With one gameweek left, things are really starting to hot up in the Betfred Championship. Behind the league leaders Toronto, there is an almighty scramble, which has only intensified after the weekend’s results produced yet more drama.
Before the weekend, Toulouse Olympique were one win away from joining the Wolfpack in the Qualifiers, but a late Shane Grady ensured that Halifax were able to overcome them and come away with a 19-14 win at the Shay. Halifax were 14-13 down after Toulouse scored through Bastien Canet and Joe Bretherton, but Grady’s late score proved to be the difference.
The win allowed Halifax to move above Featherstone Rovers into fourth place after their fellow Yorkshire side fell to a 14-7 home defeat to third-placed London Broncos. Rovers did have a 7-0 lead at the break, before second-half tries from Keiran Dixon, Alex Walker and Jarrod Sammut completed a superb comeback.
Leigh Centurions ensured that they moved onto 30 points and remained just one point off second place with a comfortable 50-24 win over second-bottom Swinton Lions.
Keiron Purtill’s side were well out of sight by half-time thanks to six first-half tries, although scores from Rob Fairclough, Rhodri Lloyd and Kyle Shelford ensured that the Lions outscored their opponents in the second 40.
The results in and around the race for the three remaining qualification slots mean that Toulouse, London and Halifax all sit on 31 points, separated only by points difference, while Leigh and Featherstone sit just one point behind in fifth and sixth place.
Away from the intriguing battle for the Qualifiers, Toronto Wolfpack extended their lead at the top of the table with a 10-try victory over basement side, Rochdale Hornets.
In an error-strewn game, Toronto’s physicality and neat sleight of hand proved to be the difference as they extended their lead at the top to 10 in front of over 7,000 fans at Lamport Stadium.
Elsewhere, Cory Aston scored twice as Sheffield Eagles recorded a 28-10 win over the Barrow Raiders, while Dewsbury held off a late fightback by the Batley Bulldogs to record a 23-20 win at the Tetley’s Stadium.
This time next week, we will know for sure who will be joining Leeds, Widnes, Salford, Hull KR and Toronto in the battle for Super League status. One thing’s for sure – the Betfred Championship is certainly keeping us on our toes.