Monday, 31 August 2015

Rhinos Romp To Cup Triumph

After a superb run to the final which included the dispatching of Wigan and Warrington, Hull Kingston Rovers graced the Challenge Cup final at Wembley for the first time since 1986. Their task for success came in the shape of holders Leeds Rhinos who were odds on to retain their title.

A great start for the Rhinos saw Brett Delaney register the first points of the final with a seventh minute try which was awarded by the video referees and with Kevin Sinfield converting the lead was 6-0. Danny McGuire added a second score on 17 minutes with Sinfield extending the gap to 12-0.

Tom Briscoe made it a treble of tries for the Rhinos inside 20 minutes for a 16-0 lead which lasted into the interval after both sides battled evenly for the latter part of the half. The Robins needed a superb second half to avoid matching their city rivals who lost by the same score in 2013 to Wigan.

However, their plight worsened within seven minutes of the restart as Briscoe struck again with Sinfield on target for 18-0 and as the hour neared, the Rhinos reached 20 points as Brad Singleton crossed with Sinfield converting for 28-0. The Robins' hopes were over as it now became a case of how many Leeds would score with 20 minutes left to play.

Briscoe completed his hat-trick on 66 minutes to push the lead to 32-0 and the prospect of a record breaking performance gathered pace further as Rob Burrow crossed and Sinfield converted for a huge 38-0 lead. Briscoe equalled the record for tries in a final set by former Rhinos star Leroy Rivett as he scored his fourth on 75 minutes with another Sinfield conversion making it 44-0.

The final nail in the Rovers' miserable afternoon came in the final minutes as Briscoe set a new record with his fifth try and with Sinfield converting for a seventh time he sealed a record winning margin at 50-0 leaving the Robins with a nilling they will never forget.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Super 8s-The Qualifiers Round Three Review

After a huge gulf between the Super League and Championship quartets in the previous round, many fans/experts began to rubbish the new format of 'The Qualifiers' so with two ties being between sides of the same league, the other two had the potential for the Championship sides to cause a shock.

Centurions Caught By Wildcats

Saturday's round opener came from Leigh Sports Village as Leigh Centurions hosted top flight Wakefield Wildcats with the hosts desperate to prevent a third successive slip-up after leading while the visitors looked to build on their previous win.

The visitors struck first with Lee Smith crossing and converting for a 6-0 lead but Leigh responded with a try from Fui Fui Moimoi for 6-4 on 13 minutes. Leigh then went ahead on 27 minutes as Jonny Pownall touched down and with Martyn Rudayrd converting the score was 10-6. Liam Kay (Ridyard conv) extended the lead with a superb try for a 16-6 lead. Wakefield cut the gap before the interval as Jacob Miller crossed for 16-10 into the break.

Miller claimed his second try just before the hour mark with Smith converting for a 16-16 score and alike the previous two games, Leigh not only let the lead slip but went on to lose as Lee Smith swept over a drop goal on 68 minutes to secure a 17-16 win.

Resting Robins Edge Vikings

Ahead of next week's Wembley date, Hull KR travelled to face Widnes Vikings at the Select Security Stadium on Sunday with a mixed lineup but both sides were keen to continue their perfect starts.

A tight first half due to mixed weather conditions saw both sides cancel each other out with the opening try coming just four minutes before the interval as Kris Welham crossed and Josh Mantellato converted for a 6-0 lead into the break.

Charly Runciman cut the gap five minutes after the restart but a missed conversion meant they remained behind at 6-4 and the gap was soon up to eight points as Robins debutant George Lawler crossed on 54 minutes with Mantellato converting for 12-4. The last say on the game came in the final seconds as Matt Whitley crossed for a 12-8 final score. 

Brilliant Bulls Rout Red Devils

In Sunday's only cross-league game, Bradford Bulls hosted top-flight Salford Red Devils at the Provident Stadium with the hosts looking for a second win and the visitors hoping to continue their perfect start.

The Bulls started superbly with a fourth minute opener from Dale Ferguson with Danny Addy converting for 6-0 before James Clare added a second try on 17 minutes which Addy converted for 12-0. Jake Mullaney extended the lead with a 32nd minute try with Addy improving for a 16-0 lead but the Red Devils got on the board with five minutes left of the half through Rangi Chase for 16-4 but the Bulls had the last say on the half as Mullaney sealed a late drop goal for 17-4 into the interval.

Mullaney extended the lead further with his second try just two minutes after the restart with Addy improving the score to 23-4. Bradford took firm control of the game as they ran in three tries in ten minutes as Addy and Adrian Purtell struck either side of Clare's second effort with Addy converting all three for a huge 41-4 lead. Salford cut the gap through Iain Thornley on 65 minutes with a conversion from Michael Dobson making it 41-10 but it was to be the last score of the afternoon as the Bulls stormed to a famous triumph.

Eagles Edge Out Fax

In the battle between the two Championship outsiders at the Keepmoat Stadium, Sheffield Eagles hosted Halifax with both looking for their first win after back-to-back losses.

A tight first ten minutes from both sides soon burst into action with Fax striking through Adam Tangata and Steve Tyrer converting before an instant reply from the Eagles as Rob Worrincy crossed and Pat Walker converted for 6-6. A self-converted try from Tyrer put Fax 12-6 ahead. Gareth Potts extended the lead with Tyrer improving the score to 18-6.

A self-converted try from Walker sent the Eagles into the interval just six points behind at 18-12 but they were level six minutes before the hour mark as Worrincy claimed his second try which Walker converted for 18-18. Scott Murrell put Fax back in front with Tyrer converting for 24-18 but an eight minute double from the Eagles with tries from Quentin Laulu-Togagae and Worrincy with a single conversion from Walker sealed a 28-24 victory.

Monday, 24 August 2015

Super 8s - Super League Round Three Review

Ahead of a break for the Challenge Cup final, the Super League 8s reached the third round with the eight sides all with something still to play for with the top four still attainable for the eighth placed side.

Saints Stutter Gives Giants Glory 

Thursday's round opener came from Langtree Park as St Helens hosted Huddersfield Giants with the hosts looking to reclaim second place while the Giants looked to leapfrog their opponents.

Saints made the better start of the two sides with a try inside 10 minute through Kyle Amor which Luke Walsh converted for a 6-0 lead which lasted just five minutes as Jamie Ellis replied for the Giants and Danny Brough converted to level at 6-6.

The Giants opened up an eight point lead at 14-6 after Brough converted a penalty ahead of improving a try from Ukuma Ta'ai and were unfortunate not to maintain their advantage into the interval. James Roby cut the gap with a try in the final seconds of the half which Luke Walsh converted for 14-12.

Huddersfield took just four minutes to regain their eight point cushion as Joe Wardle crossed with Brough converting for 20-12. St Helens battled back with a comeback try from Tommy Makinson and an effort from Travis Burns to level at 20-20 with Walsh failing to improve either with the boot. However, he  made up for his failure to convert with a penalty on 54 minutes to put the hosts ahead at 22-20

The Giants have a chequered record at Langtree Park but made up for the negatives by staging a six minute turnaround as in-form Jermaine McGillvary and Aaron Murphy both breached the Saints line to create a 28-22 lead which lasted long enough to ensure that the Saints would drop below the Giants in the table.

Wonderful Warriors Nil Woeful Wolves

Friday's televised action came from the Halliwell Jones Stadium as Warrington Wolves hosted Wigan Warriors with the Warriors aiming to close up at the top while the Wolves looked to keep their slim hopes of a top four spot alive. 

The pre-game build-up had seen Warrington proclaim that Chris Sandow would 'smash the pies' something which irked the Warriors faithful and was quickly dented as Wigan scored an opening try on four minutes as Liam Farrell touched down and Matt Bowen converted for 6-0. Tony Clubb added a second score on 19 minutes with Bowen on target again for a 12-0 lead which lasted into the interval.

A 10 minute brace from John Bateman put Wigan in control at the hour mark as with Bowen converting both, they had a huge 24-0 lead with just 20 minutes remaining. However, Warrington's task rapidly grew tougher as debutant Oliver Gildart crossed for a famous try on 63 minutes to make it 28-0. Bowen was unable to convert for the first time but it mattered little as the Warriors held firm to hand the Wolves' their first ever nilling at the HJ Stadium and thereby all but and their hopes of a play-off place.

Leaders Leeds Halt Hull

Friday's second game came from the KC Stadium as Hull FC hosted Leeds Rhinos with the Rhinos resting ahead of their Wembley date but also looking to remain clear at the top at the expense of FC who wished to move closer towards fourth.

Leeds struck first as Ash Handley crossed inside six minutes with Kevin Sinfield converting for 6-0 before Mark Minichello responded for FC within three minutes with Marc Sneyd levelling at 6-6 with the conversion. The two tries seemed to have been score too quickly as they remained the only scores into the interval. 

Steve Michaels crossed for 10-6 on 47 minutes before two tries in four minutes from Carl Ablett and Rob Burrow with Sinfield converting both for 18-10. Jamie Shaul (Sneyd conv) cut the gap for the hosts to 18-16 but an instant response from Ryan Hall (Sinfield conv) pushed the score to 24-16. A frantic five minutes ended with a try from Jordan Rankin (Sneyd conv) for 24-22.

Leeds continued the 'you score-we score' trend with Tom Briscoe crossing on 72 minutes but a late second from Burrow coupled with two conversions from Sinfield wrapped up a 36-22 victory.  

Dragons Defeat Tough Tigers

Saturday's action came from the Stade Gilbert Brutus as Catalans Dragons hosted Castleford Tigers with both keen to continue their pursuit of a top four spot.

A stunning start from the Dragons saw them race into a 20-0 lead inside 22 minutes with tries from Tony Gigot, Zeb Taia, Jeff Lima and Todd Carney with two conversions from Thomas Bosc. Castleford responded with a try from Justin Carney which Luke Gale converted for 20-6 not long after the Dragons were reduced to 12 men when Ben Pomeroy was dismissed after a horror tackle on Ash Gibson. Catalans went into the interval with a 20 point lead as Morgan Escaré scored in the final seconds and Bosc converted for 26-6.

Oliver Holmes cut the gap for the Tigers just three minutes after the restart for 26-10 before Gigot claimed his second try (Bosc conv) for 32-10 but Adam Milner made it 32-14 before Gigot completed his hat-trick with Bosc converting for 38-14. The Tigers moved closer at 38-20 through Junior Moors effort (Gale conv) but when Escaré scored his second and Bosc improved for 44-20, the 12 men were safe. The final say came from the Tigers as Milner claimed his second try in the final minute with Gale converting for a 44-26 final score.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Young Warriors Humble Hull FC

After an extended break due to the postponement of the Castleford home game, Wigan U19s returned to action with the hosting of Hull FC who currently sit third in the table post-split.

A rapid start from the Warriors saw Kieran Sherratt cross for the opening try on seven minutes with Jake Shorrocks converting for 6-0 before a reply from FC saw Harry Tyson-Wilson score a self converted try to level at 6-6. Oliver Gildart regained the lead for the hosts with a try that may be the reason he's been included in the senior squad this week with Shorrocks converting for 12-6.

Brad Lawrence and Gabriel Fell added further tries before the interval with Shorrocks converting only the latter for 22-6 at half-time. Liam Forsyth extended the lead for the hosts just seven minutes after the restart with Shorrocks converting for 28-6.

Jez Litten cut the gap with a try on 51 minutes for 28-10 but it proved to be in vain as Wigan ran in four tries in nine minutes through Josh Ganson, and Jack Higginson either side of a second effort from Gabriel Fell before Callum Field struck with Shorrocks converting all four  for a huge 50-10 lead.

Josh Poskitt stemmed the Warriors' spree with a try on 73 minutes which Tyson-Wilson converted for a 50-16 final score. 


Super 8s-The Qualifiers Round Two Review

After a surprisingly close opening round, round two would prove to be the first real test of the new format with all four Super League sides hosting the Championship quartet.

Wonderful Wildcats Batter Bulls

Saturday's round opened came from the Rapid Solicitors Stadium as Wakefield Wildcats hosted Bradford Bulls with the hosts looking for their first win at the expense of a Bulls side hoping for successive victories.

Wakefield raced into a 24-0 lead inside 18 minutes with tries from Jon Molloy, Michael Sio, Mickael Simon and Nick Scruton with Lee Smith converting the quarter before scoring a self-converted try for 30-0 on 27 minutes. Bradford stemmed the scoring spree with a try from Adrian Purtell on 33 minutes which Danny Addy converted for 30-6, a score which lasted into the interval.

Bradford sealed back-to-back tries as Dale Ferguson (Addy conv) pushed them to 30-12 but the Wakefield charge resumed with a Smith penalty swiftly followed by a try from Reece Lyne which Smith improved for 38-12. 

Further tries from Matt Ashurst and Jacob Miller with the latter converted by Joe Arundel with three minutes remaining sealed a huge win for the hosts which was dented slightly by a last gasp try from James Clare with Addy converting for a 48-18 final score. 

Robins Rise As Fax Fall

Sunday featured three games with the first seeing the highest and lowest ranked sides meet at the KC Lightstream Stadium as Hull Kingston Rovers hosted Halifax with Fax looking to stage a shock against the Challenge Cup finalists.

The Robins made a perfect start with Josh Mantelleto crossing inside four minutes for 4-0 before Tyrone McCarthy added an effort on 11 minutes which Mantellato converted for 10-0. Dane Manning crossed on 21 minutes to score Fax's first points of the competition with Steve Tyrer converting for 10-6.

Mantellato scored two further self-converted tries either side of the interval for his hat-trick at 22-6 but Halifax reached double figures with 13 minutes to go as Tyrer crossed and converted for 22-12 to give them some hope. However, Fax were unfortunate late on as the Robins higher experience and fitness saw them run in tries from Ken Sio and Kris Welham with Mantellato converting both for a 34-12 final score. 

Rampant Red Devils Crush Centurions

After suffering defeat at LSV in the Challenge Cup, Salford Red Devils looked for revenge as they hosted Leigh Centurions at the AJ Bell Stadium with Leigh looking to secure a 2015 double over their hosts.

Salford raced out of the blocks with a try inside three minutes from Ben Jones-Bishop for 4-0 before a 25 minute period saw the score remain at 4-0 until Scott Taylor crossed and Michael Dobson converted for 10-0. Iain Thornley added a third try before the interval on 34 minutes with Dobson's conversion opening up a 16-0 lead into the break.

Rangi Chase (Dobson conv) extended the lead to 22-0 just three minutes after the restart with Leigh's response being two tries in three minutes from Adam Higson and Greg McNally with Martyn Ridyard converting both for 22-12. Leigh's hopes were dented superbly as Salford ran in four tries in nine minutes with a second from Chase sandwiched between efforts from Junior Sa'u and Niall Evalds ahead of a try from Greg Johnson with Dobson converting all four for a 46-12 lead.

Leigh had the last say on the scoreline as McNally claimed his second try with three minutes remaining and Ridyard converted for a 46-18 final score. 

Vikings Vanquish Exasperated Eagles

The final game of the round came from the Select Security Stadium as Widnes Vikings hosted Sheffield Eagles with the Eagles keen to improve after a heavy opening defeat.

Widnes raced into a 20-0 lead inside 27 minutes with tries from Kevin Brown and Charly Runciman either side of a brace from Stefan Marsh with Danny Tickle converting just the first and third tries. Rhys Hanbury and Dan Galea added further tries before the interval with the latter converted by Lloyd White for 30-0 before the Eagles prevented a first half blank with a late try from Scott Turner which Pat Walker converted for 30-6 into half-time.

Joe Mellor and Paddy Flynn pushed Widnes to 40 points within 15 minutes of the restart with the latter converted by White for 40-6. Sheffield sealed a second try as Keal Carlile crossed on 63 minutes with Walker improving the effort to 40-12. However, the Vikings proved their higher ranking with two late tries as Marsh completed his hat-trick ahead of a second for Charly Runciman for a 48-12 final score.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Super 8s- Super League Round Two Review

After an interesting opening round, the Super 8s-Super League are in full swing with the battles in the league table thinning out a touch after this weeks quartet of games.

Classy Cas Edge Wishful Wolves

Thursday's round opener came from the Mend-A-Hose Jungle as fifth placed Castleford hosted sixth placed Warrington Wolves with the visitors knowing that a defeat would leave them needing a miracle to reach the top four.

The Tigers struck first with talismanic winger Justin Carney scoring a 17th minute opener which Luke Gale converted for 6-0 before Michael Shenton made it five tries in two games with a 28th minute effort for 10-0. Warrington responded with a try from Richie Myler on 33 minutes with Chris Sandow converting for 10-6 but Castleford went into the interval with a six point lead after a late Gale penalty for 12-6.

Carney claimed his second try just three minutes after the restart for 16-6 and the game began to tighten up with the next points not registered until the 70th minute when Myler scores his second try for 16-10. Kevin Penny ensured a tense finish with a 78th minute try which when converted by Sandow levelled the score at 16-16. Alike their win over St Helens, Castleford left it until the last second to claim victory with a drp goal but this time around from the boot of Liam Finn who kicked for a 17-16 triumph.

Rhinos Rise Over Wasteful Warriors

Friday's headline game came from Headingley Carnegie as table toppers Leeds Rhinos hosted second placed Wigan Warriors with the hosts looking to open up a four point gap on the chasing pack.

Leeds made a perfect start as Danny McGuire crossed inside three minutes with Kevin Sinfield converting for 6-0 but wary of Leeds' traditional great starts, Wigan replied rapidly with Liam Farrell crossing on seven minutes for 6-4. Two quick scores put the hosts in control at 14-4 with Joel Moon crossing ahead of a conversion and penalty from Sinfield. 

The final seconds of the saw a controversial try for Leeds as Ryan Hall crossed to the anger of the travelling supporters who saw a clear knock-on from Sinfield in the build-up but after review the score was awarded (has since been revealed the decision was an error) and Sinfield converted for a 20-4 half-time advantage. 

Wigan cut the gap on the hour with Farrell's second effort for 20-8 but a Kallum Watkins try and Zak Hardaker drop goal in the space of three minutes put the Rhinos ahead 25-8. Wigan battled back but took until the 72nd minute to dent the lead with John Bateman crossing and Matty Bowen converting for 25-14 before a late try from Dom Manfredi for a 25-18 final score. 

Giants Glide As Dragons Descend

The second of three games on Friday came from the John Smith's Stadium as fourth placed Huddersfield hosted eighth placed Catalans Dragons with the Giants looking to sure up fourth spot.

Catalans have the worst form of the top eight teams but got off to a good start with 19th minute try from Willie Tonga which Krisnan Inu converted for 6-0. Huddersfield responded superbly with three tries in the final ten minutes of the half with Jack Hughes, Aaron Murphy and Jermain McGillvary all crossing with Danny Brough converting twice for a 16-6 lead into the into the interval. 

Brough added two penalties in the 49th and 62nd minuted to move the lead to 14 points at 20-6 before a second try from McGillvary on 73 minutes sealed the win at 24-6. Catalans had the last say on the scoreline as Todd Carney crossed in the final minute with Inu converting for a 24-12 final score.

Fabulous FC Stun Saints

The third of Friday's trilogy came from Langtree Park as third placed St Helens hosted seventh place Hull FC with Saints looking to go second and FC hoping to bost their top four hopes. 

A tight first 20 minutes saw the sides remain scoreless before the deadlock was broken by Luke Thompson on 23 minutes with Luke Walsh converting to put the hosts 6-0 up. FC replied with a try from Curtis Naughton with Marc Sneyd levelling with the conversion before two tries from Adam Swift and James Roby which Walsh converted sent Saints into the interval ahead at 18-6.

Tom Lineham and Joe Westerman crossed within 15 minutes of the restart with a double conversion from Sneyd closing the gap to 18-16 before Jamie Shaul put the visitors ahead on 65 minutes with Sneyd's conversion making it 22-18. Naughton ran riot to complete his hat-trick with two tries in four minutes with a single conversion from Sneyd pushing the lead to 14 at 32-18. Saints cut the gap with two minutes to go through Mark Percival but at 32-22, fell to defeat and remain behind Wigan in third.

Monday, 10 August 2015

Super 8s - The Qualifiers Round One Review

After the breakaway of the top eight in Super League, the bottom four joined with the top four sides in the Championship to form the Super 8s-The Qualifiers. The prize in this competition is that the top three sides will play in next year's Super League while fourth and fifth will face off in the 'Million Pound Game' with the winner claiming the final Super League place.

Unlike the Super League and Championship Shield competitions, this one sees all eight sides begin on a level playing field with the points earned in the regular season reset meaning their is the outside possibility of four sides being promoted/relegated but also no change at all to the lineup of Super League.

Robins Relief As Centurions Collapse

The round began on Saturday at Leigh Sports Village as Championship table toppers Leigh Centurions hosted Super League side Hull Kingston Rovers. The Centurions aimed to maintain their two-year unbeaten home record which would be a huge task against a Robins side who last week secured a place in the Challenge Cup final.

As expected, the Robins made the better start with an opening try from Dane Chisholm in the ninth minute which Josh Mantellato converted for a 6-0 lead. However, Leigh battled back superbly with three tries in six minutes from Ryan Brierley, Greg McNally and Andrew Dixon and with Martin Ridyard converting all three, the Centurions opened up an 18-6 lead. The lead was extended in the final seconds of the half as Tom Armstrong scored with Ridyard's kick setting up a huge 24-6 half-time lead.

The Robins needed to strike early in the second half to prevent a potential humiliation and did just that as Kieran Dixon raced over for a try which Mantellato converted for 24-12 but Leigh continued to post points with a 54th minute penalty from Ridyard making it 26-12. The Robins had only one win to their name outside the city of Hull this year after they dumped Wigan out of the cup here at  LSV  and the prospect of a second victory in Leigh grew stronger just after the hour mark.

Maurice Blair and Tony Puletua crossed to dent the Centurions' lead with their efforts converted by Mantellato closing the gap to just two points at 26-24 but the Robins continued to attack the hosts' advantage and as the game entered the final ten minutes, their experience paid off.

Shaun Lunt and Ben Cockayne crossed on 73 and 77 minutes to complete a stellar comeback from the Robins with Mantellato ending the game with a perfect record with the boot for a 36-26 triumph.

Salford Success Sees Wakefield Wonder

Sunday featured the remaining three games of the round starting with the only all Super League clash at the AJ Bell Stadium as Salford Red Devils hosted Wakefield Wildcats with both sides keen to make a good start to the 8s after poor regular seasons. 

The hosts made a superb start by racing into a 10-0 lead inside 20 minutes with a brace of tries and a conversion by Josh Griffin. Alike his brother, George Griffin got on the board with a try six minutes before the interval with brother Josh converting for 16-0. Wakefield prevented a first half blank with a late try from Jacob Miller with Lee Smith converting for 16-6 at the interval.

Two quick scores after the restart from Miller and Danny Washbrook put the Wildcats in front with Smith's two conversion's making it 18-16 but the lead changed hands again as Cory Paterson added a self-converted try for 22-18. Three minutes later and another swing as Reece Lyne (Smith conv) put the Wildcats back in front at 24-22 before Smith added a penalty to extend the lead to four at 26-22.

Salford drew level with nine minutes remaining as Rangi Chase raced over for 26-26 with Griffin putting them 28-26 ahead with the boot but there was no reply from the visitors as Paterson sealed the win two minutes from the end with Griffin's conversion confirming a 34-26 win.  

                                                                        Fax Fall To Vikings Late Show

In a clash between the highest and lowest sides of the eight, Championship side Halifax hosted Super League side Widnes Vikings with the hosts hoping to stage a shock against a Vikings side that narrowly missed out on the SL top eight.

A tight first half saw a surprise 0-0 scoreline at the interval which saw the hosts the happier of the two sides as the strength of the visiting Vikings had failed to lead to any points on the board. The second half would surely see a gap appear with the hosts only being a part-time team and ten minutes after the restart, Widnes made a breakthrough as new signing Charly Runciman scored a debut try for 4-0.

Halifax did well to prevent any further scores and with five minute remaining knew a converted try would be enough to secure a shock win. Their hopes were dashed by two late scores in the space of a minute as Alex Gerrard (Lloyd White conv) and a second from Runciman secured a 14-0 win for Widnes but such a scoreline will give Halifax confidence given after holding a full time side to just three tries. 

Bulls Blitz Exposed Eagles

The only all Championship game of the opening round saw Bradford Bulls host Sheffield Eagles at the Provident Stadium with both sides harbouring hopes of a return to Super League with the Bulls being a full time side and the Eagles soon to be as of 2016.

As expected, Bradford opened the scoring as Danny Williams crossed inside three minutes before adding a second on eight minutes with Danny Addy converting only the latter for 10-0. Lee Gaskell and Jay Pitts added further tries before the 30 minute mark with Addy converting for 20-0.

Sheffield got on the board with a try from Misi Taulapapa with Kyle Briggs converting for 20-6 but the Bulls went into the interval with a 20 point lead as Adam Henry (Addy conv crossed for a 26-6 half-time lead.

Gaskell claimed two scored in 15 minutes with an Addy conversion pushing the Bulls to 36-6 before a debut try from former Castleford winger James Clare wrapped up the win with Addy's fifth conversion creating a huge 42-6 lead. Despite the impeding defeat, Sheffield had the last say on the score as Menzie Yere registered a try in the final seconds for a 42-10 final score

Super 8s-Super League Round One Review

After a break for the Challenge Cup semi finals, Super League returned in its new guise of the Super 8s with the top eight teams in retaining their points in a new division as they chase the goal of the play-off semi finals.

Warriors Win Guts Giants

The round opened on Thursday night at the DW Stadium in a battle of third against fourth as Wigan Warriors hosted Huddersfield Giants. The hosts looked to close up on the top two while the Giants hoped to move within a point of the Warriors.

In the regular season, the Warriors boasted a perfect home record with 11 wins but their pursuit of a 12th took an early blow as a brace from Jermaine McGillvary (Danny Brough conv) saw the Giants lead 10-0. Liam Farrell responded with a try on 33 minutes with Matty Smith's conversion making it 10-6 but the hosts went into the interval with a four point deficit.

Two tries in as many minutes from Dom Manfredi and George Williams saw Wigan go ahead with Smith's converting both efforts for 18-10 before loanee's Jack Hughes (Brough conv) and Larne Patrick (Smith conv) scored against their parent clubs for 24-16. Eorl Crabtree's 73rd minute try moved the Giants to 20 points with Brough's conversion cutting the gap to just two points at 24-22.

The Giants pushed for a potential winning try but saw their hopes dashed by Dom Crosby's match-sealing effort with three minutes remaining with Smith converting for a 30-22 victory that moved the Warriors into second above St Helens and level on points with Leeds.

Rampant Rhinos Rout Woeful Wolves

Friday's heavyweight clash came from the Headingley Carnegie Stadium as league leaders Leeds Rhinos hosted sixth placed Warrington Wolves with the Wolves hoping to close up on the top four and prevent the Rhinos moving clear at the top.

Warrington started the better of the two sides with an 11th minute opener from Kevin Penny converted by debutant Chris Sandow for a 6-0 lead but Leeds replied through Kallum Watkins just three minutes later and with Kevin Sinfield converting, the Rhinos drew level at 6-6. Tom Briscoe crossed on the wing to put the Rhinos ahead at 10-6 before a four minute salvo from Zak Hardaker and Danny McGuire saw Sinfield convert both to extend the lead to 22-6.

Leeds went into the interval with an 18 point lead after Sinfield converted a penalty in the final seconds of the half for 24-6 to leave the Wolves needing a massive turnaround in the second half. The comeback began just seven minutes after the restart as Penny claimed his second try for 24-10 but to the Wolves despair, his try was to be their last of the evening as the Rhinos ran riot.

Hardaker crossed for his second try on 54 minutes with Joel Moon extending the lead further just four minutes later with Sinfield's boot moving the score to 36-10 before he swept over a 69th minute drop goal for 37-10. Leeds put over 40 points past St Helens in the previous week and did the same to the Wolves as Rob Burrow and Carl Ablett each crossed in the final six minutes with Sinfield converting to complete a huge 49-10 triumph.

Shenton Stars As Tigers Edge Out FC

Friday's second game came from the Mend-A-Hose Jungle as fifth placed Castleford Tigers hosted seventh placed Hull FC with both sides in pursuit of a top four finish after a good regular season campaign.

Hull made a perfect start by racing into a 12-0 lead within five minutes with tries from Richard Whiting and Jordan Rankin with both efforts converted by former Tigers half Marc Sneyd. Castleford responded in style with Michael Shenton scoring a 15 minute hat-trick with efforts on 21,25 and 36 minutes with the latter converted by Luke Gale for a 16-12 lead. Hull stemmed the Tigers spree just before the interval as Steve Michaels crossed and Sneyd converted for a 18-16 half-time advantage.

Tom Lineham ensured back-to-back tries for the visitors with Sneyd converting for 24-16 but Shenton struck for a fourth time on 47 minutes with Gale's conversion cutting the deficit to two at 24-22. Gale scored a self-converted try on the hour before adding a penalty for 30-24 as the Tigers looked to build a lead and with six minutes left, Ash Gibson looked to have sealed the win with Gale converting for 36-24. Hull set up a tense finish as Jack Logan (Sneyd conv) made it 36-30 with three minutes left of the 80 but the Tigers held on to claim the two points.

Dragons Delight As Saints Stutter 

The round came to an end at a soaked Stade Gilbert Brutus on Saturday as eighth placed Catalans Dragons hosted third placed St Helens with the Dragons eager to boost their top four hopes at the expense of the champions who looked to reclaim second spot from Wigan.

Only Leeds and Huddersfield had claimed wins in Perpignan in the regular season but with such poor weather, the Saints harboured hopes of opening their 8s campaign on a high. However, their hopes suffered an early blow as Tony Gigot opened the scoring for the hosts on 11 minutes with Scott Dureau converting for 6-0 before adding a penalty on 21 minutes for 8-0. Saints replied with a self-converted try from Luke Walsh for 8-6 but the Dragons regained their eight point lead on the half hour through Louis Anderson (Dureau conv) at 14-6. 

Matty Dawson crossed five minutes before the interval to move the score to 14-10 but an effort from Morgan Escaré (Dureau conv) in the final seconds of the half gave the Dragons a 20-10 lead into half-time. A fiery start to the second half saw Dragons centre Ben Pomeroy sent off for a high-shot on Josh Jones withing three minutes of the restart but the numerical disadvantage didn't phase the hosts as Dureau added two penalties in five minutes for 24-10.

Saints had half an hour with an extra man to stage a comeback and the foundations were laid on 57 minutes as Joe Greenwood crossed to make it 24-14 with Walsh improving the score to 24-16 with the boot. The deficit should have been cut further when Dawson looked to have claimed his second try but as he crossed the line he lost the ball and it proved to be a costly error as what could have been 24-22 became 26-16 late on as Krisnan Inu added a penalty to wrap up a famous win for the Dragons.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Rhinos and Robins Seal Wembley Clash

As the Super League takes a break between the regular season finale and the inaugural Super 8's phase, the Challenge Cup returned with the final four clubs facing off in the battle for a place at the show-piece Wembley final at the end of the month.

Rhinos Rally As Saints Stutter

The first semi final took place on Friday night as holders Leeds Rhinos met St Helens at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, Warrington with the Saints keen to end a barren spell away from Wembley by ending the Rhinos' grasp on the title.

Both league meetings between the sides saw Leeds victorious with the Rhinos dominating after superb starts in the first 20 minutes of both games and Friday was no different as they led 8-0 inside 14 minutes. Zak Hardaker opened the scoring with a fifth minute try with Kevin Sinfield converting for 6-0 before adding a penalty nine minutes later.

Joel Moon extended the lead on 24 minutes with a try for 12-0 and with the interval drawing near, Saints avoided a first half nilling with a try from Mark Percival on 38 minutes making it 12-4 into the half-time break. Leeds replicated their first half start with a try just five minutes after the restart as Jamie Peacock battled over and with Sinfield converting, the Rhinos led 18-4.

St Helens battled back with two scores in four minutes as Andre Savelio crossed ahead of Percival's second effort with Luke Walsh adding a single conversion to cut the gap to 18-14. Leeds moved to 20 points when Kallum Watkins crossed on 67 minutes with a Sinfield conversion making it 24-14. Saints battled to cut the gap but were denied by a strong Rhinos back-line who kept up the ten point gap to secure back-to-back visits to Wembley and the potential of retaining their title. 

Robins Rise As Wolves Wilt

The second semi saw Warrington Wolves and Hull Kingston Rovers face off at Headingley Carnegie Stadium , Leeds with the Wolves looking for a return to Wembley after a two year absence while the Robins looked for a first visit since 1986.

After failing to reach the top eight of Super League, the Robins were rank outsiders to progress and after a horror start from the kick-off, they went behind inside two minutes as Ryan Atkins crossed for the opening try for the Wolves with Gareth O'Brien converting for a 6-0 lead. Josh Mantellato cut the deficit with a clever try on 24 minutes for 6-4 before Ken Sio (Mantellato conv) put the Robins ahead at 10-6 just three minutes later.

Mantellato added a penalty goal just before the interval for a 12-6 lead into the half-time break with the Robins surge continuing into the second half as Kevin Larroyer crossed on 46 minutes with Mantellato's conversion extending the lead to 18-6 before the Robins winger added a penalty for 20-6 on 53 minutes. 

Warrington battled back into contention with tries from Richie Myler and Ben Currie with O'Brien converting both scores for a narrow gap at 20-18 but the potential to complete the comeback was ended by a superb try late on by Shaun Lunt and Mantellato sealed a famous 26-18 triumph for the Robins who are just one win away from a dream place in the 2016 World Club Series.