Seven fixtures made up round five of the Betfred Championship with games played over three days starting with a Friday night fixture between the Sheffield Eagles and the Batley Bulldogs.
Saturday saw Oldham host Whitehaven and the rest of the games were spread over various kick-off times on Sunday with Swinton getting the day underway as they faced the Bradford Bulls. The remaining fixtures involved London hosting Newcastle, Widnes playing away against Toulouse, Halifax travelling the short distance to Dewsbury and York and Featherstone rounding off the weekend with the evening game.
The Friday night game at Sheffield was nip and tuck for the opening sixty minutes before the Bulldogs pulled clear to take the points. Hooley scored first for Batley but a converted try from Worrincy put Sheffield ahead. Gilmore scored on twenty-seven to edge his side back in front and they maintained their 10-6 lead until the interval. Worrincy got his, and Sheffield’s, second just after the restart for 10-10 and the Eagles were back in front on fifty-six thanks to a Bull try. When Hooley got his second just after the hour mark it signalled a Bulldogs onslaught and with unanswered tries from Manning, Campbell and Hall it was the visiting Batley side who took the 30-18 win.
Whitehaven enjoyed their Saturday trip down the M6 to Oldham as they recorded a big 36-4 win, despite not opening their account until the stroke of half time. Oldham had taken the lead on thirty through Green but a Cooper try and goal put ‘Haven 6-4 up at the break. Parker scored the Marras second within two minutes of the restart before it turned into the Callum Phillips show as the substitute got four tries in a thirty-minute spell for a 36-4 win.
Swinton Lions are still looking for their first win of 2021 but came very close to upsetting the Bradford Bulls in Sundays first game. It was a good sign when Rizzelli opened the scoring for Swinton on seven minutes but tries from Doyle, Foggin-Johnston and Brough put the Bulls 18-4 ahead. Roberts got a converted try on the half time hooter to reduce the interval arrears to eight points. Pickersgill scored on forty-eight for a 22-10 lead and Lilley added what turned out to be a crucial drop goal on the hour mark. A valiant Swinton fightback saw them get within a point of an upset as Lloyd and Hansen both got four pointers inside a two-minute spell to reduce the arrears to just a point, but the Bulls held on for the 23-22 victory.
London and Newcastle had a real battle as both sides looked to climb the league table. First half London tries from Fozard, Hankinson and Miski were responded to by Gill, Wrench and Simons for Thunder and the sides went into the sheds all tied up at 18-18. Boafo put the Broncos ahead for the first time in the game on forty-four and when he added a second on fifty-three the Broncos had taken full grasp of the game. Wilde grabbed Newcastle a slender lifeline on sixty-five but within two minutes Richards went in for London’s sixth try of the afternoon and a 38-24 lead. Sammut scored on seventy-three to extinguish any lingering Newcastle ambition. A Gill try for Newcastle three minutes from time just spurned London on and Miski completed the scoring on the final hooter for a 50-30 win.
It was a trip to France which Widnes and their supporters will not want to live long in the memory as they were thrashed 70-0 by Toulouse Olympique XIII. It was a steady procession of tries from the home side started by White on eight minutes. Jussaume, Sangare, Dixon (2) and Hitchcox all score before half time for a 30-0 half time lead. Garbutt, Flovie, Pelissier (3), Schaumkel and Dixon completing his hat-trick, all scored in the second half for ruthless runaway win with thirteen unanswered tries.
There was another blowout in the game between the Dewsbury Rams and Halifax Panthers as the Rams didn’t register a point. Barber scored twice in the first half, and Robinson kicked four goals to give the Panthers a 16-0 interval lead and they built on that in the second half with three more tries from Moore, Rawsthorne and Morris, Robinson adding four second half kicks for a convincing 36-0 win.
The final game of the round was a nail-biting encounter between York City Knights and Featherstone Rovers from the LNER Community Stadium. York took the lead as early as the sixth minute through Marsh but Hall replied on twelve for Rovers to trail 4-6. Salter added a second on twenty-eight for 12-4 but a penalty as the half ended left Rovers six adrift at the change of ends. Three minutes before the half hour Gale scored a second Fev’ try and with the conversion the scores were level. With three minutes remaining York went for a drop goal but it was charged down and Hall picked up the loose ball to sprint seventy metres for the winning try, Featherstone winning by 16-12.