Northern Rail Cup Round Up
Featherstone Rovers, one of the favourites for this season’s Northern Rail Cup, secured their third straight win of the competition following an enthralling 28-22 over fellow contenders Barrow Raiders at Craven Park.
Featherstone looked to be in control of the fixture when the sides went into the half-time break at 18-6 after Tony Tonks, Liam Welham and Micheal Haley all crossed for the Rovers to cancel out an early James Nixon try for the Raiders.
However, a stirring half-time talk from coach Garry Schofield seemed to resurrect the Raiders and they came out firing in the second half with unanswered tries from Rooney and Fletcher bringing the score back to within two points at 18-16.
Tommy Saxton got the first points of the second half for Featherstone when he crossed the line, but Liam Harrison replied minutes later to make the score 24-22 going into the final ten minutes.
It was Featherstone’s Zak Hardaker who had the final word of the game when he scored to make it 28-22 with only minutes to spare to secure a place in the quarter-finals for the Rovers.
Defending Northern Rail Cup champions Batley Bulldogs produced their finest display of the campaign so far, inflicting a heavy 60-6 defeat on Gateshead Thunder.
Batley scored ten tries in the game, including a hat-trick from centre Daley Williams while half-backs Gareth Moore and Paul Handforth provided 30 points between them.
In the all Championship clash between home side Leigh Centurions and Sheffield Eagles, it was the Centurions who took the spoils, with a commanding 68-6 win to book a place in the quarter-finals.
Leigh led 34-0 at half-time after a scintillating performance which seen them score six unanswered tries and their dominance continued into the second half when they scored another six tries.
Centre Mick Nanyn scored 10 from 12 with the boot while half-back Martin Ridyard claimed a hat-trick of tries. Jamie Cottle got a consolation score for Sheffield two minutes from the end to ensure they weren’t whitewashed.
Another of the sides touted for success this season are Widnes Vikings and they secured a third successive competition win against Rochdale Hornets to book their place in the quarter-finals.
The Vikings were made to work hard for their half-time lead as the sides went into the interval at 22-10, but the Vikings’ class told in the second half when they scored five unanswered tries to run out 50-10 winners, with winger Steve Tyrer dominating the scoreboards with 20 points.
Recently promoted York City Knights were made to work hard for a share of the points against Championship One side London Skolars during their 16-16 Northern Rail Cup clash.
Both sides had failed to record a victory in their opening two rounds of the competition and this contest looked set to go down to the wire from the very start and it was York who went into the half-time break with a narrow 12-10 lead.
London took the lead with 15 minutes left on the clock when full-back Ade Adebisi’s score was converted by Neil Thorman to give the Skolars a slender 16-12 lead but it was short lived as Danny Wilson’s unconverted try levelled the scores two minutes later.
Both sides searched for the winning points in the final ten minutes but were forced to play out the draw.
Having lost their opening two games of the competition against Halifax RLFC and Leigh Centurions, Swinton Lions were desperate for a win as they entertained Oldham Roughyeds.
It looked like being another long day for the Lions when Oldham’s Mark Brocklehurst scored the first try of the game after 11 minutes but four quick tries from Rob Foxen, Martin Ainscough, Richie Hawkyard and Gavin Dodd ensured the Lions went into the half-time interval with a 20-6 lead.
Two tries from Oldham’s John Gillam in the space of five minutes brought the scored back to 20-16 before Hawkyard scored his second of the game to give the Lions breathing space at 24-16. Oldham responded moments later with Brocklehurst getting on the score board again to make it 24-20.
Dodd crossed for his second of the game moments after he landed a drop-goal to make the final score Swinton 29, Oldham 20.
Dewsbury Rams came out on top in their clash with Championship One side Doncaster RLFC in a tough 30-18 encounter.
Both sides went into the fixture off the back of second week victories and there was little to separate the teams at half-time with the score line 18-12 in favour of the Rams.
The second-half saw Dewsbury take control of the game with a score from Doncaster’s Adam Scott sandwiched in between tries from Luke Blake and Josh Tonks.
Hunslet Hawks recorded their first victory of the season following a 30-0 victory over Workington Town, a side who had won both their opening Northern Rail fixtures.
Hunslet scored five unanswered tries in a contest they never looked like losing.
Keighley Cougars played host to French side Toulouse Olympique in the only fixture to be played on Saturday and it was the visitors who went away with the points after an impressive 36-22 victory.
A hat-trick by Toulouse half-back Darren Nicholls ensured the French side clinched their second victory of the competition in what was a tough encounter.
Toulouse took an early lead, scoring two converted tries early on before Keighley could get on the scoreboard. Trailing by eight points at the half-time break, Keighley brought the game to within two points when Jermaine Wray crossed early in the second-half, but tries from Nicholls and Josh Lewis in the final ten minutes put the game beyond the Cougars.
The fixture between Whitehaven RLFC and Halifax RLFC was postponed due to a water-logged pitch