This weekend was one of the biggest in the Championship calendar as all 14 teams descended upon Leeds Rhinos’ Emerald Headingley Stadium for a superb weekend of rugby which would have massive bearings on the season’s overall narrative.
The weekend began as London Broncos’ recent good fortune came to an end hitting a brick wall dressed in the red and white of Sheffield Eagles.
Ben Jones-Bishop crossed at his old stomping ground where he won two Super League titles whilst Kris Welham bagged a brace. Anthony Thackeray was typically brilliant as the Eagles cruised to a 38-12 win thanks to 28 points in the second half.
If that ended up being easy for the Eagles, things were easy from start to finish for Batley as they ran in 11 tries and 60 points to heap misery on their local rivals Dewsbury who are truly facing the prospect of relegation this year. Johnny Campbell was the star of the show with four tries.
After that, in another fiery derby, Halifax like Batley were on hand to pound more misery on top of their rivals Bradford with a 22-6 win over the Bulls.
It was a fairly easy afternoon for the Panthers as they took a 22-0 lead as Zack McComb scored a brace of tries. This was all done in the absence of suspended stars. There was also a touch of controversy at 16-0 when Joe Martin was sent off for running in after a high tackle.
There was one red in that clash but as the top two collided both teams went down to 12 after Nene MacDonald and Tyla Hepi were both shown red cards after a first half brawl.
It was a sign of a feisty contest and one that slipped into frustration for Featherstone as the continued disparity between them and the league leaders was again shown with the Centurions winding up 46-16 winners over the Rovers.
Caleb Aekins crossed for a brace whilst Blake Ferguson celebrated his new deal with a try.
After the game questions were asked of Fev’s promotion credentials but boss Brian McDermott defiantly stated that his side could beat Leigh despite three high profile losses to the Centurions recently.
That was the end of Day One as Premier Sports produced some outstanding coverage and they continued that on to Day Two.
It started between two teams who up until today had enjoyed perfect Julys: Barrow and Widnes. In the end the game would go the way of the Raiders with Tee Ritson grabbing a brace as Jarrod Sammut scored as well as they turned round a 16-12 halftime deficit to win 36-24.
In the penultimate game of the weekend Whitehaven made light work of Workington in a 28-10 win as Andrew Bulman scored a double.
The weekend concluded with two forward thinking and developing sides meeting in the shape of Newcastle and York.
After a tight first half, York led 10-8 but quickly ploughed ahead to 20-8 in front as Matty Marsh and James Glover crossed for tries.
However, the Thunder quickly repeated this feat with a quick fire double of their own started by Connor Bailey and rounded off by a brilliant Isaac Nokes surge to the line making it 20-18.
Eventually the Knights sealed the deal with a Danny Kirmond try and a Brendan O’Hagan drop goal for good measure.
London Broncos 12-38 Sheffield Eagles
Batley Bulldogs 60-6 Dewsbury Rams
Bradford Bulls 6-22 Halifax Panthers
Featherstone Rovers 16-46 Leigh Centurions
Barrow Raiders 36-24 Widnes Vikings
Whitehaven 28-10 Workington Town
Newcastle Thunder 18-27 York City Knights