Saturday, 19 April 2014

Visitors Dominate Round Nine

A packed Easter double-header began with seven stunning games featuring a last-gasp in in the Hull derby and the end of the sole 100% record at Langtree Park.

Bulls Trampled By Rhinos

Bradford's barren run continued on Thursday as they lost 6-46 to a rampant Leeds side who raced into a 0-20 lead inside 15 minutes with tries from Sinfield, Moon, McGuire and Hall (Sinfield two convs). Gaskell replied in style for Bradford in the 23rd minute with Gale converting for 6-20, the scoring spree ended there as Leeds led 6-20 at the interval.

Bradford held firm until the 51st minute when the doors well and truly caved in as Hall crossed for his hat-trick with a five minute double (Sinfield conv). Sutcliffe crossed in the 66th minute with Hardaker taking over the kicking duties with instant success to extend the lead to 6-36 an Bradford looked to be on their way to a heavy defeat.

Watkins scored with seven minutes remaining to put Leeds on 40 points with the final say coming from the man of the night, Burrow who scored in the 79th minute to celebrate his 400th appearance and Hardaker converted to complete the win. My prediction of 12-38 was close but Leeds winning was correct.

Hall Seals Rovers Win

Hull KR left it late to seal the bragging rights in the Hull derby with a 21-20 over rivals Hull FC.

The visitors went in front after 12 minutes when Rankin crossed for the opening try but were quickly pegged back by a Larroyer try for Rovers for 4 all.

Weyman put Rovers in front at the break with a try that Burns converted for a 10-4 lead but three minutes after the interval Hull were level as Bowden scored with Whiting converting for 10 all.

A double from Horne (Burns conv) put Rovers in control with a ten point lead at 20-10 but Houghton (Whiting conv) reduced the gap to four points at 20-16 in the 68th minute.

The Hull derby is well known for dramatic endings but surely no-one expected what happened next, Talanoa crossed to bring the score to 20 all with Whiting missing what should have been a winning conversion.

Both sides looked to claim a drop goal with Burns attempting for Rovers and Whiting denying the score but Hall made sure of the win for Rovers with a last-gasp drop goal that sees them displace their city rivals. My prediction of 24-25 came so close but the hopes of a one-point win were correct.

Dragons Deny Broncos Comeback

Due to their geographical distance from the majority of the league, facing each other is the closest London and Catalan get to a derby but akin to their Challenge Cup meeting it was the Dragons who triumphed.

Oldfield put the visitors in front after nine minutes with Bosc converting for 0-6, London did well to keep the gap to six points but suffered a blow when they conceded two tries in five minutes either side of the half-hour with Taia and Barthau scoring with Bosc converting both for a 0-18 lead.

London gave themselves hope as Caton-Brown crossed for their first try just before the break but Drinkwater's missed conversion attempt put the score at 4-18.

Catalan extended their lead as Pelissier scored in the 49th minute with Bosc keeping up his success from the boot with a fourth conversion for 4-24 and the Dragons looked to have sealed the win in the 65th minute when Duport's try made it 4-28.

However, London stunned the visitors with three  tries in nine minutes as Caton-Brown claimed his second score before Mataitonga crossed three minutes later with Drinkwater's conversions putting them at 16-28 with seven minutes still to play. Catalan held firm but Solomona scored for the Broncos with a minute to go and Drinkwater converted for 22-28 as the nerves crept in.

London failed to score off the final set allowing Catalan to claim the narrow win leaving the Broncos still without a win and with trips to Hull and St Helens up next their best hope will be when they meet the Dragons again at the Magic Weekend in a month. A prediction of 18-28 came so close but bang on in terms of Catalan's points haul.

Warriors Ruin Saints Streak

Good Friday became a 'Great Friday' for Wigan as they ended fierce rivals St Helens' 100% record with a spectacular 14-33 win to extend their Easter streak to five in a row over the Saints.

A perfect start for the Warriors came as O'Loughlin scored inside three minutes with Smith converting against his former side for 0-6.

Makinson scored his tenth try of the campaign to pegged Wigan back with his unique one-handed grounding with Walsh converting for 6 all. O'Loughlin turned creator as he found Sarginson who put Wigan back in front with Smith converting for 6-12.

The name Farrell is synonymous in the history of this derby and an addition came when Liam Farrell scored in the 21st minute, Smith converting for a 6-18 lead and Wigan in control.

Makinson made it 11 tries in nine games with his second on 27 minutes but Walsh's failed conversion left them eight points back at 10-18, Turner reduced the deficit four minutes from the interval with a clever try but again Walsh missed with the boot and Saints were 14-18 behind.

Smith added a penalty for Wigan after the hooter for a 14-20 lead which was soon 14-26 when Farrell claimed his second try in the 43rd minute and Smith was on hand to convert for a fourth time, Saints needed a comeback akin to their win at Castleford but fell further behind when Burgess crossed and Smith made it 6/6 with the boot for 14-32.

Smith completed a personal haul of 13 points with a stunning drop goal in the 68th minute for 14-33 and Saints had no real answer from there as they suffered a first loss of the season to their fierce rivals who themselves have won five in a row in all competitions.The prediction of 18-24 was not to far off but a Wigan win was correct.

 Wolves Crush Neighbours Widnes

After completing a double over Warrington last season, Widnes looked for a third successive win over their neighbours but suffered a huge backlash in a 44-6 defeat.

Warrington raced into an 18-0 lead with tries from O'Brien and one each for the Monaghan brothers with Bridge converting all three to signal their intent.

Bridge crossed for a try of his own six minutes from the interval and converted successfully for a 24-0 half-time lead leaving Widnes with a mountain to climb.

Evans crossed twice either side of a try for Currie with Ratchford converting once for a 38-0 lead that mirrored Widnes' last visit to a 'top-side' when Leeds won 38-4 but Flynn made sure they avoided a nilling with a try five minutes from the end and Tickle converted for 38-6.

However, Atkins raced over in the final minute to bring up 40 points and Ratchford converted to complete a devastating win to put Warrington above their neighbours by way of points difference and a surprise in terms of my prediction as I anticipated a 23-23 close score.

Tigers Outscratch Wildcats

Castleford reduced the to St Helens with a 20-43 win over neighbours Wakefield who are now without a win in four games.

Tries from Carney and Clark (Sneyd conv) put the Tigers 0-10 up with McShane crossing for the hosts and Sammut converting for 6-10 after 17 minutes.

Owen crossed to put Cas 6-14 up but Sammut scored a try of his own and converted in the 33rd minute to reduced the gap.

Two tries in as many minutes from Owen and Wheeldon (Sneyd 2 convs) put Cas in control at the interval with a 12-26 lead.

Lyne crossed two minutes into the second period to reduced the gap to 16-26 and Sammut scored his second eight minutes later to put Wakefield only one score behind at 20-26 but Finn extended the visitors lead and Sneyd converted for 20-32.

This time there was no response in the end zone for Wakefield and their day ended badly with a double blow in the final minute as Clark and Wheeldon both scored breakaway tries with Sneyd converting 1/2 for a 20-43 win.

 Giants Extinguish Devils Run

Huddersfield sealed a first win in five games with a 22-42 win at Salford ruining Iestyn Harris' home debut as Salford coach.

Huddersfield shrugged off their poor form as they raced into a 0-18 lead inside 14 minutes with tries from Lunt, Murphy and Brough with the 2013 Man of Steel converting all three.

Salford reduced the gap to 10-18 with scores from Meli and Morley with Mullaney converting the latter but Murphy claimed his second to give the Giants a 10-22 lead into the interval.

Meli crossed for his second try five minutes into the second period to make it 14-18 but tries from McGillvary and Bailey with Brough converting both put Huddersfield in control at 10-34.

Ashurst scored for Salford to give them hope at 18-34 but with only one successful conversion from four attempts, it was a slim hope for the hosts. Brough increased the lead with a penalty and the win was sealed as Murphy completed his hat-trick seven minute from the end with Brough bringing his tally to 18 points with the resulting conversion.

Salford had the last say as Meli completed his hat-trick in the 78th minute but it was only consolation at 22-42 giving Huddersfield a return to winning ways.