Monday, 30 June 2014

Top Two Go Clear

A four day programme for round 18 saw a move away from what has recently been a trend of high scoring games with only four sides even reaching 30 points.

Giants Edge Out Robins
Thursday night saw Huddersfield edge a narrow 22-26 win away to Hull KR leaving the Robins play-off charge dented while the Giants close on the top four.

The Robins went in front inside three minutes with a try from Hodgson with Burns converting for 6-0 but Huddersfield responded with a try from Cudjoe just five minutes later with Brough converting to level the score.

Huddersfield looked to have gone ahead in the 15th minute when McGillvary crossed the Robins try line but after a review it was declined due to a knock-on and Hull KR replied by taking the lead themselves with a try from Welham which was successful after a review but a missed attempt from Burns meant a 10-6 lead.

The Giants replied with a try from Ta'ai but Brough was unable to convert and the score was level at 10 all but the end to end scoring continued as Gardner scored for the hosts but another missed attempt from Burns meant a 14-10 lead.

Crabtree extended the scoring spree with a try in the 33rd minute and Brough converted to move them ahead at 14-16 but the sides were level at the interval as Burns converted a penalty for 16 all on the hooter.

Hodgson looked to have scored his second try of the evening in the 53rd minute but had his effort denied after an obstruction in the build-up and Huddersfield went down the other end and scored themselves as Patrick crossed but Brough's missed attempt meant a 16-20 score.

Patrick crossed for a second time in the 67th minute and Brough converted to increase the gap to ten points at 16-26 and four minutes later, Hodgson's luck avoided him as he crossed for a try only to be denied via a review for a second time on the night.

He did claim his illusive second try of the game in the 79th minute and with Burns converting for 22-26, the Robins had a chance to secure a last-gasp win but were unable to meaning Huddersfield secured the win. An incorrect prediction but bang on with the Huddersfield score after predicting 31-26.

Saints Secure Derby Win 
Friday night saw Derby Day at the DW as St Helens secured a narrow win over neighbours Wigan with a 12-16 victory. After a mixed start for both sides,Wigan opened the scoring in the ninth minute as a superb kick from Sam Powell found Joe Burgess on the wing with the Winger crossing for a try but the decision was sent for a review and after a few looks, the try was given to the joy of the home crowd but sadly Matty Smith was unable to convert and the lead was 4-0.

Wigan looked to increase the lead and came close when George Williams tested the Saints defence with a dangerous grubber kick but with no end product and minutes later, Saints responded with a threat of their own as a nice set of passes found Tommy Makinson wide open on the wing who went over for the try. He failed to convert his own try meaning the sides were level at 4 all.

There could have been a quick response from Wigan as a nice passing set saw Joe Burgess get into a good position but the Saints defence were strong to tackle him into touch and looked to have scored a try of their own with five minutes left of the half as a kick from Lance Hohaia had the Wigan defence scrambling to stop two Saints attackers with Tommy Makinson looking to have touched down but on review it was deemed Joe Burgess had prevented the try.

The sides went into the interval level at 4 all but Wigan could have taken the lead just two minutes into the second half when a good passing set saw Anthony Gelling in space but a rushed offload saw him find touch rather than wing partner Josh Charnley.

The hurried set proved costly as the next set saw a clever kick from Jon Wilkin cause chaos for the Wigan defence with Paul Wellens taking advantage and going over for the try and despite a change of kicking duties to Mark Percival, no conversion followed meaning a 4-8 lead.

The lead could have increased when St Helens attacked with pace but their speed let them down as they knocked on when the chance to find the unmarked Adam Swift would have been the best option but the home crowd applauded minutes later when Jamie Doran came on for his senior debut wearing number 42 which shows the depth of the Warriors squad.

Doran had the perfect start to his debut as he took part in a nice set of play that saw an exquisite pass from Matt Bowen find Josh Charnley out wide with the Winger crossing or the try but continuing the trend, Matty Smith was unable to convert and the sides were level at 8 all.

A huge strategic mistake saw Josh Charnley tackled in goal after Matt Bowen had left the loose ball to him and a high tackle from the resulting set saw Saints awarded a penalty which they chose to kick at goal and Mark Percival converted it successfully for a 8-10 lead.

St Helens extended the lead after what looked like a controversial lift on Mose Masoe saw them awarded a penalty and a nice passing set resulted in Tommy Makinson scoring after being left wide open on the wing with Mark Percival converting for 8-16.

Wigan wasted a good chance to reply as after being given an extra set just metres from the St Helens line, they knocked on in the first tackle before regaining the ball and seeming to have scored when Joe Burgess crossed the Saints line. The decision was sent for a review and it was clear that the Winger had committed a double movement to the dismay of the home crowd.

The crowd roared behind their charges and it paid dividends as Sean O'Loughlin picked out Josh Charnley with the in-form Winger crossing for a superb try but the euphoria was dampened as Matty Smith's kicking troubles continued meaning a 12-16 score.

Just minutes remained and Wigan looked to call on the joy of the last-gasp Liam Farrell try from 2011 but despite gaining a penalty in a good position, the last action saw Anthony Gelling tackled just metres from the line ending any hopes of a comeback win and a first league double in three years. An incorrect result and failed prediction of 32-24.

Vikings Overpower Broncos
Widnes bounced back from a poor run of form to complete a league double over a London side who are still without a win in 2014 after a 24-42 defeat.

London went in front inside three minutes after Drinkwater converted a penalty for a 2-0 lead but the lead lasted only seven minutes as Widnes went ahead with a try from Ah Van which Mellor converted for 2-6.

Two tries in eight minutes before the interval saw Widnes jump into a 16 point lead at 2-18 with scores from Cahill and Galea both successfully converted by Tickle but the gap was narrowed right on half-time when Solomona crossed for the Broncos and Drinkwater converted for 8-18.

Widnes regained their 16 point led just four minutes into the second half as Hanbury crossed for a try and Tickle converted for 8-24 before two further scores in a 13 minute period from Flynn were converted by Tickle and Ah Van to increase the lead to 8-36 and leave London with a huge task to avoid yet another loss.

London responded well with two tries in a minute as Greenwood and Vea crossed with Drinkwater converting both efforts to give the Broncos hope at 20-36 but just four minutes later the hope was dented as Hanbury crossed for his second try of the afternoon and Ah Van converted for a 20-42 score.

Despite the loss being confirmed, London had the last say as Cook crossed for a try and sadly Drinkwater's perfect kicking afternoon ended with a miss meaning a final score of 24-42. A correct result but a bit off with the prediction of 18-28.

Salford Stunned By Cas
Two clubs that have recently had mixed words off the pitch are Castleford and Salford but the Red Devils will be cursing their luck after suffering a last-gasp defeat to the Tigers.

The first half saw a single score with Carney crossing for the first try of the evening just before the half hour mark with Salford loanee Sneyd converting for a 6-0 lead at the break. The subject of a war of words between the clubs, Sneyd added further damage to his parent club with a penalty in the 58th minute for 8-0.

Salford replied with two tries in four minutes from Sa'u and Hock with Chase converting the latter to give his side a 8-10 lead. 

Castleford have been good at home this season and continued that trend with a last-gasp try from Webster that stunned the travelling Red Devils and with Sneyd converting for a 14-10 final score, Salford's play off hopes are hanging by a thread while Castleford are looking good in fourth place. A correct result and winning margin of four points but points wise off on the hopes of 32-28.

Sutcliffe Seals Leeds Double
Leeds left it late to complete a league double over a Catalan side who have suffered defeat both home and away to a fellow side for the first time this season.

Catalan went in front inside three minutes with a try from Escaré with new signing Williams taking the kicking duties in place of the absent Bosc to convert for a 6-0 lead that lasted only six minutes when Hall responded with a try for the Rhinos but in the absence of star kicker Sinfield, Sutcliffe missed the attempt and the score was 4-6.

Williams converted a penalty in the 16th minute to extend the lead but Leeds replied with a try from Jones-Bishop three minutes later but again there was no conversion and the sides were level at 8 all.

The end to end scoring continued as Taia crossed for the Dragons and Williams converted for a 8-14 lead that became 8-20 when Pelissier scored just after the half hour and Williams kept up his kicking success with the conversion. Leeds closed the gap just before the interval with a try from Walters with Sutcliffe converting for the first time for 14-20.

Taia crossed for his second effort of the game just four minutes into the second half and despite Williams missing for the first time, the Dragons led 14-24 before three tries in 13 minutes saw Leeds comeback to lead 30-24 as Moon crossed twice either side of try for Ablett with Sutcliffe converting two out of three.

Catalan levelled with a try from Millard and a Williams conversion to make it 30 all with ten minutes to go and a tense finish was ensured when Escaré sent over a superb drop goal in the 77th minute to give the Dragons and 30-31 lead. However, Leeds had the last say in dramatic style as they were awarded a penalty 30 metres out with just 40 second remaining and Sutcliffe was the hero as he converted with ease and sealed a 32-31 victory. A correct result and a close prediction of 26-20.

Westerman Seals Late Draw
Wakefield looked to be on for a second win in the space of a week with just four minutes to go until a last gasp comeback from Hull.

A tight first half burst into action in the final minutes as Hull went in front with a try from Sa in the 38th minute with Abdull converting for a 0-6 lead before Wakefield were level inside two minutes as Mathers scored on the hooter and Sykes converted for 6 all.

Horne put the visitors in front with a try in the 47th minute but a missed attempt meant a slim lead at 6-10 before Riley replied for the Wildcats eight minutes later but the sides remained level at 10 all after a missed attempt. 

Yeaman struck to regain the lead for the Airlie Birds but another missed attempt with the boot meant the lead was slim at 10-14 but the end to end scoring continued as Lyne crossed for the home side and with the kicking troubles continuing for both side, they were level at 14 all.

Wakefield went ahead for the first time in the game when Scruton crossed for a try and Sykes converted for 20-14 but after waiting 76 minutes to lead, their joy lasted four minutes as Yeaman went in right at the end with a superb touchline conversion from Westerman sealing a thrilling 20 all draw.  An incorrect result and a wide prediction of 36-22.    

Warrington Overcome Bradford
Warrington avoided what would have been a shock league double to Bradford with a comfortable 50-24 win over a Bulls side with new coach James Lowes at the helm.

The Wolves raced into a 16-0 lead inside 14 minutes with a trio of tries from Harrison, Atkins and O'Brien with Ratchford converting two out of three. Bradford responded and reduced the lead to ten points just before the interval with a try from Kearney with Gale converting for 16-6.

Bradford looked to be still in the dressing room for the first ten minutes of the second half as Warrington stormed in with four tries with a double from Monaghan either side of efforts from Westwood and Ormsby with Ratchford converting all but one for a 38-6 lead.

Bradford pulled a try back through Purtell with Gale converting for 38-12 but Warrington powered on and crossed for two tries in six minutes with a second for O'Brien followed by a score from Evans with both successfully converted by Ratchford who took his personally to 14 points and put his side to the 50 point mark.

Despite the inevitability of another heavy loss, Bradford crossed for two late tries from Olbison and Pitts with Gale maintaining his perfect kicking record by converting both for a final score of 50-24. 
A correct result and not too far off with the prediction of 38-18.