With the game between Toulouse Olympique XIII and the Widnes Vikings postponed due to COVID issues, round four of the Betfred Championship comprised six fixtures with two games being played on Saturday and the remaining four over various kick-off times on Sunday.
Oldham and Halifax faced off on Saturday, as did the Sheffield Eagles and London Broncos. Sunday’s early game saw Newcastle take on Batley while Whitehaven and Bradford occupied the traditional three o’clock slot. Widnes and Swinton got underway just after five and the evening match was between Dewsbury Rams and the York City Knights.
It was a close affair between Oldham and Halifax. McGrath gave the Panthers a lead but Brierley replied with a try four minutes later. As it seemed that the visitors would go into the break with just a two point advantage from the boot of Robinson, Woodburn-Hall grabbed a second which with the conversion gave Halifax a 12-4 lead. Reilly scored five minutes after the restart for the home side and Green added the conversion, Oldham still trailing by two. The killer blow came with four minutes remaining on the clock when Croft scored for Oldham and Green added the extras for a 16-12 win to get their second win of the season.
The late afternoon witnesses a humdinger between Sheffield and London as they shared the points after a 20-20 draw. Glover opened Sheffield’s account on thirteen but Egodo responded on twenty-one before Farrell again put the Eagles ahead five minutes later. A try by Miski, the first of a hat-trick, gave a half time score of 12-8 in the home sides advantage. Minski scored two second half tries on sixty-two and seventy-three, punctuated by a Farrell penalty goal for Sheffield, for an 18-14 lead but when Brown went over a minute from time and Farrell converted it looked like Sheffield had snatched the points. But no-one accounted for a Sammutt penalty goal in the dying seconds to level the scores.
The Batley Bulldogs maintained their good start to the season by taking the scalp of Newcastle Thunder. Hall put the Bulldogs into the lead inside the opening ten with Gill replying just before the half hour. Three minutes later Morton added a second for Batley and they went into the interval with a 10-6 lead. Leak scored twice in a ten-minute period in the second half to stretch the lead to 22-6 before Gill got his second and Shorrocks crossed the whitewash to get Newcastle right back in the game at 16-22. Just as it looked like the Thunder might be about to scramble a draw, Batley killed the game with a seventy-seventh minute Gilmore try which he converted himself for a final score of 28-16.
Whitehaven pushed the Bulls close but in the end the Yorkshire side returned from Cumbria with the spoils. ‘Haven had gone ahead through Bulman on eleven but tries from Crossley, Brown and Pickersgill put the Bulls 18-6 ahead at the break. Parker gave the home side some hope just after the restart but Scurr and Crossley with his second sealed the win just after the hour mark as Bradford raced into a 30-10 lead. Late tries in the last two minutes from Mossop and Roden gave some credibility to the Whitehaven score as they lost by 22-30.
The Swinton Lions are rapidly turning into the league whipping boys and Sunday afternoon saw another big registration in the against column as they crashed 46-10 to the Widnes Vikings. The sides were pointless until the twenty-eighth minute when Cross opened the scoring for the Vikings. Baker and O’Neill added two more before the break for an 18-0 lead. Tyrer and Robinson added two more after the interval before Rizelli finally got Swinton on the board. Grady, Lawton and a second from Cross put Widnes into a 46-4 lead before a late consolation from Butt, converted by Hansen.
The rounds last game was the evening kick-off between the Dewsbury Rams and York City Knights. It was a nip-and-tuck first forty minutes which saw the sides tied up at 14-14. Fleming scored first for the Rams with Atkins replying five minutes later. Five minutes after that Gabriel re-established the lead and a further five minutes on Stock scored for York. Two conversions and a penalty goal each from Sykes and Dixon ensured parity. Dixon got a four pointer just after the restart to give York the lead but within eight minutes Hall responded and the sides were locked up again. On fifty-eight the City Knights were back into the lead when Marsh scored for 26-20. Try as Dewsbury might they couldn’t get back into the game and two minutes form time Marsh got a second to seal a 30-20 victory to lift York into the top half of the table.