Round Twenty of the Betfred Championship saw a few shocks as the sides continued to jockey for play-off spots and to avoid relegation to League One. The weekend started on Saturday evening as Newcastle Thunder faced Dewsbury Rams.
The remainder of the games were on Sunday afternoon, a delayed kick off at Sheffield after the Workington team were delayed on the journey down to South Yorkshire. The remainder were three o´clock kick offs as Barrow hosted Bradford, Widnes travelled to Batley, London faced High flying Halifax, Leigh were at strugglers Whitehaven, and Featherstone at home to the York City Knights.
It was honours even on Saturday as Newcastle and Dewsbury drew 24-24 in an exciting encounter. Sykes put Dewsbury ahead and Carr added a second on thirteen to put the Rams 12-0 up. Roberts quickly responded for Newcastle and when Boafo added a second for the Thunder they were just two adrift, but Butterworth went in on the half time hooter to give the visitors an 18-10 lead at the break. Carr added a second just before the hour mark for 22-10 before three tries in eight minutes from Johnson, Halsall and Boafo gave the home side a 24-22 lead after Shorrocks could only convert one of the three tries. Sykes completed the scoring with a seventh-fifth minute penalty goal to share the honours.
London Broncos did themselves a massive favour in securing Championship rugby as they sprang a shock in comprehensively beating the Halifax Panthers. London led 20-0 at the interval thanks to tries from Grant, Ulberg, Macani and Lovell, two of which were converted by Leyland. Woodburn-Hall got one back on fifty-five, but Parata soon responded for the Broncos. Walker then added a sixth London try before Saltonstall scored the second and final try for Halifax. Macani got his second with three minutes remaining to seal an emphatic 38-10 win.
The biggest win of the day went to Leigh Centurions who show no sign of letting up as they push for Super League. It was simply a procession from the first whistle with Inu (2), Ipape (2), Stone, Mellor, Aekins and McDonnell all scoring in the first half for a 46-2 interval lead. Inu had completed his hat-trick and Aekins his brace before Singleton got Whitehaven´s only try of the game. The final try from O´Donnell came ten from the end to signal a 64-4 victory.
Widnes Vikings bided their time to pick up a big win over the Batley Bulldogs, despite a flurry of yellow cards towards the end of the game. Buchanan had opened the Bulldogs account as early as the third minute, but Craven struck back for Widnes. Leak and Ward completed the Batley scoring in the first half for an impressive 18-6 lead but the second half belonged to the Vikings. Baker, Tyrer, Ince and Edge all scored unanswered tries with the Vikings securing a 24-18 victory.
Barrow Raiders continued their impressive 2022 as the top side in Cumbria as they beat the Bradford Bulls by 30-4. Ritson, Sammut and Gillam all scored first half tries as the Raiders led 18-0 at the break. Gill snatched the one and only Bulls try at the start of the second half but Cresswell scored with twelve remaining and Ritson added his second five from the end for a 30-4 win.
Featherstone got an awful scare from the York City Knights before snatching the win. Towse and Springer exchanged early tries before Wildie and Bussey put the home side into an 18-4 lead. Brown grabbed York a lifeline on the interval, the visitors trailing 10-18 at the break. Ward scored just after the interval to reduce the arrears to two points but two tries in two minutes from Jones and Lineham put the result beyond doubt and made the late O´Hagan try a mere consolation as Rovers ran out as 30-22 winners.
After a delay of almost two hours Sheffield got off to a bright start against Workington Town as Thackeray scored after just four minutes of play. Kirk added a second and Welham a third before Thomson got the visitors off the mark. A Jones-Bishop try fifteen minutes from the end of the half completed the scoring in the first forty, before Liu and Thompson were both red-carded. Sheffield with a 22-6 interval lead. Sheffield had a great start to the second half with Thackeray adding two more to complete his hat-trick, Jones-Bishop completing a brace and Chrimes and Douglas both getting one for the Eagles to lead 48-6 with fifteen minutes remaining. Laulu-Togagae scored a tenth Eagles try with three minutes remaining before Tom Holmes and then Thackeray went in to complete the Sheffield scoring as they recorded a massive 64-6 win, with Workington wishing they were still stuck on the motorway.