Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Super 8s- Super League Final Round Review

After a roller-coaster season of 29 games, the final round of Super League action saw the battle for the League Leaders Shield go right down to the final minute on Friday night in a superb 80 minutes at the DW and John Smith's Stadium's.

Wonderful Wolves Stall Saints Shield Hopes

Thursday's round opener came from Langtree Park as St Helens hosted Warrington Wolves with Saints knowing anything but a win would see them relinquish their hold on the League Leaders Shield and force them to travel in the play-offs.

The hosts made a superb start as Joe Greenwood opened the scoring inside nine minutes with a clever conversion from Luke Walsh creating a 6-0 lead but the Wolves took just four minutes to reply with Jack Johnson crossing for a try and Chris Sandow converting to level at 6-6. Warrington took the lead on the half hour as Joel Monaghan claimed a try in his final game to make it 10-6 and extend a record of a try per game across his Wolves career with 145 in as many appearances. 

Chris Hill ensured that the Wolves led into the interval as he registered a 35th minute try for 14-6 and the Wolves charge continued into the second half as Ryan Atkins crossed within nine minutes of the restart with Sandow converting for 20-6. St Helens have been experts at coming from behind this season and they began such a task with two tries in four minutes from Adam Swift and Mark Flanagan with Walsh adding a conversion for 20-16. 

However, their hopes were dashed late on as Roy Asotasi and Kevin Penny posted tries with Sandow converting the latter and a fitting farewell for Monaghan saw him convert the latter to confirm a 32-16 victory. The result meant St Helens finished fourth and that top spot was now a three horse race.

Last Gasp Leeds Halt Huddersfield

Friday's televised action came from the John Smith's Stadium as Leeds Rhinos hosted Huddersfield Giants with both knowing a win could secure the League Leaders Shield whereas a defeat would result in an away trip in the play-offs.

The Rhinos struck first as Stevie Ward crossed for the opening try inside ten minutes with Kevin Sinfield converting for 6-0 but the Giants responded almost instantly as Jermaine McGillvary crossed with Danny Brough converting to level at 6-6. Leeds went into the interval with a slim lead after Sinfield added a penalty just two minutes before the break for 8-6.

However, Huddersfield were level within nine minutes of the restart as Brough levelled at 8-8 with a penalty before the Giants extended their lead to eight after the hour as Ellis registered a try which Brough converted before adding another penalty for 16-8.

The LLS looked to be heading towards Wigan with them leading against Castleford but Leeds staged an awesome comeback with Tom Briscoe (Sinfield conv) closing the gap to 16-14 before a Sinfield penalty in the 79th minute made it 16-16 and the icing came as Ryan Hall raced clear in the final seconds to secure a first League Leaders Shield for the Rhinos in six years at 20-16.

Wondrous Warriors Trounce Tigers

Friday's alternative viewing came from the DW Stadium as Wigan Warriors hosted Castleford Tigers with the Warriors knowing a win coupled with a draw or Hudds win in the other tie would see them claim the League Leaders Shield but a win alone would secure a home play-off tie. 

The hosts made a superb start as they raced into a 10-0 lead inside the first six minutes as Dom Manfredi and Matt Bowen crossed for tries with Bowen converting just his own score. Castleford took until the 27th minute to reply but with two scores in seven minutes, they went ahead at 12-10 as Luke Dorn and Junior Moors registered efforts which were both converted by Luke Gale for a narrow lead at the interval.

Wigan stormed back in front with three tries from Manfredi as the winger crossed in the 49th (Bowen conv) and 59th minutes to complete his hat-trick before scoring a fourth in the 62nd minute to open up a 24-12 lead. Matty Smith boosted the score with a drop goal just three minutes later before a stunning five minute streak from the Warriors was completed by a fifth try of the season from Oliver Gildart which Bowen converted for 31-12.

George Williams proved just why he was short-listed for Young Player of the Year with a superb try six minutes from the end before scores from the departing duo of Joe Burgess and Larne Patrick in the final four minutes were coupled with two conversions from Bowen to complete a huge 47-12 victory which was dampened by the news they would finish second on points difference after Leeds' last-gasp win. 

Dragons Delight As FC Fall

The round and the campaign as a whole culminated on Sunday afternoon at the KC Stadium as Hull FC hosted Catalans Dragons with the the visitors looking to defy their woeful away form with a final success.

The Dragons started the pursuit of a rare away win with early success as Jordan Sigismeau crossed for the opening try inside four minutes for a 4-0 lead which became 14-0 after two tries in four minutes before the half hour from Ian Henderson and Krisnan Inu. Scott Dureau converted just the former before adding another conversion on the half hour mark after Elliot Whitehead's try for 20-0.

Hull fought back with two tries in the final seven minutes of the half as Tom Lineham scored a farewell try and Jordan Abdull crossed for 20-8 into the interval. The hosts continued to cut the gap as Curtis Naughton and a second try from Lineham made it a close game at 20-16. Thomas Bosc (Dureau conv) crossed to push the Dragons lead to ten at 26-16 before Dureau added a penalty with seven minutes remaining for 28-16.

Hull came so close to ruining the Dragons' joy as Lineham sealed a stunning farewell before heading to Warrington as he completed his hat-trick on 74 minutes before scoring a fourth in the final minute for 28-24 but FC will curse their luck after scoring six tries but not converting a single one as the Dragons celebrated the chance for an enjoyable trip back to France.

Super 8s- The Qualifiers Final Round Review

As three sides had secured their place in next season's Super League, the only issue to be settled was who would finish in fourth and fifth and thereby face-off in the Million Pound Game next weekend.

Bulls Battered By Fantastic Fax

The round opened on Saturday at Odsal as MPG hopefuls Bradford Bulls hosted Halifax with the Bulls looking to leapfrog Wakefield into fourth while Halifax looked to secure a lucrative pay day for finishing sixth.

The Bulls made the better start as Matt Ryan opened the scoring inside four minutes with Ryan Shaw converting for 6-0 but the visitors replied superbly with two tries in as many minutes from Tom Saxton and Steve Tyrer with Tyrer converting both for a 12-6 lead. A brace of self-converted tries from Shaw saw the Bulls regain the lead at 18-12 but the visitors went into the interval just two points behind after Dane Manning crossed for 18-16.

Halifax went ahead just seven minutes after the restart as Saxton claimed his second try which Tyrer converted for 22-18 before Tyrer also claimed his second try for 28-16 and the part-timers began to really click as they ran in three further tries in eight minutes. A brace from Ben Johnston coupled with an effort from Adam Tangata saw Tyrer convert twice for a huge 42-18 lead. Bradford's shockingly poor second half performance saw them go further behind as Ben Heaton (Tyrer conv) struck before Tyrer compled his hat-trick late on with a self-converted try to complete a stunning 52-18 triumph.

Valiant Vikings Crush Centurions

Sunday's trio of games saw two cross-league ties with the first coming from the Select Security Stadium as Widnes Vikings hosted Leigh Centurions with the visitors hoping to avoid finishing bottom of the 8s table.

Their hopes received an early boost as Ben Renyolds opened the scoring inside five minutes with Ryan Brierley converting for 6-0 but to their despair it was to be their first and last score of the game as Widnes ran riot.

Patrick Ah Van and Kevin Brown crossed in a six minute period with Danny Tickle converting the latter for a 10-6 advantage before Charly Runciman and Paddy Flynn (Tickle conv) extended the lead to 20-6 into the interval. The Vikings charge continued as Alex Gerrard and Rhys Hanbury brought up the 30 point mark before the hour with Tickle converting both tries for 32-6.

Joe Mellor continued the hosts' charge on 65 minutes with Tickle converting for 38-6 before a second try from Ah Van and a late effort from Jack Owens were both converted by Owens to complete a 50-6 stroll for the Vikings. 

Excellent Eagles Stun Wasteful Wildcats

After Bradford's defeat the previous day, Wakefield Wildcats knew they would host the Bulls in the MPG but first had to travel to face Sheffield Eagles at Bramall Lane with the Eagles keen to avoid bottom spot in the table.

The Eagles struck first as Scott Turner crossed for the opening try on 19 minutes for 4-0 before Cory Aston increased the leas six minutes later with an effort which Pat Walker converted for 10-0. Wakefield hit back through Danny Kirmond for 10-4 before Menzie Yere (Dom Brambani conv) improved to lead to 16-4 with the Wildcats going into the interval just one score down after Ben Kavanagh scored and Joe Arundel converted for 16-10 into the break.

Pat Walker converted the first points of the second half in the 67th minute with a penalty before the win was sealed for the part-timers as Quentin Laulu-Togagae registered an effort which Walker converted for a 24-10 final score.

Rampant Robins Devastate Red Devils

The final game of Sunday's trio saw Hull Kingston Rovers host Salford Red Devils at the KC Lightstream Stadium with the Robins looking to complete a perfect record of seven wins in the 8s while the Red Devils looked to secure third spot. 

The visitors struck first as Greg Johnson opened the scoring inside four minutes for a 4-0 lead but they were soon pegged back as the departing Robins centre Kris Welham struck on 13 minutes to level at 4-4. The Robins went ahead after a try from George Lawler which Josh Mantellato converted for 10-4 before Salford drew level after a try from Harrison Hansen which Ben Jones-Bishop converted for 10-10.

Tries from Lama Tasi and a first senior effort from Ryan Lannon were both converted by Jones-Bishop as Salford opened up a 22-10 lead at the interval but it was the break that seemed to curse the Red Devils. The Robins staged a superb comeback with four tries in 14 minutes as Mantellato crossed ahead of efforts from Ken Sio, Dane Chisholm and Tyrone McCarthy with Mantellato converting all four for a 34-22 lead. 

The amazing turnaround continued as the Robins completed a streak of 36 unanswered points in the last ten minutes as Ben Cockayne and Maurice Blair registered tries with Mantellato converting the first and Welham signing off as a Robin with the final conversion for 46-22.

Monday, 28 September 2015

Young Warriors Retain Academy Title

After victories over Warrington Wolves and Hull FC in the play-off semis, Wigan Warriors and St Helens faced off at the DW Stadium in the 2015 Academy Grand Final.
Both sides went into the game fielding strong squads despite a number of injuries and first team call-ups and the young players all played their part in a fascinating 80 minutes ahead of the headline event of Wigan v Castleford in the Super 8s.

Wigan started superbly with Kyle Shelford scoring inside five minutes with Nick Gregson converting for a 6-0 lead. Saints replied on 21 minutes as Ben Morris crossed for a try and Danny Richardson levelled the score at 6-6 with the conversion. Wigan regained the lead with seven minutes left of the half as Paddy Jones touched down leaving Gregson with an easy conversion for a 12-6 lead into the interval.

Macauley Davies extended the Warriors' lead within six minutes of the restart but Gregson was unable to convert at 16-6, Gabriel Fell raced over to push the Warriors to 20 points with Gregson converting for a comfortable 22-6 lead. Saints remained in the hunt as the game entered the final ten minutes and cut the lead through Dave Eccleston on 73 minutes but a missed conversion attempt from Richardson left them two scores behind at 22-10.

The final hooter saw
the jubilant Warriors celebrate their third title in a row and a seventh in eight years and despite being on the losing side, St Helens performed superbly proving why they and Wigan's Academy setup is so highly regarded across the league and that the future looks very bright for both clubs.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Young Warriors Seal Grand Final Date With Saints

After a superb victory away to Leeds to seal a six point advantage at the top of the table, Wigan entered the play-off semi final at home to Warrington in huge confidence with St Helens awaiting in the Grand Final.

Wigan were without their primary kicker Jake Shorrocks due to injury while Oliver Gildart's exploits in the first team meant Jack Higginson continued in the number three shirt at centre while Warrington also had players missing due to first team call-ups.  The Wolves made the better start of the two sides as Richard Harris crossed for the opening try in the 13th minute with Harvey Livett converting for 6-0.

However, Wigan were back on level terms just seven minutes later as Paddy Jones scored with Nick Gregson converting for 6-6 before Gabriel Fell put the hosts in front on the half hour mark with Gregson converting for 12-6 before missing with the boot three minutes later after Liam Paisley's try at 16-6. The Warriors went into the interval sitting even more comfortably as Liam Marshall crossed for a try which Gregson improved for 20-6 at the break.

The hosts surge continued early in the second half as Josh Ganson crossed within two minutes of the restart with Gregson converting for 26-6 before he missed with the boot after Liam Marshall's second try on 52 minutes at 30-6. Luke Waterworth (Gregson conv) pushed the lead to 36-6 on the hour mark before Ben Sewifield got the Wolves to double figures with Livett converting for 36-12 but it was a minor blip on the Warriors charge as Paisley and Ganson claimed their second tries with Gregson adding a single conversion for 46-12.

The result already confirmed, Warrington had the last say on the final score as Jack Fox crossed on 75 minutes for 46-16 but with the final whistle coming five minutes later, Wigan celebrated reaching yet another Grand Final as their stunning streak extended and the retention of their title was just one win away in a first ever appearance at the DW Stadium.

Super 8s-The Qualifiers Round Six Review

As only Hull KR had confirmed their place in next year's Super League, the remaining three places were up for grabs as the competition entered round six with just one further side sealing their place ahead of the final round.

Eagles Excite As Robins Rise

Friday's round opener at Bramall Lane saw Sheffield Eagles host already 'promoted' Hull Kingston Rovers as the Eagles looked to boost their hopes of reaching the Million Pound Game.

The Eagles made the better start of the two sides with Eddie Battye scoring the first try inside six minutes which Pat Walker converted for 6-0. The Robins reply took until the 21st minute as Ken Sio crossed for 6-4 but they were ahead with five minutes left of the half as Maurice Blair touched down and Kieran Dixon converted for 10-6. The Eagles were unfortunate to go into the interval ten points behind at 16-6 as Sio claimed his second try with Dixon converting in the final minute. 

Quentin Laulu-Togagae cut the gape for the hosts within four minutes of the restart with Dominic Brambani converting for 16-12 but the 10 point gap was restored when Sio completed his hat-trick and Dixon converted for 22-12. Ryan Millar replied for the Eagles with Brambani converting for a second time at 22-18 before Adam Walker scored on the hour mark (Dixon conv) for a 28-18 lead with Kris Welham adding a try within a minute for 32-18.

Matty Marsh looked to have sealed the win for the Robins with ten minutes left with his effort converted by Dixon for 38-18 but the Eagles battled on and close the gap to 10 as Millar ran in two tries to complete his hat-trick with the latter converted by Walker for a 38-28 final score. 

Centurions Curtailed By Brilliant Bulls

Saturday's huge clash came at Leigh Sports Village as Leigh Centurions hosted Bradford Bulls with both sides looking to boost their chances of reaching the Million Pound Game at the very least in their bid for promotion from the Championship.

The Bulls made a perfect start as they struck inside three minutes through Jake Mullaney for a 4-0 lead before doubling the lead to 8-0 on the half hour mark as Danny Williams scored and with Danny Addy converting the score moved to 10-0. Leigh fought back and were on the board just before the interval as Adam Higson touched down before Greg McNally cut the gap further with Ryan Brierley converting to send the sides level into the interval at 10-10.

Bradford were back in front within seven minutes of the restart as Williams claimed his second try with Addy converting for 16-10 before adding a penalty just before the hour mark for 18-10. Leigh were in danger of being cut adrift as Matty Blythe crossed for the Bulls with Addy converting before adding a penalty four minutes later for a 26-10 advantage. 

Leigh continued in the hunt as Bob Beswick (Brierley conv) cut the gap to 10 points but it proved to be in vain as Blythe claimed his second try in the final minuted which Addy converted for a 32-16 triumph which ended the Centurions hopes of reaching Super League next year. 

Wondrous Wildcats Halt Halifax

Saturday evening saw Wakefield Wildcats host Halifax at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium with both still in the hunt for the Million Pound Game after reasonable campaign's so far in the 8s.

Wakefield started well as they opened up a 6-0 lead inside 8 minutes with a try from Michael Sio converted by Joe Arundel but 'Fax replied rapidly with a try from Jake Eccleston which as converted by Steve Tyrer to level at 6-6. Two tries in six minutes after the half hour mark put the hosts in control as Sio claimed his second try ahead of an effort from Mickael Simon with Arundel converting both for 18-6 at the interval. 

Arundel extended the lead to 14 at 20-6 with a 52nd minute penalty before Anthony Mullally boosted their lead further on 68 minutes with Arundel converting for 26-6. Halifax reached double figures with three minutes remaining as Scott Murrell touches down with Tyrer converting for 6-12 but int proved to be only a consolation as Max Jowiit pushed the hosts towards 30 points which as reached with Arundel's conversion for a 30-12 finish.

Vikings Vanquish By Rising Red Devils

Sunday saw the round come to an end at the Select Security Stadium as Widnes Vikings hosted Salford Red Devils with both sides looking to secure their Super League status for next year.

Salford raced out of the blocks as Josh Griffin opened the scoring inside two minutes for 4-0 before Micheal Dobson added a penalty for 6-0 in the seventh minute. Widnes got off the mark on 13 minutes through Patrick Ah Van for 6-4 before Scott Taylor (Dobson conv) touched down for 12-4 ahead of a try from Cory Paterson (Dobson conv) which set up an 18-4 lead into the interval.

Junior Sa'u extended the lead with a try within three minutes of the restart which Dobson converted for 24-4 before Widnes reached double figures with a try from Lloyd White which Ah Van converted for 24-10. The match ended with both sides down to 12 as Josh Griffin and Kevin Brown were sent off late on as Salford secured a 24-10 victory which guarantees their return to Super League next season.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Super 8s-Super League Round Six Review

As the play-off semis grow nearer, the Super League top four sides have been confirmed but in which order would they finish, round six saw two sides waste chances to guaranteed a top two finish as the League Leaders Shield's fate will be decided in this week's final round.

Rhinos Rueful As Cas Show Class 

Thursday's round opener saw leaders Leeds Rhinos host fifth placed Castleford Tigers at Headingley with the Tigers eager to secure an away double against the Rhinos who were hoping to end their post-Wembley woes.

A superb start for the Tigers saw Luke Gale and Denny Solomona race over for tries with both converted by Gale for a 12-0 lead inside 10 minutes. Leeds fought back with two tries in three minutes from Ryan Hall and Joel Moon with Kevin Sinfield converting both efforts to level at 12-12.

Hall crossed for a second time on 31 minutes to put the Rhinos ahead at 16-12 but Luke Dorn ensured the Tigers were level within six minutes after his try made it 16-16 into the interval.

Castleford replicated their superb start to the first half as they ran in two tires inside the first eight minutes as Gale claimed his second try ahead of an effort from Ben Roberts with Gale converting both to open up a huge 28-16 lead. Leeds hit back with a try from Adam Cuthbertson which was converted by Jordan Lilley for 28-22 but Ben Roberts secured a famous win with a 74th minute drop goal to seal a 29-22 triumph. 

Saints Stun Warriors 

Friday's televised action came from Langtree Park as St Helens hosted fierce rivals Wigan Warriors with the Warriors looking to capitalise on the Rhinos loss and go clear at the top while the Saints knew a win would set up a four-way chase for the League Leaders Shield.

A tight first 10 minutes saw both sides start well in defence but Wigan soon broke the deadlock on 13 minutes through Joel Tomkins with Matt Bowen converting for 6-0. St Helens replied with five minutes left of the first half as Luke Walsh crossed for a try and converted for 6-6 into the interval.

Wigan were back in front within five minutes of the restart as Bowen converted a penalty for 8-6 before George Williams extended the lead with a try on 52 minutes which Bowen converted for a 14-6 advantage. Adam Swift replied for the hosts just four minutes later with Walsh converting for 14-12. As the game entered the final minutes, both sides pushed for a crucial winning try but to the despair of the travelling fans, St Helens completed their comeback as Josh Jones touched down with two minutes remaining and with Walsh converting, the hosts sealed an 18-14 win.

FC Fall To Glorious Giants

Friday's second game came from the KC Stadium as Hull FC hosted top four side Huddersfield Giants with the Giants keen to boost their chances of securing the League Leaders Shield while FC looked to avoid finishing bottom of the 8s table.

The hosts started the better of the sides as Jordan Rankin opened the scoring inside five minutes for 4-0 but Huddersfield replied through Aaron Murphy with Danny Brough's conversion giving them a 6-4 lead. Jake Connor and Scott Grix extended the lead with Brough converting only the latter for 16-4. Rankin (Marc Sneyd conv) claimed his second try on 35 minutes to cut the gap to 16-10 but the Giants went into the break with an eight point advantage as Brough converted a late penalty for 18-10.

Josh Bowden (Sneyd conv) and Kirk Yeaman both crossed within eight minutes of the restart to turn the game around at 20-18 but with Connor claiming his second try on the hour, the visitors went ahead at 22-20. The Giants confirmed the win late on as in-form Jermaine McGillvary and Jamie Ellis crossed in the final minutes with Brough converting both for a 34-20 final score.  

Wonderful Wolves Demolish Dragons

The round came to a close on Saturday at the Halliwell Jones Stadium as Warrington Wolves hosted Catalans Dragons with both sides hoping to finish as high as possible after missing out on the top four.

A superb start from the Wolves saw them take a 10-0 lead inside ten minutes as Joel Monaghan and Ryan Atkins crossed for tries with Chris Sandow converting only the latter. Monaghan claimed his second on 22 minutes for 14-0 before tries from Jack Johnson and Ben Currie which were both converted by Sandow set up a 26-0 lead into the interval.

Warrington continued their onslaught with a second from Atkins on 53 minutes for 30-0 before a hat-trick try for Monaghan and second effort from Johnson were converted by Sandow and Monaghan for a huge 42-0 advantage. Catalans away form has been woeful this season and their misery continued into the final ten minutes as Richie Myler crossed for a try which was surprisingly converted by Roy Asotasi for 48-0 

The Dragons did have the final say though as they avoided a nilling after a try from Stanislas Robin with four minutes remaining with Scott Dureau converting for a 48-6 final score.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Super 8s- The Qualifiers Round Five Review

After mixed results across for the Super League quarter in recent rounds, The Qualifiers is still wide open as after round five, only one side has confirmed their place in next season's Super League in Hull KR who remain the only side with a perfect record.

Rampant Robins Batter Bulls

The round opened on Saturday at the KC Lightstream Stadium as Hull KR hosted promotion hopefuls Bradford Bulls with the Robins knowing a win would guarantee their place in Super League next year while the Bulls looked for a second scalp.

The Robins made the better start with the first try coming inside 12 minutes as Josh Mantellato struck for 4-0 but the Bulls were level on 26 minutes as James Mendeika scored for 4-4. Mantellato crossed for a second time to make it 8-4 before Kieran Dixon made it 12-4 at the break in a half with no conversions for either side.

Dixon claimed his second try within three minutes of the restart for 16-4 before Dane Chisholm ran in on 46 minutes with Mantellato converting for a 22-4 lead. The Bulls were being cut adrift and fell further behind to two efforts before the hour from Ken Sio and Kris Welham with Mantellato converting just the former as the Robins led 32-4.

Graeme Horne added a try on 70 minutes which Mantellato converted for 38-4 before a six minute double from Dixon saw him complete his hat-trick ahead of a fourth try which he converted to complete a 48-4 hammering. 

Woeful Wildcats Vanquished By Vikings

Sunday's all Super League meeting came from the Rapid Solicitors Stadium as Wakefield Wildcats hosted Widnes Vikings with both looking to boost their survival hopes.

Widnes struck first after only 13 minutes through Lloyd White and with Danny Tickle converting they led 6-0. Rhys Hanbury struck twice in five minute to extend the lead ahead of an effort from Aaron Heremaia with Tickle converting twice for 22-0 into the interval.

Hanbury completed his hat-trick just two minutes after the restart with Tickle converting for a 28-0 lead before Kevin Brown pushed the Vikings past 30 points with Tickle's conversion improving the lead to 34-0. Lee Smith crossed for the hosts to prevent a nilling at 34-4 but it was to be a slim consolation as Hanbury scored his fourth try ahead of one for Paddy Flynn with Patrick Ah Van converting both to complete a 46-4 victory. 

Fabulous 'Fax Stun Centurions

In the only all Championship meeting at The Shay, Halifax hosted Leigh Centurions looking to secure their first win of the 8s while the Centurions looked to boost their promotion hopes.

The hosts struck first as Dane Manning scored inside eight minutes with Steve Tyrer converting for 6-0 but they were further ahead just six minutes later as Ross Divorty crossed with Tyrer on target again for 12-0. Leigh have performed badly in the first half on numerous occasions this year before storming to wins in the second halves but when Tyrer added a penalty on 31 minutes ahead of a try for James Saltonstall (Tyrer conv) as the hosts completed a perfect first half leading 20-0.

Leigh responded rapidly with two tries inside eight minutes of the restart as Adam Higson and Fui Fui Moi Moi scored with Martyn Ridyard converting both to make it 20-12. However, Halifax were not to be denied their first success of the competition as Scott Murrell crossed with Tyrer converting ahead of a self converted try and penalty either side of the hour mark to seal a 34-12 victory. 

Rampant Red Devils Exciting Eagles

The third of Sunday's games saw a cross league meeting at the AJ Bell Stadium as Salford Red Devils hosted Sheffield Eagles with both sides in still the hunt to reach next season's Super League.

A rapid start from the hosts saw Weller Hauraki open the scoring inside four minutes with Michael Dobson converting for 6-0 but the Eagles were soon on level terms as Cory Aston crossed in the eighth minute with Pat Walker converting for 6-6. Sheffield took the lead as Menzie Yere scored a solo try which Walker converted for 12-6 before Quentin Laulu-Togagae (Walker conv) made it 18-6.

Salford responded well as Harrison Hansen crossed with Dobson converting for 18-12 but the Eagles went in next as Rob Worrincy scored in the corner with Walker converting well for 24-12. A brace from Josh Griffin and efforts from Liam Hood and Lama Tasi put the hosts in control at the interval as they led 34-24.

Sheffield cut the gap as Duane Straughier crossed for 34-28 but Niall Evalds pushed the hosts to 40 points as Dobson converted for 40-28 but Sheffield kept in the hunt as Scott Turner (Walker conv) crossed to make it 40-34. Salford were wary of being pegged back further so Dobson kicked a drop goal for 41-34 but it proved not to matter as Iain Thornley and George Griffin scored late tries which Dobson converted to complete a 53-34 victory.

Super 8s - Super League Round Five Review

As the season's end edges ever closer, round five of the Super 8s saw the potential for a clear split between the top four and bottom four thereby leaving just the order of the play-off semi finalists to be decided.

Tigers Suffer Saints Defeat

The round opened on Thursday night at the Mend-A Hose Jungle as top four battlers Castleford Tigers and St Helens faced off with the hosts needing a win to stay in the fight while a win for the visitors would complete the top four.

A stunning start saw St Helens race into a 18-0 lead inside 15 minutes as Adam Swift claimed a brace ahead of a Mark Percival try with Luke Walsh converting the trio. The Tigers battled back and were level just before the interval as Luke Dorn ran in a brace before Ben Roberts touched down with Luke Gale converting all three for 18-18 at the break. 

Castleford's comeback was completed just six minutes after the restart as Roberts claimed his second try (Gale conv for a 24-18 lead) but Percival also was on hand to claim his second just seven minutes later with Walsh converting to level at 24-24. Gale regained the lead for the hosts with a penalty for 26-24 but it was in vain as Adam Quinlan and Tommy Makinson ran in efforts in a two minute period with Walsh converting both for a 36-26 turnaround.

Denny Solomona (Gale conv) cut the gap to 36-32 before Swift completed his hat-trick (Walsh conv) for 42-32 but the win was still up for grabs in the final minutes as Junior Moors crossed for the hosts with Gale converting for 42-38 but the visitors held on for the win. 

Wasteful Warriors Edge Out Fabulous FC

Friday nights action came from the DW Stadium as Wigan Warriors chased top spot by hosting a injury ravaged Hull FC who were only able to name an 18-man squad as they looked to avoid bottom spot in the 8s. 

Despite the visitors fielding seven Academy players against a strong Wigan side, it was one of the Warriors' Academy products who score the opening try as Oliver Gildart made it three tries in three games on 11 minutes with Ryan Hampshire converting for 6-0. Josh Charnley and John Bateman crossed wither side of the half-hour mark with Hampshire improving both for a strong 18-0 lead.

However, FC responded superbly with the interval on the horizon as Jamie Shaul raced over for a try before Jack Logan crossed just two minutes before the break and with Marc Sneyd converting both to cut the gap to 18-12 into half-time. A tight first 20 minutes after the restart saw the gap continue at just six points but just after the hour mark, Wigan reached 20 points as Ben Flower crossed for a try with Hampshire converting before adding a penalty four minutes later for a 26-12 lead.

Alike the first half, Hull came good in the final ten minutes of the half with a two minute burst from Jordan Rankin and a second effort from Logan allowing Sneyd to convert both to make it a two point game with eight minutes remaining. A slim loss would feel like a victory to the depleted FC but the gap widened in the final minute as Joe Burgess sealed the win and Hampshire converted for a 30-24 final score. 

Classy Catalans Crush Lacklustre Leeds

Saturday's action came from the Stade Gilbert Brutus as Catalans Dragons hosted league leaders Leeds Rhinos with the visitors hoping to regain their two point gap over Wigan at the top while the Dragons looked to avoid finishing bottom of the 8s.

The Dragons struck first after a superb run from Scott Dureau saw Thomas Bosc cross on 15 minutes and convert his own effort for 6-0 before Krisnan Inu and Todd Carney added tries which Dureau converted for 18-0 at the interval. The Rhinos seemed powerless against the strong Dragons attack and it was proved further as Bosc and Inu claimed their braces before the hour mark with Dureau's single conversion making it 28-0.

Jordan Sigismeau punished the visitors further on the hour with Dureau kicking for 34-0 and it was surely a case of how many they Dragons would score with the win looking safe but Leeds did avoid a potential nilling as Ryan Hall crossed on 63 minutes for 34-4. Jeff Lime (Dureau conv) pushed the hosts to 40 points at 40-4 before Danny McGuire scored for Leeds with a first conversion from Kevin Sinfield making it 40-10. 

However the final five minutes saw the scoreline change further with Elliot Whitehead sealing a farewell try which Jeff Lima converted for 46-10 before Joel Moon had the last say for the Rhinos with Sinfield converting in the final seconds for a 46-16 final score. 

Huddersfield Humble Woeful Warrington

The round came to an end on Sunday afternoon at the John Smith's Stadium as Huddersfield Giants looked to close up on the top two as they hosted Warrington Wolves who looked to end a woeful run of form in the 8s. 

As expected, the Giants started the better with Aaron Murphy opening the scoring inside 10 minutes with Danny Brough converting for 6-0. Huddersfield stormed ahead as the in-form Jermaine McGillvary furthered his quest to become top try scorer with a seven minute brace (Brough convs) which sent the sides into the interval at 18-0. 

The Wolves clearly had failed to learn from the first half as it took just three minutes for McGillvary to complete his hat-trick for 22-0 ahead of an effort from Joe Wardle just two minutes later as the Giants moved to 26-0. After suffering a 28-0 defeat to Wigan in an earlier round, the Wolves needed to strike next to prevent a repeat and they did just that as Ben Westwood crossed ahead of an effort from Roy Asotasi with Chris Sandow converting only the latter for 26-10.

However, the Giants were unfazed as they raced past 40 points as Murphy completed his hat-trick with two efforts in as many minutes before McGillvary scored his fourth with Jamie Ellis converting twice for 42-10 before sealing a self converted try to complete a comfortable 48-10 triumph.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Super 8s-The Qualifiers Round Four Review

After a mixed first three rounds for the eight sides in Super 8s- The Qualifiers, the four Super League sides occupied the top four spots in the table but with three playing away in round four, the Championship sides eyed the chance to stage a shock.

Halifax Humbled By Super Salford

The round opened at The Shay on Saturday as Halifax hosted Salford Red Devils with 'Fax eyeing a first win of the 8s while Salford looked to bounce back from their humbling at Bradford.

A superb start for Salford saw Niall Evalds seal a two minute brace in the ninth and 11th minutes with Josh Griffin's conversions opening up a 12-0 lead. Halifax replied just six minutes later as Dane Manning touched down with Steve Tyrer improving the score for 12-6. Greg Johnson raced over on 34 minutes for Salford with Griffin kicking for 18-6 before Ben Jones-Bishop pushed the lead to 22-6 just before the interval.

Scott Murrell reduced the gap for the hosts within six minutes of the restart with Tyrer converting for 22-12 ahead of a hat-trick try from Evalds which Griffin improved for 28-12. Despite losing all three 8s games, Halifax have showed promise and continued that effect with three tries in two minutes from James Saltonstall and Jacob Fairbank with a single conversion from Tyrer narrowing the game at 28-22.

However, Salford raced clear at 50-22 as Jones Bishop and Johnson claimed their second and third tries in succession with Michael Dobson converting Jones-Bishop's double and Griffin only able to improve one of Johnson's. Despite a crushing defeat, Halifax completed the scoring as Adam Tangata crossed on 75 minutes and Tyrer converted for a 50-28 final score that continued their good scoring form in the competition. 

Rovers Return Dents Wishful Wildcats

Sunday's all Super League meeting saw Challenge Cup runners-up Hull Kingston Rovers return to league duties by hosting Wakefield Wildcats as the KC Lightstream Stadium. The Robins looked to bounce back from Wembley horror show while the Wildcats harboured hopes of edging towards survival.

The Wildcats started the better of the two sides as they opened up a 12-0 lead inside 22 minutes with a brace from Kevin Locke coming either side of a try from Lee Smith who was unable to convert any of the trio. The Robins responded with two scores in six minutes as Josh Mantelleto raced 80 metres to score before Kieran Dixon crossed with the latter converting just once for 12-10.

Dixon claimed his second try on 66 minutes to give the Robins their first lead at 14-12 before the win and a potentially vital two points were secured by a 71st minute try from Shaun Lunt which was improved by Josh Mantellato for a 20-12 final score. 

Valiant Vikings Vanquish Bulls 

The second cross-league meeting of the afternoon saw Bradford Bulls host Widnes Vikings at the Provident Stadium with the Bulls looking for back-to back SL scalps while the Vikings looked to bounce back from losing to Hull KR.

A tight first 15 minutes saw the sides remain level before a surprise opening try from Adrian Purtell saw Danny Addy convert for a 6-0 lead which was rapidly cancelled out as Joe Mellor scored a brace either side of a Patrick Ah Van try with Lloyd White adding a conversion to open up a 14-6 lead.

Omari Caro ensured Bradford would go into the interval with a score as he crossed in the final seconds and with Addy converting, the score was 14-12 at the break. However, Widnes raced into a 26-12 lead with tries from Charly Runciman and a third from Mellor within ten minutes of the restart with Danny Tickle converting just the latter before adding a penalty on 56 minutes.

Hep Cahill extended the lead just after the hour mark before a second try from Ah Van and scores from Rhys Hanbury and Kevin Brown saw Tickle convert all four to make it 50-12 with eight minute remaining. Bradford's miserable second half saw them leak another try in the final three minutes as Ah Van secured a hat-trick against his former side with Tickle confirming a 56-12 triumph. 

Centurions Crush Eagles

The only all-Championship clash came from Leigh Sports Village as Leigh Centurions hosted Sheffield Eagles with the Centurions hoping to open their 8s account and the Eagles looking for a second victory in a row.

The hosts struck first as Mick Higham crossed for the opening try on 12 minutes which Martyn Ridyard converted for 6-0 but the Eagles were level on 24 minutes as James Davey crossed and Pat Walker converted for 6-6. 

However, Leigh took control with three tries in five minutes as Andrew Dixon scored ahead of a Ryan Brierley brace with all three converted by Ridyard for 24-6. 

Scott Turner cut the gap just before the interval to make it 24-10 into the half-time break but with Liam Kay setting up a 20 point lead at 30-10 just seven minutes after the restart,Sheffield's task was a big one. FuiFui MoiMoi extended the lead on 57 minutes with Ridyard's conversion making it 36-10 before Sam Smeaton (Walker conv) reduced the gap back to 20 at 36-16.

Brierley completed his hat-trick on 63 minutes ahead of efforts from Tommy Goulden and Greg McNally with Ridyard converting twice from three attempts to confirm a 52-16 triumph.

Super 8s - Super League Round Four Review

As the end of the season draws ever near, the Super 8s stage crossed the halfway point with round four which featured an historic first as Wigan took their home game on the road to London.

Giants Glory As Tigers Tumble

The round opened on Thursday night at the John Smith's Stadium as Huddersfield Giants hosted fellow top four hopefuls Castleford Tigers with both keen to put pressure on St Helens in the race for the play-offs.

A great start for the Tigers saw them open up a 10-0 lead inside 15 minutes with a self-converted effort from Luke Gale on 11 minutes followed by a try from Ash Gibson. Huddersfield responded superbly with four tries in the space of eight minutes as Ukuma Ta'ai and Jake Connor crossed either side of a brace from Jermaine McGillvary. 

However, just the first and last efforts were converted by Danny Brough for a 20-10 lead.Aaron Murphy extended the Giants' lead further just before the interval for a 24-10 half-time advantage but the Tigers were quick to cut the gap as Luke Dorn crossed just three minutes after the restart with Gale converting for 24-16.

Ben Roberts narrowed the score further just after the hour mark as he crossed for 24-20 but three tries in ten minutes from Joe Wardle, Jamie Ellis (Ellis conv) and Eorl Crabtree pushed the Giants lead to 20 at 40-20. Despite the result being settled, Denny Solomona gave the Tigers some joy in the final seconds with a stunning full length effort which Gale converted for a 40-26 final score.

Super Saints Stun Leaders Leeds

After a stroll to Challenge Cup success, Leeds Rhinos returned to league duties on Friday night with a hosting of St Helens at Headingley with the Saints looking to avoid a fourth defeat against their rivals this season while boosting their play-off hopes.

A superb start for the visitors saw Tommy Makinson score a third minute opener which Luke Walsh converted for 6-0. Leeds drew level on 18 minutes as Jimmy Keinhorst crossed and Kevin Sinfield converted for 6-6. St Helens regained the lead within three minute through Josh Jones with Walsh converting before adding a penalty on 31 minutes for 14-6. Mitch Achurch ensured a close score into the interval with a last-gasp try which Sinfield improved for 14-12 into the break. 

However, Walsh crossed for a self-converted try just six minutes after the restart to push the lead to 20-12 before a try just before the hour mark from Adam Quinlan which Walsh converted saw the Saints lead by 14 at 26-12. Leeds remained in the hunt with a try from Ryan Hall (Sinfield conv) with ten minutes remaining but the win, the Saints first of the 8s was sealed on 78 minutes as Jon Wilkin crossed with Walsh kicking for a 32-16 final score. 

Wandering Warriors Devastate Dragons

Saturday afternoon saw Catalans Dragons make a shorter away trip than usual as they visited London, Wigan Warriors played hosted at Milwall's The Den in a unique 'On the Road' experiment with a focus on boosting support and business in the capital.

A mixed start for both sides in new settings saw Ben Flower open the scoring for the Warriors with Matt Bowen converting for 6-0 on 15 minutes. Krisnan Inu replied for the Dragons within four minutes with Scott Dureau levelling with the boot for 6-6. A superb effort from Bowen which he then converted saw Wigan lead 12-6 on 24 minutes, a lead which remained into the half-time interval. 

However, Catalans took just two minutes to draw level again as a clever move from Dureau saw him cross the try line before converting with ease for 12-12. Wigan opened up a two score lead before the hour as Bowen claimed his second try before a second try in as many games from Oliver Gildart saw Bowen convert both for 24-12.

Jordan Sigismeau cut the gap to 24-16 before two tries in four minutes from Josh Charnley and Larne Patrick (Bowen convs) saw Wigan in control at 30-16 and their joy was extended as Dom Manfredi confirmed sweet revenge for the humiliating reverse meeting in May with a try which brought up 40 points. Bowen completed a man of the match performance with a seventh successful conversion for a 22 point haul in a comfortable 42-16 triumph. 

Wolves Win Halts Hull

Sunday's action came from the Halliwell Jones Stadium as Warrington Wolves hosted Hull FC with the Wolves looking for their first win of the 8s in a clash between two sides now unable to reach the play-offs. 

A quick start from the Wolves saw Kevin Penny strike inside six minutes with his effort converted by Chris Sandow for 6-0 before a try from Dean Hadley was converted by Marc Sneyd to level at 6-6 on 13 minutes. However, Warrington raced clear at 22-6 after three scores in four minutes as Gary Wheeler and Ben Currie scored ahead of a second for Penny with Sandow converting just the first two efforts.

The hosts maintained their advantage into the interval and extended it further with a hat-trick try for Penny on 49 minutes ahead of an effort from Ryan Atkins and a second from Wheeler before the hour with two Sandow conversions pushing the score to 38-6. Joel Monaghan crossed to bring up 40 points at 42-6 before a two minute brace from Mark Minichello (Sneyd conv) gave FC some joy at 42-16 but they were to slip to a 40 point deficit as Monaghan claimed his second try for a 46-16 final score.

Friday, 4 September 2015

Young Warriors Late Show Stuns Tigers

After an unfortunate cancellation last month, the rearranged U19s Academy tie between Wigan and Castleford took place on a rainy Wednesday evening at Orrell. The Warriors looked to end their home campaign with a perfect record after having secured top spot ahead of the play-offs.

Wigan named a weakened side with some of the stars rested ahead of the trip to Leeds while Oliver Gildart remains in the first team picture. Castleford started the better of the sides with the opening try on seven minutes which was converted for 6-0.

Both sides seemed to cancel each other out for the rest of the first half with defence being the victor over attack as the score into the interval remained at 6-0. Wigan fought back with a 49th minute effort from Liam Paisley but Jake Shorrocks was unable to convert at 6-4. However, Wigan suffered a blow as Jake Shorrocks was stretchered off just before the hour but were soon ahead through Paddy Jones' effort and Jack Higginson's conversion for 10-6.

Castleford battled back with a trio of tries and two conversions (players unknown due a failure to announce their lineup) to turn the game around at 20-10. Due to the Shorrocks injury, the remaining time in the game was hard to confirm but Wigan ensured it didn't matter as they ran in a duo of tries to secure a comeback and maintain their 100% home record. Liam Forsyth crossed ahead of Max Dudley with Higginson converting superbly to seal a 22-20 triumph.