Bradford bow out in style + Championship Shield reports

Bradford Bulls 29-22 Toulouse Olympique

Toulouse Olympique 38-34 Swinton Lions – Toulouse Olympique finished their Championship Shield campaign with a tight 38-34 victory over Swinton Lions. The Lions put up a monumental fight against the French club but couldn’t leave Stade Ernest Argeles with a share of the spoils.

The hosts got off to a superb start with two tries in the opening five minutes courtesy of Bastien Ader and Con Mika. Luke Waterworth and Tony Maurel then exchanged scores for the Lions and Toulouse respectively before Kalausa Leha extended Olympique’s advantage. Rhys Curran also crossed before the half-time hooter, with Sylvain Houles’ men 26-6 to the good.

However, in the second half, Swinton went up a few gears and started to give their opponents a fright. They made their feelings known in the first few minutes after the restart through tries for Ilias Bergal and Ben White but Kuni Minga halted the momentum with a four pointer of his own. Anthony Nicholson and Liam Paisley both got on the scoresheet before the final quarter as Swinton made a charge at their opponents. Mike Butt and Clement Boyer swapped scores before Chris Hankinson brought the Lions to within four points of Toulouse by the end of the match with a 76th minute try. A superb effort from Stuart Littler’s side, who will go well in the second tier next season if this performance is anything to go by.

Batley Bulldogs 34-18 Sheffield Eagles – Batley Bulldogs claimed their third victory against Sheffield Eagles this season with a rather comfortable 34-18 win. At one point in the second half, Sheffield were two men down after a yellow card for Jonah Cunningham and a red card for Scott Wheeldon. The Eagles got to within a score of their hosts but Batley ran away with the contest in the final quarter.

It was Sheffield who got on the scoresheet first as Paddy Flynn had too much strength for Dave Scott. Dane Manning, Joe Chandler and Shaun Ainscough all replied with a try each for the Bulldogs before hooker Alistair Leak was sin-binned for a professional foul. Mark Mexico cut the deficit to six points with Sheffield’s second try of the game.

In the second half. Leak made amends fr his earlier yellow card by scoring the opener before Cunningham was shown to the bin for ten minutes. In his absence, the Eagles notched twice to go four points shy of Batley and their second try was after Wheeldon’s dismissal. Duane Straugheir powered over from close range before the Eagles had Wheeldon sent off after an incident with Dane Manning. Menzie Yere finished a move to the corner and Sheffield were smelling blood until the Bulldogs got their act together. Leak and Alex Bretherton both touched down in the final quarter as Batley looked in control till the finish.

Bradford Bulls 72-16 Rochdale Hornets – Bradford Bulls finished their stint in the Kingstone Press Championship with a dominant 72-16 win over Rochdale Hornets at the Provident Stadium.

James Bentley and Vila Halafihi opened the scoring for Bradford with a try apiece before referee Andy Sweet sent three players to the sin-bin, one from the Bulls and two from Rochdale. Gavin Bennion and Jo Taira were shown yellow cards, as was Bradford hooker Scott Moore. A minute later, Liam Kirk extended Bradford’s lead. Lewis Foster became the third Hornets player in the sin-bin as the referee got out the yellow card for dissent. Sam Hallas, Ross Oakes and Ethan Ryan all got on the scoresheet before Rochdale did, through Jordan Case on the half-hour mark. Omari Caro and Joe Keyes finished the half with a four-pointer each as Bradford headed to the sheds 46-6 up.

In the second period, Ross Peltier and Ryan both touched down for the West Yorkshire club before Chris Riley crossed for the Hornets. Moore and Jack Holmes swapped tries for the hosts and visitors respectively prior to Peltier and Cory Aston scoring in the last two minutes of the contest.

Oldham 22-29 Dewsbury Rams – Dewsbury Rams warmed up for their Championship Shield semi-final date against Toulouse Olympique with a 29-22 triumph against Oldham at Bower Fold. The relegated Roughyeds were 22-20 up going into the closing stages but couldn’t finish their campaign with a win.

Richard Lepori and Shaun Squires swapped tries in the opening few minutes for Oldham and Dewsbury respectively before Joe Burke regained the hosts’ lead soon after. A Sam Day try and Paul Sykes penalty goal got the Rams in front before the break.

Danny Grimshaw and Liam Thompson scored four pointers before the final quarter as Oldham went ahead once again but the Rams had the answers needed to get the win. Sykes kicked a penalty goal to level matters before a drop goal from Michael Knowles and try from Tom Halliday won the game for Dewsbury.