The two remaining 100% records in the Betfred Championship fell in spectacular fashion over Saturday and Sunday where Toulouse Olympique and Featherstone Rovers defeated Toronto Wolfpack and Sheffield Eagles respectively.
In France, Toulouse and their Canadian opponents faced off and, despite trailing 16-6 at half-time after Blake Wallace, Bob Beswick and Ricky Leutele crossed for Toronto, Olympique roared back in the second half to win 46-6. Inspired by braces from Stan Robin and Mark Kheirallah, Sylvain Houles’ charges recorded their fourth win of the season and inflicted a first defeat of the season upon Brian McDermott’s Wolfpack with Kheirallah racking up a personal haul of twenty-six points.
Featherstone Rovers bounced back from last weekend’s defeat at Widnes Vikings by beating the visiting Sheffield Eagles 32-14 at the LD Nutrition Stadium. Leading 16-10 at half-time, Ryan Carr’s men pulled away in the second half with tries from Calum Turner, Jack Bussey and an impressive team effort from John Davies wrapping up an impressive victory for Rovers. Turner had earlier scored in the first half, sandwiching his first score in between efforts from James Lockwood and Ashton Golding. Sheffield’s cause wasn’t aided when Blake Broadbent was shown a red card late in the first half for tipping and, while Bussey was also dismissed for ten minutes in the second half, the Eagles simply couldn’t come back and fell to their first defeat of the season.
Another of the leading teams York City Knights saw their fixture postponed at Rochdale Hornets and Halifax took that opportunity to join the Minster city club on eight points, defeating Dewsbury Rams 26-0 at the MBI Shay. Ed Barber stole the show with a hat-trick for Fax and, coupled with a Shaun Robinson try and ten points from Steve Tyrer’s boot, the hosts inflicted another defeat on Lee Greenwood’s Dewsbury Rams, a team who lined up with Liam Finn in the halves after his move from Newcastle.
Widnes Vikings recorded a second-straight victory, leaving their off-field troubles behind, as they recorded a 20-4 victory over Barrow Raiders at Craven Park. Despite leading 4-0 at half-time, the hosts couldn’t add to that tally in the second half and Danny Craven, Brad Walker and Ryan Ince scored before club captain Hep Cahill added the final try of the match. The victory moved the Vikings onto -4 points and, with four wins from their opening five matches of the season, they look set to be back in positive figures in no time.
At the Fox’s Biscuit Stadium, John Kear’s Bradford Bulls succeeded where many teams don’t when they left Batley’s home with two points, earning a 16-6 victory and ending their three-match losing streak. Leading 16-0 at half-time through tries for Ethan Ryan, Ross Oakes and Liam Kirk, Bradford had simply left the Bulldogs with too much to do in the second half. A 68th minute Danny Yates try was their sole four-pointer of the afternoon as Batley suffered their fifth defeat of the season. Head coach Kear, however, will be delighted to have arrested his side’s worrying run of form and will be hoping that the Odsal club push on in the coming weeks.
The final match of the weekend saw Leigh Centurions recover from their tight defeat to York the previous week by hitting Swinton Lions with a 30-12 victory at Heywood Park. The hosts fell behind an early Stefan Marsh try and never recovered, trailing 20-0 to John Duffy’s Centurions at half-time. Liam Hood crossed for a four-pointer on his return to Leigh colours after leaving Widnes while Marsh’s second effort closed the scoring with the final try. The result left the visitors with their third win while Swinton remain pointless, only off the bottom of the table by virtue of Widnes’ point deduction.