Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Young Warriors Defeat Rhinos

After an extended break due to the cancellation of the visit to Hull KR, Wigan U19s returned to action with the hosting of Leeds on Saturday afternoon.

The Rhinos made a superb start with the opening try inside two minutes through Nathan Barker with Joe Sanderson converting for a 6-0 lead. Wigan have been majestic at Orrell this year and showed just why with a three minute salvo from Lewis Heckford and Liam Marshall with Jake Shorrocks converting both for 12-6.

The Warriors continued their momentum with two further scores before the 20 minute mark as Macauley Davies and Oliver Gildart crossed out wide meaning a tough angle for Shorrocks who missed both attempts at 20-6. Leeds responded with a try from Nick Rawsthrone on 24 minutes which Sanderson converted for 20-12. Both sides pushed for more points in an exciting first half but went into the interval with the Warriors leading by eight.

Jake Shorrocks added to his points tally with a try six minutes after the restart but was unable to convert at 24-12 and just six minutes later, the game took a wrong turn with a brawl between the sides that saw Wigan's Liam Marshall sin binned and Leeds' Sam Hallas sent off for starting the fracas.

Wigan extended their lead just before the hour mark through Callum Field with Shorrocks converting for 30-12 before Ben Brady crossed for the Rhinos with Sanderson continuing his perfect record with the boot for 30-18. Alike the first half, the last 20 minutes saw the defences shore up meaning the game ended 30-18 and saw the Warriors continue their perfect home record ahead of s huge visit of St Helens this weekend.

Monday, 29 June 2015

Challenge Cup Quarter Final Review

Ahead of a packed week in the Super League which will see games across six days, the Challenge Cup resumed at the quarter final stage as seven Super League sides and Championship leaders Leigh faced off across four days of action.

Robins Rise As Dragons Despair

The round began on Thursday night at the KC Lightstream Stadium as Hull KR hosted Catalans Dragons with both sides eager to move closer to a dream trip to Wembley in August.

The Robins have been superb at home this season and they raced into a 24-0 lead inside 30 minutes with tries from Ken Sio, Kieran Dixon, Albert Kelly and Graeme Horne all perfectly converted by Josh Mantellato. Catalans responded with a try from Krisnan Inu who backed up his try scoring debut from last week on 35 minutes for 24-4. However, the Robins had time for one further score before the interval as Mantellato sealed a penalty goal on the hooter for 26-4.

Catalans reduced the deficit with two tries before the hour mark as in-form Zeb Taia crosses ahead of a second score for Inu with Scott Dureau converting just once for 26-14. The Robins halted the streak with a second score for Sio before an instant reply through Ian Henderson (Dureau conv) boosted the visitors hopes at 30-20.

The hosts seemed to be wary of a Dragons comeback and elected to go for goal from a 70th minute penalty which Mantellato converted for 32-20 and when Elliot Whitehead scored for the Dragons with three minutes remaining, Dureau's conversion closed the gap to six to set up a tight finish which saw the Robins hold on for a 32-26 win.

Rampant Rhinos Rout Faltering FC 

Friday night's action came from the KC Stadium as Hull FC hosted defending champions Leeds Rhinos with the Rhinos eager to replicate last year's success and FC hoping for a second semi final in three years. 

A torrential downpour at the KC saw both sides struggle to make an impact in opening sets but Leeds got lucky with the opening try on six minutes through Joel Moon which Kevin Sinfield converted for 6-0. FC tried to respond but wasted chances with knock-ons near the Rhinos line before Sinfield utilised the bad conditions in choosing to convert a penalty goal for 8-0.

Both sides seemed to suffer to complete sets in the worsening weather and the only other points of the first half came in the final minute as Sinfield converted another penalty for a 10-0 lead at the interval. As the weather improved during half-time, Leeds struck first after the restart through Kallum Watkins with Sinfield converting for 16-0.

Hull came close with numerous attacking efforts but sadly it was Joe Westerman's unfortunate run of errors which saw them remain 16-0 behind going into the final ten minutes which saw a try from Zak Hardaker (Sinfield conv) for 22-0 before Sinfield added a third penalty for 24-0. Although their exit was already confirmed, Hull had the last say on the score with a 76th minute try from Jordan Abdull to avoid the nilling with Jordan Rankin converting for a 24-6 scoreline. 

Wonderful Wolves End Centurions Charge

Saturday's action came from the Halliwell Jones Stadium as Super League and Championship faced off in the form of Warrington Wolves and Leigh Centurions with the visitors keen to secure a trio of top-flight upsets.

Warrington made the better start of the two sides with the opening try inside eight minutes through Ashton Sims with Gareth O'Brien converting for 6-0 but Leigh responded well with a try from Greg Worthington with Martin Ridyard converting to level at 6-6. Ben Currie and Ryan Brierley exchanged tries with O'Brien converting for the hosts for 12-6 before Ridyard's miss left the score at 12-10.

Greg McNally crossed for Leigh three minutes before the interval to put them ahead for the first time and send them into the break at 14-12. However, Warrington fought back majestically with three tries in 15 minutes after the restart including two stunning efforts from Kevin Penny ahead of George King's score with O'Brien and Ben Westwood adding a conversion each for 28-14.

Leigh cut the gap with a second score from the in-form Brierley with Ridyard converting for 28-20 but the effort was soon replied to by Ben Currie's second try which O'Brien converted for 34-20 and potentially sealed the win. However, Leigh remained in the hunt with a 72nd minute try from Tom Armstrong but a missed conversion attempt left them 10 points behind at 34-24 which is how the game ended.

Super Saints Vanquish Vikings

The round came to a close on Sunday at Langtree Park as St Helens hosted Widnes Vikings with the Vikings aiming to reach the last four in consecutive year while Saints hoped for a first semi place since 2011.

St Helens opened the scoring inside six minutes through Adam Swift with Mark Percival converting for 6-0 but Widnes responded well with a try from Joe Mellor and resulting conversion from Danny Craven to level at 6-6. Percival added a penalty before scoring a self converted try for 14-6 on the half hour mark.

Matty Dawson increased the lead to 18-6 before a try from Craven and conversion from Patrick Ah Van cut the gap to six points at 18-12 going into the interval. Ah Van crossed just four minutes after the restart for 18-16 before Chris Dean gave the Vikings a narrow 20-18 lead on 52 minutes.

Kyle Amor restored the lead for the hosts (Percival conv) at 24-20 and Widnes seemed to drop off the intensity in defence as they let in Jordan Turner on 71 minutes for 28-20 with Percival sealing the win with a penalty and second self converted try in the final three minutes to confirm a 36-20 triumph. 

The draw for the semi final saw a huge clash between Leeds Rhinos and St Helens come out with the second tie pitting Warrington Wolves against Hull Kingston Rovers in a similarly tough clash.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Super League Round Ninteeen Review

After the previous round saw some pivotal side by side meetings, round 19 saw battles between the top and bottom halves of the league ladder become the main focus before the resuming of the Challenge Cup next week.

Classy Cas Stop Saints

Thursday night saw the round begin at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle as top four hopefuls Castleford Tigers hosted current leaders St Helens with the Tigers keen to end a 15 game losing run against the Saints.

Castleford made a superb start with a comeback try from Justin Carney after five minutes for 4-0 before Luke Walsh capped his comeback with a ninth minute leveller which Mark Percival converted for 6-4. Alex Walmsley extended the lead for the visitors on 16 minutes (Percival conv) for 12-4 but Cas hit back with a try from Denny Solomona (Luke Gale conv) to make it 12-10. A third comeback try of the game came as Joe Greenwood crosssed for Saints (Percival conv) for an 18-10 lead at the interval.

The Tigers cut the deficit just six minutes after the restart through Jake Webster with Gale converting for 18-16 before a fourth comeback try of the evening as Matt Cook (Gale conv) put the hosts ahead at 22-18. The lead lasted just six minutes as Shannon McDonnell (Percival conv ) made it 24-22 to the visitors but a sinbinning of Percival with six minutes left gave the Tigers hope and they drew level the resulting penalty from Gale for 24-24. 

A frantic finish saw St Helens waste a drop goal chance before fumbling in a scrum just metres from the line, Cas took advantage and on the hooter sealed the win with a stunning drop goal from Ben Roberts for a 25-24 triumph.

Red Devils Rue As Warriors Win

Friday night saw Wigan Warriors host Salford Red Devils with the Warriors looking to maintain their perfect home record and avoid a first home defeat to the Devils at the DW Stadium.

The Red Devils made the better start with a try from Cory Paterson in the ninth minute with Josh Griffin converting for 6-0 but in a strange first half from both sides, the score remained at 6-0 into the interval.

Salford extended their lead just two minutes after the restart as George Griffin crossed glided through the Warriors defence to score with brother Josh converting for a 12-0 lead. Wigan responded well with a try from Joe Burgess (Smith conv) for 12-6 before drawing level with a try from Liam Farrell (Smith conv ) at 12-12. 

Wigan went ahead for the first time with a strange effort as Dan Sarginson touched down after Theo Fages looked to have grounded in goal but the officials awarded the try and Smith converted for 18-12 before sealing the win with a long range drop goal two minutes from the end for 19-12.

Rampant Robins Rout Worrying Wolves

Friday's televised action came from the KC Lightstream Stadium as Hull KR hosted Warrington Wolves with the Robins looking to close on the top eight and the Wolves on the top four.

Warrington have been shaky away from home this season but opened the scoring on 11 minutes through Chris Hill with Declan Patton converting for 6-0. Alike the night's other game, the first half was a close one but the Robins completed a four minute turnaround before the interval. Ken Sio and Josh Mantellato crossed for tries with Mantellato converting just his own effort for 10-6 at the break.

The Robins raced clear with three tries in the first 14 minutes of the second half as Kieran Dixon scored before Liam Salter and former Wolves forward Tyrone McCarthy crossed either side of an effort from Gene Ormsby with two conversions from Mantellato for 26-10. 

The Robins winger extended the lead with a penalty ten minutes from the end for 28-10 before a converting a try from Kris Welham and adding a last minute penalty to secure a 36-10 triumph.

Dragons Delight Extends Wildcats Woes

Saturday evening saw rock bottom Wakefield Wildcats travel to top eight hopefuls Catalans Dragons with the Dragons keen to close on the top four while the Wildcats hoped for a first league win since round two.

The Dragons made a perfect start with the opening try from Ben Pomeroy on four minutes before a debut score from Krisnan Inu saw them lead 12-0 after Scott Dureau converted twice. Both sides pushed for points and the Wildcats had a long range effort from Pita Godinet denied late in the half meaning the Dragons led 12-0 into the interval.

The Wildcats responded well in the second half and drew level with two tries in 16 minutes as Chris Riley and Pita Godinet crossed with Jacob Miller converting twice for 12-12 but Dureau restored the lead for the hosts with a 65th minute penalty for 14-12.

Wakefield were still in the game with 12 minutes to go and had a great chance to go ahead but wasted it with a turnover on the Dragons line which proved to be a costly one as Eloi Pelissier, Morgan Escare and Louis Anderson all scored in a five minute period with Dureau converting the lot to seal a 32-12 victory.

FC Fall As Rhinos Rise

Sunday afternoon saw the round end with the final two games, the first saw Leeds Rhinos host Hull FC with the Rhinos aspiring to reclaim top spot while FC had hopes of the top eight.

Leeds made a superb start with a sixth minute opener from Danny McGuire which Liam Sutcliffe converted for 6-0 but Jordan Thompson struck for FC on 17 minutes with Marc Sneyd levelling at 6-6 with the conversion. Joel Moon crossed to regain the lead for the hosts just four minutes later for 10-6 before Jimmy Keinhorst extended the lead before the break with Kevin Sinfield converting for 16-6 at the interval with Sutcliffe having departed earlier on with an injury.

Curtis Naughton reduced the deficit six minutes after the restart for 16-10 before a second try for Moon and Sinfield's conversion made it 22-10. Danny Houghton (Sneyd conv) cut the gap to six on the hour before Sneyd was sin binned for dangerous contact while chasing and denying a try for McGuire. The incident saw McGuire also sin binned for kicking out with Sinfield converting the resulting penalty for 24-16. 

Fetuli Talanoa made it a four point game with six minutes to go at 24-20 but another Sinfield penalty pushed the gap to six before Carl Ablett sealed the win late on with a try which Sinfield converted to secure a 32-20 win. 

Gutsy Giants Vanquish Vikings

The final game of the round saw a battle between top eight hopefuls Widnes Vikings and fourth placed Huddersfield Giants with the Giants keen to close up on the top three and the Vikings hoping for a good preparation for next week's cup visit to St Helens.

Widnes made the better start with a sixth minute opener from Patrick Ah Van for a 4-0 lead before a red card for Giants forward Brett Ferres dented their hopes of a comeback on 11 minutes. However, the 12 men did comeback with a try from Ukuma Ta'ai which Danny Brough converted for 6-4. Jack Owens restored the lead for the Vikings with a self converted try for 10-6 at the interval.

Huddersfield drew level just four minutes after the restart through Craig Kopczak with Brough converting for a 12-10 lead before Kevin Brown (Owens conv) cancelled the lead within four minutes for 16-12. Jack Hughes put the Giants back in front before Luke Robinson extended the lead with Brough converting both for 24-16 on the hour mark.

Jodie Broughton looked to have sealed the win for the Giants with an effort with ten minutes to go with Jamie Ellis converting for 30-16 but Widnes had the last say as Brown scored his second try on 74 minutes with Owens converting for a 30-22 final score.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Young Warriors Rout Weakened Wolves

After a narrow win away to Castleford in their first game of the Academy Sevens phase, Wigan U19s played host to Warrington for the second time this season since claiming victory over the Wolves in the Grand Final.

After their success, a number of last year's stars now ply their trade for the respective senior sides in Super League but both teams have continued their power of bringing through talent to sit second and fourth in the table.

Wigan made a superb start with stand-in winger Jack Higginson scoring the opening try inside two minutes which Jake Shorrocks converted for 6-0 before Liam Forsyth crossed from centre just four minutes later with Shorrocks on hand to make it 12-0. Warrington looked to respond but left themselves open for five further tries in the final 12 minutes of the first half.

Nick Gregson touched down twice ahead of second efforts for Jack Higginson and Liam Forsyth but all after a try from Lewis Heckford, Jake Shorrocks kicked all but the last attempt for a huge 40-0 lead at the interval. Forstyh secured his hat-trick just eight minutes after the restart with Shorrocks resuming his success for 46-0.

The game seemed to be over as a contest by the 52nd minute as Oliver Gildart showed why he has been selected for Salford in Super League with a fine try out wide which Shorrocks was unable to improve at 50-0. Kyle Shelford added another score for the Warriors for 54-0 before Warrington finally got on the board with a try from Reece Brunt which Harvey Livett converted for 54-6/

Wigan wrapped up the huge victory with three tries in the last 13 minutes as Nick Gregson completed his hat-trick ahead of efforts from Gabriel Fell and Jake Moore with Shorrocks converting all three for a 10 goal haul in a 72-6 final score.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Super League Round Eighteen Review

The inaugural 'Eights' of rugby league are just five rounds away as the regular season enters its final quarter with round 18, a sextet of games that could prove vital with all but one seeing teams side by side in the league ladder facing off.

Rhinos Rumbled By Terrific Tigers

The round opened with Thursday's Yorkshire derby in the only split game of the week as table toppers Leeds Rhinos hosted top four hopefuls Castleford Tigers for only the second time since they met in last year's Challenge Cup final.

Castleford made a great start with the opening try on 11 minutes through Grant Millington which Luke Gale converted for 6-0 before a superb effort from Liam Finn just three minutes later saw Gale improve the lead to 12. A third try inside eight minutes saw Michael Shenton put the Tigers in control with Gale on target again for an 18-0 lead that stunned the Rhinos.

Leeds responded with a trio of tries which saw them cut the gap to 18-16 just before the interval as Carl Ablett, Ryan Hall and Adam Cuthbertson all crossed for scores with Liam Sutcliffe converting twice from three attempts.

However, the Leeds charge was halted just five minutes after the restart by a try from the in-form Denny Solomona which Gale converted for 24-16 before Jimmy Keinhorst kept Leeds in the hunt on 57 minutes with sub-kicker Kevin Sinfield converting for 24-22.

Sinfield drew the Rhinos level with nine minutes remaining with a penalty for 24-24, the same scoreline as last season's meeting but wary of an impending draw, Liam Finn swept over a drop goal for 25-24 before Solomona sealed a famous win for the Tigers a minute later with Gale converting for a 31-24 triumph.

Wasteful Warriors Suffer Saints Loss

Friday night featured another derby as second placed St Helens hosted fierce rivals Wigan Warriors with both having eyes on replacing Leeds atop the league ladder.

Wigan made the better start by taking an 11th minute lead through Dan Sarginson with former Saints halfback Matty Smith converting for 6-0 with Saints responding just before the half hour mark through Adam Swift but a failure to convert from Mark Percival saw them remain just behind at 6-4. 

However, they were soon in front as Jordan Turner crossed within three minutes but another failed conversion meant a narrow lead at 8-6. Wigan responded well and just before the interval regained their lead as Joe Burgess raced clear down the wing to cross but the tough angle saw a missed conversion attempt at 10-8.

St Helens fought back just four minutes after the break through Travis Burns with Percival successful for the first time for 14-10 before Joel Tomkins drew Wigan level at 14-14 with Smith missing with the boot. His miss was a costly one as Percival restored the Saints' lead with a penalty just five minutes later. 

Shannon McDonnell extended the lead on 66 minutes with Percival converting for 22-14 before a huge error from Warriors fullback Matty Bowen allowed Jon Wilkin to score for the hosts with another success from Percival making the lead 14 points with 12 minutes remaining. The gloss on the win came three minutes from the end as Percival swept over a penalty for 30-14 to sent the travelling Warriors home disappointed as the Saints move atop the league standings. 

FC Fall Short At Delighted Dragons

Saturday saw a fight between two hopefuls for the Super Eights as Catalans Dragons hosted Hull FC in a clash that could dent or boost both sides chances of qualifying in a close league ladder.

Despite their superb home form, Catalans usually concede before scoring and the trend continued as Jordan Rankin put FC in front inside ten minutes with Marc Sneyd converting for a 6-0 lead. The lead lasted just six minutes as Thomas Bosc crossed for the Dragons and Scott Dureau levelled with the boot for 6-6.

Sneyd regained the lead for FC on the half hour with a penalty for 8-6 but it was soon to be in vain as a four minute double from Tony Gigot and Greg Mouis saw the Dragons move to 18-8 as Dureau improved both efforts for a ten point lead at the interval.

Mark Minichello scored the first points of the second half to close the gap for FC with Sneyd's conversion narrowing the deficit to four points at 18-14 before Dureau sealed the two points for the Dragons with a 72nd minute penalty which confirmed a 20-14 victory.

Glorious Giants Dent Wolves Wishes

Sunday saw a trio of games all of which could prove to be vital to the shape of the table ahead of the next phase with the first featuring top four challengers Huddersfield Giants and Warrington Wolves face-off with hopes of catching the leading trio.

Warrington made a near perfect start with the opening try from Daryl Clark inside four minutes which Gareth O'Brien converted for a 6-0 lead which lasted until the 17th minute when Jake Connor got the Giants on the board with Danny Brough's conversion levelling at 6-6. The Wolves regained the lead with a self converted try from O'Brien on 27 minutes who added a drop goal just before the interval for a 13-6 lead at the break as both sides ended with 12 after a brawl saw Anthony England and Danny Brough sinbinned.

The Giants fought back within four minutes of the restart with a try from Jodie Broughton with Jamie Ellis converting in place of the sinbinned Brough for 13-12 before Ben Harrison restored the Wolves lead with O'Brien converting for 19-12. However, the Giants stormed in front with two tries in five minutes from Jermaine McGillvary and Jared Simpson with the returning Brough converting both for a 24-19 lead. 

As the tie entered the final ten minutes, Jamie Ellis scored back to back drop goals in a three minute period to prevent a potential Wolves score giving them he lead meaning the Giants opened up a seven point gap at 26-19. However, the two points were confirmed with five minutes remaining as McGillvary claimed his second try to secure a 30-19 triumph.

Ruthless Robins Vanquish Vikings

In a battle to avoid the Middle Eights and in turn reach the Super Eights, Hull KR hosted Widnes Vikings with both sitting in the bottom four ahead of the meeting.

The hosts opened the scoring on eight minutes through Kris Welham with Josh Mantellato converting for 6-0 before Stefan Marsh responded for the Vikings on 15 minutes for 6-4. A self-converted try from Mantellato saw the Robins move to 12-4 but the Viking fought back again as Kevin Brown touched down and Jack Owens' conversion narrowed the gap at 12-10. 

The Robins took control with three tries in five minutes before the interval as Mantellato claimed his second try ahead of efforts from Albert Kelly and Ken Sio with the former just converting once for a 26-10 at the break. 

Sio extended the lead with his second try just seven minutes after the restart with Kelly converting in place of the injured Mantellato for 32-10, Widnes responded with a try from Chris Dean with Owens converting for 32-16. The Robins sealed the two points with 13 minutes remaining as Sio completed his hat-trick with Kelly converting for a 38-16 final score.

Red Devils Extend Wildcats Woes

The final game of Sunday's treble was the battle at the bottom as rock bottom Wakefield Wildcats hosted Salford Red Devils who sit right above them in the table and both are fighting to get away from the impending Middle Eights.

Salford made the better start with two tries inside 14 minutes through Theo Fages and Scott Taylor with Josh Griffin converting both for a 12-0 lead. Wakefield responded with a try from Dan Smith which Joe Arundel converted for 12-6 but Salford took just five minutes to regain their 12 point lead as Harrison Hansen touched down with Griffin converting for 18-6, a score line that lasted into the interval. 

Ian Kirke cut the deficit for the Wildcats just two minutes after the restart for 18-10 but it proved to be in vain as Harrison Hansen claimed his second try with Griffin converting for 24-10. Wakefield had the last say on the hour mark as Danny Kirmond touched down with Arundel converting for 24-16 which saw the Red Devils hold on for a potentially vital victory.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Super League Round Seventeen Review

After an exciting and unpredictable Magic Weekend spectacular, Super League returned to the regular schedule in round 17 which saw a unique first for the season with more away wins than home wins.

Fabulous FC Vanquish Vikings

Thursday's round opener saw the huge clash between top eight hopefuls Widnes Vikings and Hull FC with both keen to add to good their Magic Weekend successes. Widnes opened the scoring with a seventh minute try from Jack Owens who converted his effort for a 6-0 lead.

Matt Whitley extended the lead just four minutes later with a try which Owens converted to improve the lead to 12-0 before Tom Lineham cut the gap to eight at 12-4 on 16 minutes. Leon Pryce moved Hull closer to drawing level with a 31st minute try before Lineham's second score on half-time made it 12-12 with Marc Sneyd's conversion completing the comeback for 14-12. 

Sneyd extended FC's lead on 52 minutes with a self-converted try for 20-12 with Lineham completing his hat-trick on the hour mark for a two score lead at 24-12 which soon became three as Sneyd sent over a drop goal for 25-12 on 63 minutes which proved to be final say on the contest. 

Wonderful Wolves Deny Dragons

Friday night's televised action saw Warrington Wolves host Catalan Dragons with the Dragons desperate to improve their poor away form and leapfrog their opponents in the race for the top four.

The Dragons started the better of the two sides with a sixth minute try from Tony Gigot which Scott Dureau converted for 6-0, Warrington fought back but took until the 24th minute to get on the board as Ben Currie crossed for a try which Gareth O'Brien converted to level at 6-6. Ryan Atkins put the Wolves ahead on 31 minutes with O'Brien improving the score to 12-6 meaning the Wolves took a narrow lead into the interval. 

Catalans responded superbly in the second half with two tries in three minutes from Eloi Pelissier and Elliot Whitehead (Dureau convs) putting them 18-12 ahead before a huge chance for Escaré was blown in front of the Wolves line. The error proved costly for the Dragons as two tries in a minute put them back in front as Atkins claimed his second try ahead of an effort from Chris Hill with O'Brien converting only the once for 22-18.

The win was sealed for the Wolves with 13 minutes remaining as Currie secured his second score of the game for a 26-18 final score which moved the Wolves to within four points of the top three.

Super Saints Extend Salford Streak

After contrasting results at Magic, St Helens hosted Salford Red Devils with the Saints eyeing top spot and the Red Devils desperate for a first triumph since Easter Monday.

Recent meetings between the sides have been considerably one-sided to the Saints and to Salford's detriment, the first half on Friday was no different as St Helens ran in four unanswered tries in the first 40 minutes. Two scores from Tom Makinson sandwiched efforts from Adam Swift and Jordan Turner with the Saints winger converting all four for a majestic 24-0 lead at the interval.

Salford made a great start to the second half with two tries in six minutes as Niall Evalds and Rangi Chase both crossed with Cory Paterson improving both with the boot for 24-12. The potential for a comeback stalled on the hour as Tom Makinson converted a penalty goal before Shannon McDonnell wrapped up the win with a 65th minute try which Makinson converted for a 32-12 triumph. 

Classy Cas Clip Rallying Robins

Friday's trilogy of action also featured the meeting between top eight challengers Hull KR and Castleford Tigers with the Robins eager to bounce back from their Magic Derby defeat while the Tigers looked to build on a good run of form.

Ben Roberts opened the scoring for the Tigers inside six minutes with Luke Gale converting for 6-0 before scores from the in-form Denny Solomona and Tom Holmes (Gale convs) put the visitors in control at 18-0 after 14 minutes. The Robins responded well with a try from Albert Kelly which stand-in kicker Kieran Dixon converted for 18-6.

Castleford regained their 18 point lead with a self-converted try from Gale on 25 minutes before a try from Dixon and a second from Kelly (Dixon conv) gave the Robins hope into the interval with just an eight point deficit. Their hopes rose even further with a first senior try from Aaron Ollett on 54 minutes with Dixon converting for 24-22. However, the Robins were unable to complete the comeback as Liam Finn sealed the points for the Tigers with six minutes left of the 80 with Gale converting for a 30-22 final score.

Wondrous Wigan Halt Hudds Hopes

Sunday's Yorkshire double began with Huddersfield Giants hosting Wigan Warriors with the Warriors looking to record a league double with back-to-back away victories as the Giants looked to avoid falling further adrift of the top three.

A pre-match power cut meant the travelling Warriors had to change in the stadium canteen and the disruption looked to have an effect as Giants debutant Jared Simpson opened the scoring inside four minutes with Danny Brough converting for a 6-0 lead.

Wigan replied through Joe Burges on 17 minutes with Matty Smith converting to level at 6-6 but the equality lasted just 11 minutes as Joe Wardle touched down for the Giants with Brough converting for 12-6. Wigan replied in kind just before the interval as Liam Farrell cut the gap with Smith converting for a level game into the break at 12-12.

Josh Charnley put the Warriors ahead for the first time within five minutes of the restart for 16-12 but a fine long range try from Brough which he converted saw the Giants edge ahead at 18-16. However, Wigan were back in front just three minutes later as Farrell claimed his second try but Smith's miss with the boot left the gap at just two points at 20-18.

Wigan finally opened up a reasonable gap on the hour mark as Charnley crossed in the corner but another missed conversion meant a six point game at 24-16, Smith was successful though with a penalty goal a few minutes later as the score moved to 26-18. The win and the two points were sealed with seven minutes remaining as John Bateman crossed and Smith converted for a 32-18 victory which opens up a five point gap between the two sides in third and fourth. 

Rampant Rhinos Extend Wildcats Woes

The round ended with a clash between the top and bottom sides in the league ladder as table toppers Leeds Rhinos travelled to face rock bottom Wakefield Wildcats.

The pre-match focus was how big Leeds would win given Wakefield's shocking form but the Wildcats sprung a shock of their own with the opening try on five minutes through in-form Tom Johnstone. Stand-in fullback Liam Sutcliffe got Leeds on the board on 10 minutes with Sinfield levelling with the boot for 6-6. 

Two tries in as many minutes from Danny McGuire and Rob Burrow (Sinfield convs) put the Rhinos in control at 18-6 but Pita Godinet cut the gap for the Wildcats five minutes before the interval for 10-18 before a late effort from Carl Ablett (Sinfield conv) sent the Rhinos into half-time leading 24-10.

Any Wakefield hopes of a repeat of their first half opening were dashed by four Rhinos scores in 12  minutes as Ash Handley struck twice either side of a second for Sutcliffe and an effort from Jimmy Keinhorst with Sinfield converting just once for 42-10. Three further scores either side of the hour mark saw Sutcliffe complete his hat-trick with a self-converted try ahead of a Singleton brace for 58-10.

Despite the huge score, Wakefield battled on and had the last say on the contest with a trio of tries in the final ten minutes as Danny Kirmond, Nick Scruton crossed ahead of Johnstone's second effort with Godinet converting twice for a 58-26 final score.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Super League Round Sixteen - Magic Weekend Review

The end of May has arrived so fast but the joy of the arrival is that round 16 saw the annual Magic Weekend take place but for 2015, the event made its début at St James' Park in Newcastle. The six games took place over the two-day weekend with a few surprise outcomes at both ends of the table.

Valiant Vikings Vanquish Riotous Red Devils

Saturday's opening game saw the clash between Salford Red Devils and Widnes Vikings with both side keen to move up the league ladder with a vital victory but in a bad-tempered game, the Vikings came out on top with a 38-16 win.

Salford made the better start as Cory Paterson scored the opening try on 12 minutes before Patrick Ah Van replied for Widnes just four minutes later for 4-4. Widnes took the lead just three minutes later through Dan Galea (Jack Owens conv) for 10-4 before a second try from Ah Van and one from Kevin Brown (Owens conv) set up a 20-4 lead. Salford suffered a blow just before the interval with Darrell Griffin dismissed for a high shot on Matt Whitley.

Brown (Owens conv) added his second try just three minutes after the restart for 26-4 before the 12 men of Salford responded through Greg Johnson and Ben Jones-Bishop (Owens convs) to cut the deficit to ten at 26-16. Brown sealed his hat-trick on 62 minutes with Owens improving the lead to 16 at 32-16 before a 70th minute try from Stefan Marsh followed by Owens fifth success completed the 38-16 triumph.

Fabulous FC Rout Rueful Robins

The second game of the afternoon was the Hull derby as Hull FC took on fierce city rivals Hull KR with the 'hosts'  keen to avenge their humbling defeat in the last meeting between the sides back in March. 

FC made the better start of the two with Kirk Yeaman crossing for the opening try on seven minutes (Marc Sneyd conv) for a 6-0 lead but the Robins replied within four minutes as Josh Mantellato ran in a self-converted try to level the score at 6-6. FC regained the lead with two tries in seven minutes as Fetuli Talanoa and Jamie Ellis crossed with Sneyd improving just the latter for 16-6. 

The Robins reduced the gap to four as Kieran Dixon scored on the half hour with Mantellato successful with the boot for 16-12. Mark Michell ensured FC would lead by ten at the interval with a 35th minute try which Sneyd improved for 22-12.

Talanoa and Jordan Rankin ran in a try each inside the first six minutes of the second half and with Sneyd converting both, FC were in control at 34-12. However, the Robins fought back with second tries of the game for Dixon and Mantellato but the latter was unable to improve either effort at 34-20.

FC sealed the win with Talanoa completing his hat-trick on 64 minutes before Yeaman crossed for a second time nine minutes from the end with Sneyd improving both for six successes with the boot in the 46-20 win.

 Wonderful Warriors Extend Leeds Magic Woes

Day one came to an end with the headlining clash between table toppers Leeds Rhinos and fierce rivals Wigan Warriors with the Warriors keen to avenge their defeat in the last meeting between the sides while maintaining their perfect Magic record against the Rhinos. 

Wigan made the better start of the sides with Dan Sarginson scoring the opening try on seven minutes for 4-0 before Adam Cuthbertson replied for Leeds six minutes later with Kevin Sinfield improving his effort for 6-4.

Joel Moon extended the Rhinos lead on 18 minutes with Sinfield successful with the boot for 12-4 but Wigan staged an amazing six minute comeback as George Williams and Joe Burgess both raced clear for superb tries which Matty Smith improved for 14-12 at the interval.

As the hour approached, the defences of both side seem to stretch and on 58 minutes, a try of sheer greatness as Matt Bowen blistered through the Leeds defence to open his account for the season and handing Smith a great angle to convert, which he did for 20-12. 

The game entered the final ten minutes with the sides just eight points apart but any hopes of a comeback for Leeds were dashed four minutes from the end. A last-ditch touchdown from Bowen on 76 minutes which Smith converted made it 26-12 before Smith added the icing on the cake with a drop goal two minutes later for a 27-12 victory.

Huddersfield Halt Catalans Charge

Day two began with Catalans and Huddersfield facing off for the first time at Magic having lost their 'derbies' of London and Bradford from the previous year, the Giants hoped to close the gap to the top three while the Dragons looked to move into the top five.

A tight first quarter saw the sides remain level at 0-0 past the 20 minute mark with the first points scored on 27 minutes as Jodie Broughton crossed for the Giants with Danny Brough improving the effort before adding two penalties for a 10-0 lead into the interval.

The Giants increased their lead just five minutes after the restart with Broughton's second try which Brough improved for 161-6 before the Dragons fought back through Eloi Pellisier on 48 minutes with Scott Dureau improving the effort for 16-6.

Huddersfield seemed to let their lead slip as Catalans reduced the lead through Todd Carney (Dureau conv) on 64 minutes before a try from Zeb Taia drew the Dragons level with ten minutes remaining with Dureau giving them an 18-16 lead with the boot. Carney struck again on 73 minutes but Dureau was unable to convert leaving the lead at six points. Huddersfield took advantage of the miss in the final seconds as Jermaine McGillvary crossed for a try before Brough sealed a superb kick under pressure to seal a 22-22 draw.

Saints Edge Out Wolves

The second game of the day saw the huge clash between St Helens and Warrington which was denied the expected headlining third game by the long travel for the sides and their fans from the North East but made for a superb spectacle all the same. 

Warrington opened the scoring through Stefan Ratchford on 10 minutes for 4-0 before Ben Harrison extended the lead to eight points on 18 minutes. St Helens fought back a try from Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook which Tom Makinson improved before adding a penalty two minutes later to level at 8-8.

However, the parity was short lived as Warrington regained the lead through Ryan Atkins' effort on 28 minutes which Chris Bridge improved before adding a penalty just before the interval to send the Wolves into the break in front at 16-8.

St Helens closed the gap through Adam Swift's 48th minute effort before going ahead just before the hour through Jon Wilkin's try and the resulting conversion from Makinson for 18-16. Makinson had the last say on the outcome as he send over a game-sealing penalty on 74 minutes to complete a 20-16 victory.

Classy Cas Crush Worrying Wakefield

The Magic Weekend came to a close with the fierce derby between neighbours Castleford Tigers and Wakefield Wildcats with the Wildcats having named Brian Smith as their new coach just minutes before kick-off.

Despite the good news, Wakefield's start was a poor one as Castleford raced into a 16-0 lead inside ten minutes with a brace from Denny Solomona before Jordan Tansey's touchdown with Luke Gale converting twice from three attempts. Wakefield responded well with two tries in three minutes as Tom Johnstone and Dan Smith crossed with Jacob Miller improving both efforts for 16-12.

The two sides traded tries before the interval with Michael Shenton (Gale conv) crossing for the Tigers before Johnstone sealed his second score for 22-16 into the half-time break. Solomona extended the Tigers lead with his hat-trick try just eight minutes after the restart with Gale's conversion making it 28-16.

A nine-minute salvo from Ashley Gibson put the Tigers in control before Solomona struck for a fourth time three minutes later with Gale successful with two of three attempts at goal for 44-16. Wakefield's hopes were all but over after the Tigers spree and their miserable second half was compounded by a self-converted try from Gale and a hat-trick try from Gibson with Gale completing a thundering 58-16 rout.