewsbury Rams v Whitehaven

Doncaster v Leigh Centurions

Halifax v Featherstone Rovers

London Broncos v Workington Town

Sheffield Eagles v Batley Bulldogs

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