Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Super 8s Round Three Review

Ahead of a break due to the Challenge Cup Final, the Super 8s reached round three and after a low scoring round two, this was quite the opposite with three sides scoring 40+ points. 

Castleford Tigers claimed the League Leaders Shield with a comfortable 45-20 win over city rivals Wakefield Trinity in Thursday's round opener.

Trinity opened the scoring with a Liam Finn penalty goal inside two minutes for 0-2 before Cas led on ten minutes as Zak Hardaker crossed with Luke Gale converting for 6-2. Ben Jones-Bishop crossed for Trinity for 6-6 but Cas were back in front as Mike McMeeken crossed, Gale converting for 12-6.  Jake Webster went over for Cas with Gale kicking for 18-6 but the gap was 18-10 at the interval after a late try from Mason Caton-Brown. 

Danny Kirmond cut the gap further with Finn converting for 18-16. Cas took control,Greg Eden crossing before Webster completed his hat-trick and a fourth try, Gale converting twice while adding a drop goal too for 39-16. Max Jowitt made it 39-20 before a second score from Hardaker and conversion from Gale sealed top spot.

My attendance this round was on Friday as Wigan Warriors prepared for the cup final with a comfortable 42-6 win over Salford Red Devils. 

Wigan raced into a 16-0 lead inside 17 minutes with scores Sean O'Loughlin crossing for the opening try on eight minutes ahead of efforts from Liam Farrell and Joe Burgess with George Williams converting twice. 

A second score from Burgess was followed by a try from Sam Powell just before the interval with Williams converting for 22-0. A self-converted effort from Williams was followed by a rare score from Frank-Paul Nuuausala,Williams converting for a huge 36-0 lead.

Salford avoided a nilling as Niall Evalds went over on 68 minutes with Gareth O'Brien converting for 36-6 but the hosts had the last say as Liam Marshall crossed six minutes from the end.

Friday's televised action saw Leeds Rhinos bid farewell to their famous South Stand with  a 16-14 win over St Helens.

A tight first half saw the sides level at 2-2 past the half hour mark after penalty goals from Mark Percival and Kallum Watkins. Saints led 8-2 into the interval as Jonny Lomax crossed on 37 minutes with Percival converting.

Leeds levelled within eight minutes of the restart as Ryan Hall crossed and Watkins converted for 8-8. The Rhinos went ahead just after the hour as Adam Cuthbertson touched down with Watkins converting ahead of kicking a penalty goal for 16-8. 

Saints cut the gap to 16-14 with five minutes to go as Danny Richardson went over with Percival converting but they were unable to complete the comeback.

Hull FC's preparation to defend their Challenge Cup title saw them suffer a huge 46-18 loss to Huddersfield Giants.

The hosts opened the scoring through Gareth Ellis with Marc Sneyd converting for 6-0 after ten minutes. Hudds cut the gap to 6-4 with Darnell McIntosh's try before leading as Lee Gaskell touched down with Danny Brough converting for 10-6.

Jake Connor went over for the hosts with Sneyd converting for 12-10 but the Giants would lead 22-12 into the interval via tries from Alex Mellor and McIntosh with Brough converting twice. Brough added a penalty goal four minutes after the restart ahead of a try from Tyler Dickinson which Jordan Rankin converted for 30-12.

A second score from Gaskell was followed seven minutes later by FC denting the Giants spree as Josh Griffin touched down with Sneyd converting for 30-18. Hudds wrapped up the win with a Kruise Leeming try and third for Gaskell with Rankin converting both.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Super 8s- Super League/The Qualifiers Round Two Review

As promised last week, the reviews for the Super 8s begin with round two but again the two competitions are combined in one post.

Thursday night saw a Yorkshire battle with a surprise as Wakefield Trinity eased to a 38-6 win over Leeds Rhinos.

Trinity led 6-0 inside five minutes with a Joe Arundel try and Liam Finn conversion before Adam Cuthbertson crossed and Kallum Watkins converted for the Rhinos at 6-6.

Two scores in as many minutes put the hosts ahead as former Rhinos winger Ben Jones-Bishop went over as did Scott Grix with Finn improving both before adding a penalty six minutes later for 20-6. A try in the final seconds of the half from Jacob Miller saw Finn convert for 26-6 into the interval.

The second half was a low-scoring one compared to the frantic first half but Trinity maintained control and wrapped up the win with tries from Matt Ashurst and Bill Tupou with Finn converting both.

My attendance for the week was on Friday night as Wigan Warriors claimed an 18-4 win over Huddersfield Giants.

The Giants opened the scoring with 10 minutes played as Jermaine McGillvary crossed but Danny Brough was unable to convert at 0-4. Wigan levelled three minutes later through Anthony Gelling's try before edging ahead just before half-time with a Liam Farrell try which Sam Powell converted for 10-4 into the interval. 

Powell extended the lead with a penalty goal on 52 minutes before the win was sealed three minutes from the end as Sam Tomkins crossed for a try which he then converted. 

Castleford Tigers moved a step closer to securing the League Leaders Shield with a comfortable 23-4 win over Salford Red Devils.

The Tigers opened the scoring inside seven minutes through Zak Hardaker's try which Luke Gale converted for 0-6 before Hardaker claimed his second try just before the half-hour mark with Gale kicking for 0-12. The lead remained into the interval but within three minutes of the restart, Salford were on the board as Manu Vatuvei touched down for 4-12.

The win was wrapped up by two scores either side of the hour mark as Paul McShane and Jy Hitchcox crossed for tries with Gale converting the first before kicking a drop goal with five minutes left.

The final game of the round was the closest as Hull FC edged an 8-6 win over St Helens.

The Saints opened the scoring with just four minutes on the clock as Regan Grace crossed with Mark Percival converting for a 4-0 lead. FC went into the interval ahead as Marc Sneyd crossed for a try five minutes before half-time which he converted for 4-6.

A close-run second half saw just one further score as Sneyd kicked penalty goal four minutes after the hour mark for 6-8. Saints pushed to try and turn the narrow deficit around but to no avail as FC held on for the win.

The Qualifiers opened with Warrington Wolves claiming a 52-24 win over fellow Super League side Catalans Dragons.

The Wolves flew out of the blocks with tries from Stefan Ratchford, Matty Russell and Declan Patton inside 15 minutes with Patton converting the lot for an 18-0 lead. Catalans hit back five minutes later through Remi Casty, Luke Walsh converting for 18-6. Warrington resumed their control on the scoreboard with a Ryan Atkins effort ahead of Ratchford's second try with Patton improving both for 30-6 into the interval.

Catalans struck first in the second half as Krisnan Inu touched down with Walsh converting for 30-10. Atkins crossed for his second try which Patton converted before a long range try from Lewis Tierney saw Walsh convert for 36-16. The Wolves reached 40 points after efforts from Tom Lineham and Peta Hiku were improved by Patton but Catalans remained in the hunt with a second try from Inu, Walsh converting for 48-24. Warrington had the last say though as Lineham claimed his second try two minutes from the end.

Hull Kingston Rovers continued their quest to return to Super League with a narrow 20-16 win at Leigh Centurions.

Leigh struck first through Daniel Mortimer with Josh Drinkwater converting for a 6-0 lead which was cut on the half hour mark by Shaun Lunt's  try which Jamie Ellis converted for 6-6. The hosts led into the interval as Drinkwater converting a late penalty for 8-6.

Leigh moved to 10-6 with a Drinkwater penalty on 51 minutes but KR drew level on the hour mark as Ryan Shaw crossed with Ellis converting before adding a penalty five minutes later for 10-14. Leigh regained the lead on 69 minutes as Atelea Vea crossed with Drinkwater kicking for 16-14. The win was sealed for Rovers with four minutes to go as Lunt touched down for a second time with Ellis converting.

Widnes Vikings bounced back from their opening round defeat with a 36-12 win at Halifax.

The Vikings struck inside seven minutes as Chris Bridge crossed with Lloyd White converting for 0-6. A self converted effort from White was followed by him improving a late effort from Charly Runciman as Widnes led 0-18 into the interval.

A rapid brace from Corey Thompson within six minutes of the restart made it 0-26 but Fax cut the gap with a Ben Heaton brace before the hour with Steve Tyrer and Andy Murrell converting for 12-26. Widnes added the gloss on a strong win late on with scores from Joe Mellor (White conv) and Danny Craven.


The round ended with a fantastic 32-32 draw between London Broncos and Featherstone Rovers.

London made the perfect start as Jay Pitts crossed in the opening minute for 4-0 before Elliot Kear and William Barthau crossed in the space of two minutes with Jarrod Sammut converting once for 14-0. Fev responded through Connor Farrell with Ian Hardman converting for 14-6 before John Davies crossed just before half-time for 14-10.

A second try from Davies was swiftly followed by a score from Luke Briscoe with Hardman converting both for 14-22. London regained the lead with tries from Sammut and Mark Ioane with Sammut converting both to make it 26-22. London extended the lead through Andy Ackers (Sammut conv) but Fev fought back superbly with a second score for Briscoe ahead of a late try from Chris Ulugia with Hardman converting to secure the draw.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Super 8s - Super League/The Qualifiers Round One

After one of the most unpredictable regular seasons in Super League history, the annual split for the Super 8s began last weekend with round one. The traditional reviews will begin in round two with a post for each competition - Super League/The Qualifiers due to a busy schedule this week.


Monday, 31 July 2017

Challenge Cup Semi Finals Review

After the regular season ended last weekend, the Challenge Cup semi finals bridged the gap ahead of next week's opening round of the Super 8s.

Saturday afternoon saw the first semi final take place at the Keepmoat Stadium, Doncaster with holders Hull FC extending their defence of the trophy with a 43-24 win over Leeds Rhinos.

Leeds struck first with a try from Ryan Hall  which Kallum Watkins converted but FC were level at 6-6 within four minutes as Marc Sneyd converted Albert Kelly's try. The sides exchanged tries again as Hall claimed his second ahead of a Carlos Tuimavave effort with Watkins and Sneyd converting for 12-12.

FC led 18-12 into the interval after Chris Green's try (Sneyd conv) and they took further control of the tie before the hour with Tuimavave's second score followed by a conversion and drop goal from Sneyd for 25-12. A self-converted try from Watkins cut the gap to 25-18 on the hour but scores from Liam Watts, Jamie Shaul and Scott Taylor saw Sneyd convert twice for a huge 43-18 lead. The final say on the score line went to Leeds with Ash Golding crossing in the 79th minute with Jordan Lilley converting.

I attended the second semi final which took place on Sunday at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, Warrington and saw Wigan Warriors win 27-14 against Salford Red Devils.

Wigan raced into a 12-0 lead inside 16 minutes as Oliver Gildart crossed ahead of a first try of the season from Willie Isa with George Williams converting twice. Salford were level within ten minutes as Greg Johnson and Junior Sa'u touched down with Michael Dobson converting both.

A double blow nine minutes before half-time for the Warriors saw Sam Tomkins sin-binned with Dobson giving Salford a 12-14 lead with the resulting penalty.

Wigan levelled with a penalty of their own from Williams on 55 minutes before he missed the chance to make it 16-14 with a penalty four minutes later. The tie turned on the hour as Michael McIlorum  crossed with Williams kicking for a 20-14 lead which became 21-14 six minutes later after Tomkins kicked a drop goal. Salford pushed hard to cut the gap but with a minute to go Wigan wrapped up the win as Gildart crossed for his second try which Williams converted.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Super League Round 23 Review

After the most unpredictable season to date in Super League, the regular season came to an end with round 23.

The round opened on Thursday night as Warrington Wolves secured a 22-6 derby win over Widnes Vikings.

A rapid start from the Wolves saw Matty Russell cross inside two minutes for 4-0 before Joe Mellor went over and Stefan Marsh converted for 4-6.

Warrington took control from there though with a first Wolves try for Peta Hiku followed by a score from former Vikings half Kevin Brown and second from Russell with Stefan Ratchford converting the lot.

Wigan ended their mixed regular season campaign with a 34-0 rout of weakened Leeds Rhinos on Friday's TV game.

Wigan got off the mark with two quick efforts from Michael McIlorum and Sam Tomkins coupled with a George Williams conversion for 10-0. Williams extended the lead with a try of his own for 14-0 into the interval.

A three minute brace from Oliver Gildart saw Williams convert the latter for 24-0. The win was wrapped up in the final ten minutes by a try from Tom Davies and a second for Williams with Sam Powell converting the latter.

Another of the top four suffered a nilling as Leigh Centurions claimed a 25-0 win over Salford Red Devils.

Leigh got off the mark inside ten minutes as Gregg McNally crossed with Josh Drinkwater converting before improving an effort from Atelea Vea for 12-0.

The hosts led 18-0 at the interval after a first try for the club from Samisoni Langi with Drinkwater converting.

The win was wrapped up late on by a Drinkwater drop goal for 19-0 before he improved a second try from McNally.

Friday's third game saw a tight game as Hull FC edged a 14-10 win over Huddersfield Giants.

FC struck first as Mark Minichiello crossed inside 15 minutes with Marc Sneyd converting for 6-0. Josh Bowden went over seven minutes later to extend the lead, Sneyd converted for 12-0.

Hudds cut the gap before half-time though as Darnell McIntosh and Jermaine McGillvary crossed for tries with Danny Brough converting the former for 12-10.

The second half was a tight one with just one score between the sides which came five minutes from the end as Sneyd converted a penalty goal to confirm the win.

Saturday afternoon saw Castleford Tigers come from behind to claims a  32-24 win over Catalans Dragons.

The visitors went ahead inside nine minutes as Jy Hitchcox crossed out wide with Luke Gale converting before adding a penalty goal for 0-8. Zak Hardaker extended the lead with a long range effort, Gale converting for 0-14.

A superb fightback from the Dragons saw Lucas Albert, Tony Gigot and Fouad Yaha cross in a 14 minute spree with Gigot converting the lot for 18-14 but Cas had the last say in the first half as Hardaker kicked a penalty for 18-16.

Cas regained the lead with a Greg Minikin try which Gale converted for 18-22 but Catalans hit back with a Vincent Duport effort which Gigot converted for 24-22. The Tiger are fabled for late comebacks and this was no different as Hitchcox claimed his second try and Paul McShane crossed in the final five minutes with Gale converting the former.

The round and the regular season itself came to an end on Sunday afternoon as St Helens strolled to a 41-16 win at Wakefield Trinity.

A rapid start from both sides saw Danny Richardson cross for Saints with Mark Percival converting with former Saint, Matty Ashurst crossing for the hosts with Liam Finn converting for 6-6.

Saints took control with efforts from James Roby, Tommy Makinson and Regan Grace with Percival  converting the lot for 6-24.

Wakefield responded two minutes after half-time through Scott Grix with Finn converting for 12-24.  Mason Caton-Brown cut the gap further on the hour for 16-24 but a brace of penalties from Percival made it 16-30 before late tries from Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook and Zeb Taia were converted by Percival with the final say going to Richardson who kicked a drop goal on the hooter.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Super League Round 22 Review

Just one round left to go before the regular season comes to a close after this weekend saw round 22.

The round opened on Thursday night with my attendance of the week as Warrington Wolves edged a 16-10 win over Wigan Warriors.

A rapid start from Wigan saw Oliver Gildart cross inside three minutes for 4-0 before Benjamin Jullien levelled at 4-4 on 15 minutes. John Bateman restored the lead for Wigan with George Williams converting for 10-4. The gap was just two points at the interval as Ryan Atkins crossed late on for 10-8.

The Wolves kept their hosts scoreless in the second half as they turned the game around with a try from Ben Currie and two goals from Stefan Ratchford.

Friday's televised action saw a battle at the top as Castleford Tigers completed a 100% home record with a 38-14 win over Salford Red Devils.

A rapid start from the Tigers saw Greg Eden cross inside four minutes before Gareth O'Brien levelled at 4-4. A Ben Roberts try which Luke Gale converted was followed by a second score for Eden which saw him leave the field with a shoulder injury as Gale converted for 16-4. Kris Welham crossed for the visitors after a Gale penalty and Michael Dobson converted for 18-10 at the interval.

The Tigers took control with efforts from Joel Monaghan and Zak Hardaker (Gale convs) before Jake Bibby cut the gap for the visitors to 30-14. A second score for Monaghan and two goals from Gale rounded off the win.

Huddersfield Giants confirmed their Super League status with a comfortable 26-4 win over Leigh Centurions.

A tight first quarter between the sides soon saw Lee Gaskell cross for the hosts with Danny Brough converting for 6-0 before adding a penalty six minutes later for an 8-0 lead which lasted into the interval.

Ukuma Ta'ai extended the lead within three minutes of the restart, Brough converting for 14-0 before converting a second score from Gaskell for 20-0.

Leigh stemmed the spree with a try just before the hour mark from Josh Drinkwater. The Giants had the last say on the scoreline as Leroy Cudjoe crossed late on with Brough converting.

Ahead of facing each other in the Challenge Cup semi final in a fortnight, Leeds Rhinos overcame Hull FC with a 10-7 victory.

FC opened the scoring with a try from Scott Taylor inside seven minutes with Marc Sneyd converting for 0-6.Sneyd kicked a drop goal in the final seconds of the half for a 0-7 advantage.

Leeds won the second half though as Ryan Hall and Jack Walker crossed for tries with Jordan Lilley converting the latter.

The final game of Friday's quartet saw Wakefield Trinity claim a comfortable 36-8 win over Widnes Vikings.

The Vikings opened the scoring inside five minutes through Joe Mellor with Stefan Marsh converting for 6-0. Mason Caton-Brown crossed to cut the gap to 6-4 before Liam Finn levelled with a penalty on 23 minutes.

A penalty from Marsh made it 8-6 but Trinity would lead into the interval as Bill Tupou and Sam Williams crossed with Finn converting both for 8-18. The visitors took control in the second half with Tinirau Arona crossing ahead of second scores for Caton-Brown and Tupou with Finn converting both.

The round ended on Sunday afternoon as St Helens came from behind to claim a 46-28 win over Catalans Dragons.

A superb start for the visitors saw Justin Horo cross inside three minutes with Luke Walsh converting. Saints replied through a Theo Fages try and Mark Percival conversion for 6-6.

The sides exchanged scores again with a self converted effort from Walsh followed by an Alex Walmsley try, Percival converting for 12-12. Percival edged Saints ahead with a penalty before Tony Gigot crossed and Walsh converted for 14-18. Saints would lead at the interval though as Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook crossed and Percival converted, 20-18.

The Dragons went ahead ten minutes after the restart as Horo claimed his second try for 20-22 but a try for Jonny Lomax (Percival conv) was sandwiched by penalties from Percival as Saints led 30-22. Richie Myler (Walsh conv) cut the gap to 30-28 but a flurry from the hosts saw Percival, Luke Thompson and Ryan Morgan cross for tries with Percival converting twice.

Monday, 10 July 2017

Super League Round 21 Review

There are just two more rounds left of the Super League regular season after this weekend saw round 21, a round that saw two sides hit a half-century of points in comfortable wins.

Thursday's round opener saw a close-run city derby as Castleford Tigers edged a 25-24 win over Wakefield Trinity.

Trinity stunned the Tigers by leading 8-0 inside 15 minutes with a Ben Jones-Bishop try which Liam Finn converted before adding a penalty goal. Castleford. The hosts went on to become the first side nil the Tigers in a first half as they led 16-0 as Finn converted an effort from Kyle Wood and added a second penalty goal.

A superb fightback from Castleford saw them move into a 16-18 lead within 15 minutes of the restart as Greg Eden, Grant Millington and Mike McMeeken all crossed for tries which Luke Gale converted. Wakefield regained the lead through David Fifita on 69 minutes with Finn converting for 24-18. However, Cas drew level with just six minutes remaining as Jake Webster went over with Gale kicking for 24-24 before sealing the win with a drop goal in the final minute.

Friday saw two high scoring games away from the televised action which saw St Helens secure a 19-12 win over Hull FC.

A tight first half saw the hosts lead 8-6 having come from behind after a Jamie Shaul try and Marc Sneyd conversion saw FC lead 0-6 but a try from James Roby saw Marc Percival convert before adding a late penalty goal.

A self converted effort from Percival made it 14-6 within seven minutes of the restart but FC closed the gap to 14-12 with a try from Mahe Fonua and conversion from Sneyd  with 15 minutes left. Percival claimed his second try with an acrobatic finish for 18-12 but the last say went to Danny Richardson who's drop goal confirmed the win four minutes from the end.

Huddersfield Giants moved closer to securing their Super League status with a 40-0 hammering of Widnes Vikings.

The Giants stormed into an 18-0 lead inside 16 minutes as Shannon Wakeman, Jermaine McGillvary and Ryan Hinchcliffe all crossed for tries which Martyn Ridyard converted. The lead was 24-0 at the interval as Ridyard converted a try from Adam O'Brien after 36 minutes.

The game was over as a contest within 11 minutes of the restart as Darnell McIntosh went over and Ridyard converted for 30-0. The rout was completed by two scores in the final nine minutes as McGillvary claimed his second try ahead of a late effort from Ukuma Ta'ai which Ridyard converted to reach the 40 point mark.

Warrington Wolves continued their quest to avoid The Qualifiers as they eased to a 50-10 win over Leigh Centurions.

Early scores from Ryan Atkins and Ashton Sims saw Stefan Ratchford convert either side of a penalty goal for 14-0 before a seven minute brace from Tom Lineham coupled with a Ratchford conversion looked to have given the Wolves a 24-0 lead into half time but a self converted effort in the last minute of the half from Ben Renyolds made it 24-6 at the break.

Ben Pomeroy crossed within eight minutes of the restart with Ratchford converting for 30-6 before the win was wrapped up by two scores in three minutes after the hour, Lineham completed his hat-trick ahead of a Jack Hughes try with Ratchford converting for 40-6. Leigh stemmed the Wolves spree with a Matty Dawson try for 40-10 but a fourth for Lineham was followed late on by a Declan Patton score which Ben Westwood converted.

Saturday evening saw Wigan Warriors secure their Super League status with a 32-10 win over Catalans Dragons.

A tight first half in searing heat saw the Warriors lead 4-8 at the break after Joe Burgess crossed for a try which George Williams converted for 0-6 before Williams added a penalty goal on 29 minutes after Vincent Duport had made it 4-6.

The Dragons took the lead within eight minutes of the restart as Duport claimed his second try with Luke Walsh converting for 10-8. Wigan drew level with a penalty goal from Williams before taking control with a second try from Burgess and a self converted effort from Williams for 10-22. The win was confirmed late on as Sam Tomkins claimed his first try of the season ahead of a hat-trick try for Burgess with Williams converting both.

The final game of the round saw Leeds Rhinos claim a 50-24 win over Salford Red Devils on Sunday afternoon.

The hosts led 6-0 early on as Josh Wood crossed for his first senior try which Michael Dobson converted. Leeds levelled through a Ryan Hall try and Kallum Watkins conversion before Tom Briscoe and Matt Parcell crossed either side of a try for Watkins who converted twice for a 6-22 advantage. Further scores from Joel Moon and Jamie Jones-Buchanan and a second score from Briscoe saw Jordan Lilley add a conversion for a huge 6-36 lead at the interval.

Salford cut the gap with a Ben Murdoch-Masila try which Dobson converted for 12-36 before a Lilley penalty for 12-38. A self converted effort from Dobson was followed by a try from Anthony Mullally with Lilley converting for 18-44. Murdoch-Masila crossed for his second try which Dobson converted for 24-44 but the last say went to the Rhinos as Jack Walker crossed in the final minute with Lilley converting to bring up the 50 point mark.