Sunday, 9 October 2016

Super League Grand Final Review

After a season that will live long in the memories for its excitement and unpredictability, last night saw a fitting finale as Warrington Wolves met Wigan Warriors in the Super League Grand Final. I covered the event as part of my Stadium Travels - Old Trafford.

Wigan Warriors are 2016 Super League Champions after a hard fought 12-6 over Warrington Wolves at Old Trafford ensuring all three trophies were won by different teams this season.

A tight opening few minutes saw a breakthrough come on nine minutes with Wigan awarded a penalty which Matty Smith converted for a 0-2 lead.  Warrington fought back with a self-converted try from Declan Patton to take a 6-2 lead on 21 minutes. The defence of both sides was prominent for the remainder of the first half as they went into the interval separated by just four points.

The Wolves were denied a try from Ryan Atkins after a referral confirmed he had knocked-on over the line and it was a warning that Wigan heeded as they levelled on 56 minutes after a superb move from Liam Farrell found Oliver Gildart who crossed for 6-6. Wigan looked to be on top and proved that as they retook the lead on 64 minutes after a kick through from Dan Sarginson saw Josh Charnley collect to touch down in the corner for 6-10.

As the game entered the final ten minutes, the winner was far from certain but Wigan boosted their hopes with a second penalty goal of the evening from Smith on 75 minutes for 6-12. Warrington battled to cut the gap but superb defence from Wigan kept them out and as the final hooter sounded, the Warriors celebrated their first title since 2013.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Super League Play Offs/Million Pound Game Review

The penultimate weekend of the 2016 domestic season saw just three main games with the two Super League play-offs on Thursday and Friday night determining who will contest the Grand Final. Also, the Million Pound Game on Saturday which would decide who survived and who was to be relegated from the top flight.

Wolves Win As Saints Suffer

Thursday's opening semi final saw Warrington Wolves seal a controversial 18-10 win over St Helens at the Halliwell Jones Stadium. 

A tight first quarter between two strong defences saw the first breakthrough come on 20 minutes as Declan Patton kicked a penalty goal for 2-0 but Saints hit back with a Luke Walsh penalty goal within six minutes to level at 2-2. 

Warrington regained the lead on the half hour mark with a Kurt Gidley try but yet again, Saints hit back and in style as a clever move resulted in Jonny Lomax crossing and with Walsh converting they were level at 8-8 before a last-gasp penalty from Walsh send the Saints into the interval leading 8-10. 

Warrington moved back in front with 11 minutes of  the second half gone as Stefan Ratchford crossed and Patton converted for 14-10 and they were in again on 64 minutes through Tom Lineham for 18-10. However, the replay of the score showed that the try should have been chalked off which was even more surprising given no referral from the official. Saints looked to have set up a tight finish when Peyroux crossed in the final minutes but after an extensive video referral, the try was denied despite clear proof on the reply leaving the Saints feeling robbed as Warrington held on to reach the Grand Final. 

Warriors' Late Show Stuns FC

Wigan Warriors stunned Hull FC to clinch a place in the Grand Final for the fourth consecutive season after a 28-18 win at the DW Stadium.

Wigan started the better of the two sides as they raced into an 8-0 lead as Lewis Tierney crossed twice inside 14 minutes. The sides were evenly matched for the rest of the first half until the final seconds when a fortuitous bounce from a last tackle kick from Matty Smith saw John Bateman race over for a try which Smith converted for a 14-0 lead at the interval.

FC hit back with tries from Josh Bowden and Liam Watts with Marc Sneyd converting both for 14-12 before Smith added a penalty for 16-12. The game took a strange turn though on 62 minutes with a potential knock-on for FC over the Wigan line resulting in a dash down field from Oliver Gildart who crossed for a try. However, the score went to a referral and the replay focused on the Hull effort which saw Steve Michaels awarded a try which levelled the game with Sneyd kicking FC ahead at 16-18.

As the game entered the final ten minutes, Wigan began to pressure the FC line heavily and they broke through superbly as Sam Powell crossed to regain the lead at 22-18. The Warriors have a habit of scoring late on in big games and this was no different as Anthony Gelling raced over to the joy of the home crowd to seal the win. Smith converted for 28-18 as Wigan celebrated the continuation of the Grand Final streak to a fourth season in a row. 

Robins Relegated As Salford Survive 

After two cracking semi-finals, no one predicted that Saturday's Million Pound Game would top them both but after going to Golden Point, Salford Red Devils secured a 19-18 win over Hull Kingston Rovers.
The Robins started the better of the two sides with early tries from Adam Walker and Josh Mantellato coupled with a conversion from the latter opened up a 10-0 advantage. The Red Devils replied with efforts from Ben Murdoch-Masila and Niall Evalds with a single conversion from Gareth O'Brien levelling the game at 10-10. The hosts went into the interval 12-10 ahead after a late penalty from Mantellato. 

Thomas Minns crossed just before the hour mark to put the Robins 18-10 ahead, a lead that looked to be enough to secure Super League survival as the clock ticked down into the final three minutes. However, Salford had other ideas as Evalds crossed for his second for 18-14 before a truly last-gasp effort from Greg Johnson came with just three seconds left of the 80 minutes to level at 18-18. 

Gareth O'Brien had the chance to win the game with the resulting conversion but he missed from a tight angle meaning the game would be decided by Golden Point. Less than a minute into the extra time period, O'Brien attempted a drop goal from just inside the Robins' half and it sailed between the sticks to seal a stunning 19-18 win that kept Salford in Super League and condemned Hull KR to next season's Championship.

Friday, 30 September 2016

The Qualifiers Round Seven Review

Giants Edge Robins To Secure Safety

Huddersfield Giants retained their Super League status for 2017 with a hard fought 23-22 win over Hull Kingston Rovers at the KC Lightstream Stadium.

The Robins will face either Salford Red Devils or London Broncos in next Saturday's 'Million Pound Game' and they started poorly as Ryan Brierley raced over to open the scoring for the Giants after just five minutes with Danny Brough converting for 0-6. KR hit back with a clever effort from Maurice Blair for 4-6 before three tries in 11 minutes from the Giants saw Leroy Cudjoe and Aaron Murphy cross either side of a second for Brierley with Brough converting twice for a huge 4-22 lead at the interval.

The hosts set the foundations for a comeback as Ken Sio and a video referred try from Mitch Allgood were both converted by Josh Mantellato to cut the gap to just ix points at 16-22 with just 13 minutes gone in the second half. Another video referred try saw Iain Thornley cut the gap further with Mantellato levelling the game at 22-22 on the hour mark.

Both sides pushed to regain the lead and as the final ten minutes drew in, thoughts turned to a one-pointer for the Giants with a draw being enough for the Robins to be safe but not the Giants and they took the lead with 73 minutes on the clock with Brough sweeping over a drop goal for 22-23.

KR came achingly close to levelling as Terry Campese clipped the post with a drop goal attempt from distance late on but they were unable to mount another chance as the Giants held on for the win and secured a place in next season's Super League.

Super 8s Round Seven Review

FC's Treble Hopes End As Wolves Seal LLS

Warrington Wolves sealed top spot and the League Leaders Shield with a 23-6 win over Hull FC at the KCOM Stadium to end the Black and Whites treble hopes.

A rapid start from the visiting Wolves saw former FC winger Tom Lineham cross for the opening try inside the fifth minute for a 0-4 lead which was doubled just eight minutes later as Kevin Penny went over for 0-8.

After tough angles for the missed conversions, Declan Patton got off the mark with the boot with a penalty goal in the 15th minute for a 0-10 advantage. The remainder of the first half proved to be a close one with both sides strong in defence and attack as the score remained at 10-0 into the interval.

Hull took just three minutes of the second half to make their mark on the scoreboard as Carlos Tuimavave crossed for a try which Marc Sneyd converted to cut the gap to 6-10. Warrington boosted their advantage with two further penalty goals from Patton either side of the hour mark for 6-14 as FC's hopes of top spot continued to fall away.

Patton made it three goals in 15 minutes as he swept over his fourth of the evening to give the Wolves a ten point advantage with just eight minutes left of the 80. The win was confirmed with 75 minutes on the clock as Lineham haunted his former club for a second time for 6-22 and the gloss on the performance from Patton saw him kick a late drop goal as Warrington sealed top spot and claimed the League Leaders Shield for the first time since 2011.

Warriors Secure Second Against Dragons

Wigan Warriors secured second spot and a home semi final with a 48-24 win at home to Catalans Dragons.

The Warriors flew out of the blocks with Anthony Gelling crossing for the opening try inside three minutes with Matty Smith converting for a 6-0 lead. George Williams raced over twice in the space of eight minutes to sandwich an effort from John Bateman with Smith converting the lot for 24-0.

Wigan reached 30 points inside half an hour as Joe Bretherton crossed for his first senior try before Josh Charnley dashed over after a stunning run with Smith making it six from six with the boot for 36-0. Catalans avoided a first half nilling with a last-gasp effort as Vincent Duport crossed for 36-4 into the interval.

A self converted try from Smith within four minutes of the restart pushed the hosts into a 42-4 advantage which was soon cut by Justin Horo's effort for 42-8. Smith claimed his second try and converted it just before the hour mark for a 40 point gap at 48-8 but Catalans continued their fight back with a scores from Lucas Albert and Richie Myler with Myler converting his own effort for 48-18.

Wigan were opened up again late on as Jordan Sigismeau went over and with Myler converting, the Dragons ended the game having won the second half but failing to wrap up fifth spot. 

McDonnell Trebles As Saints Sink Trinity

St Helens prepared for next week's play off semi final with a 32-12 win against Wakefield Trinity who ended the Super 8s without a win.

A tight first quarter from both sides saw the hosts break the deadlock as Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook crossed for the opening try with Luke Walsh converting for 6-0. Wakefield hit back within six minutes as Toronto bound Craig Hall crossed for 6-4. Jack Owens ensured that Saints would lead into half-time with a late effort before Liam Finn kicked a last-gasp penalty goal for 12-6 at the interval.

Shannon McDonnell crossed to extend the hosts lead on 51 minutes with Walsh converting for 18-6 but Wakefield cut the gap just seven minutes later with a try from Young Player of the Year nominee Tom Johnstone which Finn converted for 18-12.

However, the win was sealed for the hosts with two further tries from McDonnell as he completed his hat-trick ten minutes from the end for 26-12. Saints reached the 30 point mark in the final stages as Theo Fages crossed and Walsh converted for a fourth time.

Solomona Trebles As Tigers Defeat Vikings

Castleford ended their season on a high as they sealed fifth spot with a 40-26 win over Widnes Vikings.

The Vikings opened the scoring through Wigan loanee Connor Farrell with Lloyd White converting for 0-6 before Luke Dorn crossed for a try in his farewell appearance for the Tigers for 4-6. A brace from Denny Solomona saw the hosts lead 16-6 into the break.

Corey Thompson and Ben Crooks crossed for either side for 22-10 before Solomona completed his hat-trick less than nine minutes of the restart for 28-10. Castleford looked to have wrapped up the win with further efforts from Matt Cook and Paul McShane as they reached 40 points but Widnes had other ideas as Patrick Ah Van crossed ahead of second tries for Farrell and Thompson as they ended the game with the final say.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

The Qualifiers Round Six Review

Salford Stunned By Brilliant Broncos

London Broncos kept up their hopes of reaching the Million Pound Game with a superb 19-16 win against a Salford Red Devils who are still in danger of losing their Super League status. 

London opened the scoring with a clever run of play seeing William Barthau race clear to score for 0-4. George Griffin crossed to draw the hosts level with Gareth O'Brien converting for a 6-4 lead. However, the Broncos went into the interval ahead as Scott Leatherbarrow crossed with two minutes left of the half with Jamie Soward converting for 6-10 at the break.

Soward extended the Broncos lead with a self-converted try just before the hour mark before kicking a penalty goal to open up an 6-18 advantage. The lead soon became 6-19 with a Barthau drop goal leaving Salford in trouble with ten minutes to go. The Red Devils rallied for a late comeback with Josh Griffin running in two tries in as many minutes with O'Brien converting just one of the two attempts as London held on for a famous victory. 

Centurions Cruise Against Battling Bulldogs

Leigh Centurions celebrated their promotion to Super League with a comfortable 42-24 win at home to Batley Bulldogs. 

The Bulldogs took a surprise lead through Dave Scott after just nine minutes with Pat Walker converting for 0-6. Leigh replied with efforts from Fui Fui Moimoi and Adam Higson with Lee Smith converting both for a 6-12 lead. Alistair Leak crossed as the visitors levelled at 12-12 before tries from Cory Paterson and Lewis Foster saw Smith convert for a 24-12 lead at the interval. 

The hosts took control with an effort from Travis Burns within six minutes of the restart before stretching the lead just after the hour mark as Willie Tonga crossed for 36-12. Keegan Hirst stemmed the Leigh charge with a try nine minutes from the end while Dayne Weston went over to put the hosts past the 40 point mark at 42-18. The final say on the scoreline went to the visitors as Wayne Reittie touched down in the final minute with Walker converting for a fourth time. 

Robins Win Battle of the Rovers

Hull Kingston Rovers held on to deny a rallying Featherstone Rovers comeback to edge closer to retaining their Super League status with a 32-24 win. 

The hosts took a surprise leas on nine minutes through Josh Walters with Kyle Briggs converting for 6-0 before a try from Josh Mantellato cut the gap to 6-4. James Duckworth crossed to restore Fev's lead with Briggs converting before adding a penalty goal for 12-4. The Robins went into the interval ahead through as Shaun Lunt touched down ahead of a last-gasp effort from Mantellato who converted both for 12-16. 

A rapid brace from Thomas Minns saw the Robins move to a 12-26 lead with James Greenwood crossing just after the hour mark to bring up the 30 point mark. Featherstone's comeback was spearheaded by Misi Taulapapa as he scored a six minute brace to cut the gap to eight points with 12 minutes to go. However, the Robins managed to stem the fight back and hold on for the win. 

Giants Glory As Leeds Lose

Huddersfield Giants boosted their hopes of avoiding the Million Pound Game with a 22-14 over neighbours Leeds Rhinos. 

The Giants led 6-0 early on after a Leroy Cudjoe opening try and penalty goal from Danny Brough with Brough later adding a second penalty for 8-0 on the half hour mark. Leeds went into the break 14-0 down as Ryan Brierley crossed for a 35th minute try which Brough improved. 

Leeds needed a huge fightback to maintain their perfect record in the series but a self-converted effort from Brough just eight minutes after the restart left the Rhinos with a 20-0 deficit to overturn. They began to cut the gap through Adam Cuthbertson just before the hour mark with Liam Sutcliffe converting for 20-6. 

Tom Briscoe crossed just two minutes later to cut the gap to 20-10 but another Brough penalty gave the Giants a two score lead at 22-10. Leeds hit back with five minutes to go through Ash Handley but were unable to post further scores as the Giants ended their 100% record.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Super 8s Round Six Review

FC's Fonua Denies Battling Trinity

Hull FC kept up their hopes of claiming top spot as they overcame a battling Wakefield side with a 18-12 win at Belle Vue.

A mixed start from both sides in the first ten minutes before Fetuli Talanoa was sent to the sin-bin for a professional foul on Tom Johnstone. Wakefield made them pay within two minutes as Craig Hall's kick out wide found Joe Arundel who crossed for the opening try of the evening and Liam Finn converted for 6-0.

Just before the half hour mark, FC had an effort from Jamie Shaul denied by the video ref after superb defence from Craig Hall denied him. Finn extended the lead to 8-0 with a penalty goal on 33 minutes but Hull hit back four minutes before half-time through former Wakefield forward Danny Washbrook with Marc Sneyd converting for 8-6 into the interval.

A mixed start to the second half from both sides saw the hosts go close before Jordan Thompson put the visitors ahead on 53 minutes with Sneyd converting for 8-12. Wakefield were denied a try for a controversial offside from Liam Finn but a superb diving effort from Johnstone levelled for 12-12 on 63 minutes after video confirmation but Finn was unable to convert.

FC went ahead with nine minutes left to go as Mahe Fonua touched down out wide with Sneyd converting for 12-18. Wakefield had a great chance late on with a superb overlap but a poor pass saw the move wasted and FC had a chance of their own to increase the lead on the hooter but Sneyd was unable to convert.

Wire Face LLS Wait As Wigan Wonder

A stunning comeback from 12 man Wigan Warriors secured a 35-28 win against Warrington Wolves who face a wait to claim the League Leaders Shield. 

The game saw a superb start as Wigan took a surprise lead as Lewis Tierney crossed out wide for 0-4 before Matty Smith added two penalty goals in the remainder of the first quarter for an 0-8 lead. Warrington hit back with tries from Matty Russell, Kurt Gidley and Chris Hill to turn the game around just before the interval with Declan Patton converting twice for a 16-8 advantage. Wigan went into half-time just two points behind at 16-14 after a last-gasp effort from Sam Tomkins which Smith converted.

Joe Westerman crossed within five minutes of the restart with Patton kicking to restore the Wolves' eight point lead before Ben Currie went over five minutes later for a huge 28-14 advantage. Wigan's hopes of a comeback were dealt a blow just before the hour mark with the dismissal of Ben Flower but rather than hinder the Warriors, the loss of the forward inspired them. Two tries in four minutes from Josh Charnley saw the 12 men close 28-24 before a controversial second effort from Tierney was awarded via referral to level at 28-28. 

Warrington fell behind with four minutes left on the clock as Smith kicked Wigan 28-29 ahead with a drop goal and the gloss on a stunning comeback from Wigan saw Anthony Gelling intercept a Wolves attack on halfway to race clear and score with Jake Shorrocks converting to confirm a famous victory. 

Tigers Hold On To Deny Dragons

Castleford Tigers kept up their hopes of finishing fifth as they survived a superb fightback from Catalans Dragons to claim a 34-28 win.

Although neither side could reach the top four, there was certainly no lack of intensity early on with battling sets in attack and defence. The Tigers opened the scoring with a clever move as Ryan Hampshire swept the ball out to the wing for Paddy Flynn to race over, Luke Gale converting for a 0-6 lead. Catalans hit back within four minutes as Olivier Elima crossed with Tony Gigot levelling at 6-6.

Castleford tricked the hosts from the restart by claiming the kick and went on to score through Denny Solomona whose effort saw him draw level with the legendary Lesley Vainikolo's record of 36 tries in a regular season.

Gale improved the score for 6-12 before a piece of history as Solomona claimed his second try and in doing so became the highest scorer in a regular season with 37 tries, again Gale kicked the extras for a 6-18 lead inside 23 minutes. Ben Crooks extended the lead with eight minutes left of the first half before a battling effort from Glenn Stewart on 36 minutes sent the sides into the interval at 10-24.

The Tigers charge resumed within three minutes of the restart as Crooks claimed his second try of the afternoon with Gale converting to bring up the 30 point mark at 10-30 before Flynn got in on the act of braces with his second score with Gale unable to convert for the first time at 10-34.

Catalans went down to 12 on the hour mark with the sin-binning of Ben Garcia but managed to cut the gap after a superb dash from Vincent Duport saw him denied just before the line but on the next play, Eloi Pelissier crossed, Gigot converted for 16-34. The Dragons comeback continued just over a minute later as Louis Anderson cut the gap further, Gigot kicking them to 22-34.

A frantic finish for the hosts as after a video referral, Richie Myler was awarded a superb try which Gigot improved for 28-34 with just four minutes to go. Gale attempted two drop goals in the final three minutes to try and confirm the win as the Dragons rallied but they were not needed as the Tigers held on for the two points. 

Two Off As Saints Defeat Vikings

St Helens kept up their hopes of a top three finish with a 21-8 win away to Widnes Vikings who saw two late dismissals.

A stunning start from the visitors saw them race into an 0-8 lead as Adam Swift crossed twice inside the opening nine minutes with Luke Walsh adding a conversion to the opening try before extending the lead on 14 minutes with a penalty goal. Widnes hit back just before the interval as Patrick Ah Van went over for 4-10.

The visitors regained their double figure advantage with 12 minutes gone in the second half as Matty Fleming crossed for 4-16. Corey Thompson cut the gap for the hosts with eight minutes to go and the try seemed to make Saints wary as four minutes later, Walsh swept over a drop goal to confirm the win.

However, the action didn't end there as a scuffle on 78 minutes saw three cards from the referee with  Kevin Brown and Patrick Ah Van sent off for the Vikings while Joe Greenwood was sin-binned for Saints who utilised the short man advantage to sent Atelea Vea over for a score. 

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

The Qualifiers Round Five Review

Rhinos Rout Battling Bulldogs

Leeds Rhinos retained their Super League Status with a comfortable 32-0 win against Batley Bulldogs at Headingley. 

The Bulldogs did well to the Rhinos out in the first quarter or so until Tom Briscoe opened the scoring on 17 minutes with Jordan Lilley converting for 6-0. However, a brace from Kallum Watkins coupled with a single conversion from Lilley gave the Rhinos a 16-0 lead into the interval leaving the Bulldogs hopes still alive. 

As the hour approached, Ryan Hall crossed for the hosts before claiming his second just eight minutes later to surely wrap up the win as Leeds led 26-0. The gloss on a superb performance from the Rhinos came nine minutes from the end as Rob Burrow crossed with Lilley converting but despite the loss it was a decent performance from the part-time Bulldogs. 

Centurions Promoted As Giants Stutter

Leigh Centurions secured promotion to Super League for 2017 with a superb 48-40 win over Huddersfield Giants at Leigh Sports Village.

The Centurions raced into a surprise 18-0 lead inside 13 minutes after a try in the opening minute from Greg Worthington was followed by a brace from Matty Dawson with Martyn Ridyard converting the lot. Huddersfield fought back with tries from Michael Lawrence and Aaron Murphy with Danny Brough converting for 18-10 but from there, Leigh took full control with Ridyard crossing twice either side of Dawson's hat-trick try and a Cory Paterson effort for a huge 42-10 lead at the interval. 

The hosts' spree continued within nine minutes of the restart through Mitch Brown before the Giants staged a stunning comeback with Jake Connor scoring ahead of braces from Leroy Cudjoe and Jamie Ellis with Brough converting all five efforts to cut the gap to just eight points with three minutes remaining. However, Leigh held on in the final stages to claim a famous win and secure a return to the top flight for the first time in 11 years. 

Broncos Battered By Rallying Robins

Hull Kingston Rovers moved closer to retaining their Super League status with a comfortable 58-18 win at London Broncos.

The Robins raced into a stunning 0-24 lead inside the first quarter as former Broncos forward Thomas Minns crossed twice n the opening six minutes before a Ben Cockayne try and effort from another former Bronco in Kieran Dixon with Josh Mantellato converting the quartet. 

London hit back through Alex Walker and James Cunningham with Jamie Soward converting both efforts to cut the gap to 12-24 ahead of the interval. The Robins started the second half in a similar vain to the first with James Greenwood crossing inside the first minute before a try for Matty Marsh for 12-34. 

London remained in the hunt after Will Barthau's try made it 18-34 but the visitors took control from the hour mark with James Donaldson crossing ahead of a second from Marsh and a debut score from Will Jubb for 18-52. The rout was completed six minutes from the end as Minns completed his hat-trick with Mantellato converting for a ninth time.

Rampant Red Devils Rout Rovers

Salford Red Devils boosted their hopes of remaining in Super League with a 70-16 demolition of Featherstone Rovers.

The Rovers stunned the AJ Bell Stadium as they took the lead inside the first minute through Jordan Baldwinson with Kyle Briggs converting for 0-6 but from there Salford took control as Weller Hauraki, Josh Jones and Daniel Vidot crossed alongside a brace from Junior Sa'u inside first quarter for a huge 26-6 lead.

Jack Ormondroyd quelled the hosts' spree with Briggs converting for 26-12 but it was a minor blip in Salford's charge as Niall Evalds, Ben Murdoch-Masila and Logan Tomkins crossed with Gareth O'Brien converting the lot for a 44-12 advantage at the interval. Featherstone started the second half the better of the two sides with Josh Walters crossing for 44-16 before Olsi Krasniqi resumed the scoring for Salford. 

Second tries of the afternoon from Hauraki and Murdoch-Masila sandwiched a Michael Dobson effort as the Red Devils passed 60 points at 66-16. The final say on the scoreline came eight minutes from the end as Josh Jones scored his second try of the game to bring up the 70 point mark.

Super 8s Round Five Review

Super Saints Crush Cas

St Helens moved up to third after a convincing 40-16 win at home to a Castleford Tigers side who looked to win in the town for the first time since 1992.

The Tigers started superbly with two penalties in the opening minute resulting in a classy show and go from Luke Dorn who crossed for the opening try which Luke Gale converted for 0-6. Saints hit back through Matty Fleming whose effort was awarded after a video referral with Luke Walsh levelling with the boot.

Castleford regained the lead just before the end of the opening quarter as Wigan loanee Ryan Hampshire crossed out wide for 6-10 with Gale narrowly missing the conversion attempt. Saints fought back again but this time they went ahead as Morgan Knowles crossed with Walsh kicking for 12-10 before he improved a Kyle Amor effort for 18-10.

An apparent trip from Rangi Chase on Jonny Lomax saw the Tigers half sent to the sin-bin with Luke Thompson extending the hosts' lead within a minute for 24-10 as the Saints led by 14 at the interval. A mixed start to the second half saw the Tigers denied a try on 54 minutes after Ben Crooks had crossed.

Saints boosted their lead just after the hour mark as Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook crossed with Walsh on target again for a 30-10 advantage into the final quarter. The win and third spot in the table ahead of rivals Wigan for Saints was confirmed seven minutes from the end as Adam Swift crossed out wide for 34-10. Castleford looked to have the final say with Will Maher's first try of the season but a last-gasp try from Alex Walmsley saw Jack Owens kick to bring up the 40 point mark.


Derby Delight For Wolves 

Warrington Wolves continued to close in on the League Leaders Shield with a comfortable 30-12 derby victory over neighbours Widnes Vikings.

Chris Hill crossed from long range to open the scoring after 11 minutes with Kurt Gidley converting for 6-0 before Gidley added a penalty for an 8-0 advantage on 26 minutes. Widnes' strong defensive performance at Wigan last week seemed far away when Ashton Sims and Morgan Smith crossed to give the Wolves a huge 20-0 lead at the interval.

Joe Philbin extended the lead within five minutes of the restart before Joe Mellor got the Vikings off the mark with Corey Thompson converting for 26-6. However, the win was wrapped up 12 minutes from the end as Matty Russell went over for 30-6 but despite the loss, Widnes did have the last say on the score as Thompson scored three minutes from the end with Lloyd White converting.  

Trinity Edged By Dragons 

Catalans Dragons look to have consolidated fifth spot after a narrow 14-10 win away to Wakefield Trinity.

The Dragons started the better of the two sides as they opened the scoring inside four minutes through Jason Baitieri with Tony Gigot converting for 0-6. Wakefield replied rapidly through Max Jowitt for 4-6 but the Dragons went in again through Julian Bousquet to lead 4-12 after the first quarter and their eight point advantage lasted into the interval.

Craig Hall cut the gap within two minutes of the restart with Liam Finn converting for 10-12 but in such a tight game, a Gigot penalty just after the hour mark was enough to confirm the win for the Dragons.

Tautai Try Topples FC

Wigan Warriors kept up their hopes of a top two finish with an 18-12 win over Hull FC at the KCOM Stadium.
The Warriors made the better start of the two sides with George Williams zig-zagging through the FC defence to cross for the opening try for 0-4 before a clever effort from Fetuli Talanoa on the wing saw Marc Sneyd convert for 6-4, Mahe Fonua ghosted over for FC three minutes before the break before a superb long range penalty goal from Sneyd sent the hosts into the interval leading 12-4.

Sam Powell crossed for the Warriors on 65 minutes with Smith cutting the gap to 12-10 before a late show from the Warriors saw Taulima Tautai end a wait of over a year since his last score to touch down with Smith converting for 12-16 to surely seal the win for Wigan. Any doubts for the Warriors were quelled in the final minute when Smith confirmed the two points with a penalty goal.

Sunday, 4 September 2016

The Qualifiers Round Four Review

Rhinos Rout Red Devils

Leeds Rhinos eased to a 30-8 win over fellow Super League side Salford Red Devils at Headingley on Friday night. 

The hosts started superbly with Jamie Jones-Buchanan crossing for the opening try inside five minutes which Liam Sutcliffe converted for 6-0.Salford replied within minutes as George Griffin crossed with Gareth O'Brien levelling with the boot for 6-6. O'Brien added a penalty seven minutes before the interval but the Rhinos led at the interval with a late effort from Kallum Watkins for 10-8.

Jordan Lilley extended the lead with a penalty on 53 minutes before tries from James Segeyaro and Carl Ablett saw Lilley convert for a huge 24-8 lead. The gloss on a superb home win came two minutes from the end as Adam Cuthbertson crossed to complete the rout. 

Giants Gut Battered Broncos

Huddersfield boosted their campaign with a comfortable 40-4 win over London Broncos at the John Smith's Stadium. 

The Broncos took a surprise lead with Rhys Williams crossing in the 18th minute for 0-4 before the Giants replied through Jermaine McGillvary with Danny Brough converting for a 6-4 lead which was 10-4 at the interval after Leroy Cudjoe's effort.

Huddersfield extended their lead within two minutes of the restart through Joe Wardle for 16-4 before a second try from Cudjoe was followed by efforts from Michael Lawrence and Brough who converted the lot for 34-4. The gloss on a superb home performance came on 75 minutes as Aaron Murphy crossed with Brough bringing up the 40 point mark with the boot. 

Robins Rocked By Charging Centurions

Leigh Centurions continued their perfect record in The Qualifiers with a superb 25-18 win over Hull Kingston Rovers in torrential rain at the KC Lightstream Stadium.

The Robins suffered a blow before the news of Albert Kelly's suspension but they made a superb start as Josh Mantellato kicked them into a 2-0 lead with a fourth minute penalty. Ken Sio crossed for the first try of the afternoon within two minutes for 6-0 before Mantellato crossed for a try of his own for a 10-0 lead inside 12 minutes in the torrid conditions. Leigh fought back with a try from Sam Hopkins just second after he came off the bench with Martyn Ridyard converting for 12-6, a score that lasted into the interval.

Leigh staged a superb comeback early in the second half with Andrew Dixon, Matty Dawson and Josh Drinkwater all crossing for tries within 12 minutes of the restart with Ridyard converting twice for a 12-22 lead.  Matty Marsh cut the gap to 18-22 with 14 minutes to go but the win was sealed for the Centurions with 77 minutes on the clock as Ridyard swept over a drop goal which puts Leigh in a great position to seal a place in next year's Super League. 

Bulldogs Edge Rovers

The final game of the round saw Batley Bulldogs claim their first win of the campaign with a narrow 11-10 win over Featherstone Rovers on Sunday afternoon. 

The hosts opened the scoring through Wayne Reittie after just ten minutes before Luke Briscoe levelled for Rovers just five minutes later for 4-4.  James Duckworth crossed to put the visitors 4-8 ahead before a last-gasp drop goal from Dom Brambanu made it 5-8 into the interval.

A penalty goal apiece before the hour mark saw the score move to 7-10 before Reittie's second try six minutes from the end sealed the win.

Super 8s Round Four Review

Vikings Stun Warriors

Wigan Warriors' hopes of claiming top spot were dented by an 8-6 defeat last night to Widnes Vikings at the DW Stadium.

The last meeting between the sides saw Wigan edge a 7-0 win at Widnes and with the two sides currently the second and third worst attacking in the Super 8s, a night of strong defence was to be expected. Widnes opened the scoring after ten minutes as Corey Thompson was left wide open to cross in the corner and after a video referral, Widnes led 0-4.

Lloyd White was unable to convert as he was for a second score from Thompson on the half hour mark which was also subject to a video referral. Wigan looked a shadow of the side that nilled St Helens a fortnight ago and at the interval they were half way to a nilling themselves at 0-8.

Wigan got off the mark with a clever move resulting in Liam Farrell crossing, Jake Shorrocks converted in the absence of Matty Smith who missed the game due to illness but he was clearly missed in a Wigan attack that looked fruitless. Widnes paid the penalty of two team warnings with Jack Buchanan and Connor Farrell sent to the sin-bin.

Even two men light, Widnes looked the better of the two sides but as the game entered the final stages, Wigan were awarded three penalties in front of the sticks but decided to tap rather than level the game with a kick at goal. The choices proved to be costly as the Warriors threw to touch on the final set leaving Widnes to celebrate a surprise win and the home fans to wonder why Shaun Wane and the team chose not to claim a draw.

Classy Cas Trounce Trinity

Castleford Tigers eased to a 46-22 win over neighbours Wakefield Trinity Wildcats with Denny Solomona running in a superb hat-trick.

The Tigers winger opened the scoring inside six minutes for 4-0 before Reece Lyne crossed to draw the visitors level at 4-4. Rangi Chase claimed the first try of his current Tigers stint with Luke Gale converting for a 10-4 lead. Solomona completed a 16 minute hat-trick with two further tries which Gale improved for a 22-4 lead.

Wakefield remained in the hunt as Tom Johnstone marked his return from injury with a 27th minute effort. However, Castleford would go into the interval with a 26 point lead as Luke Dorn and Paul McShane crossed with Gale kicking his his fourth and fifth conversions for 34-8.

Wakefield's hopes of a comeback started early with Bill Tupou touching down within three minutes of the restart for 34-12 but Jake Webster went over with Gale kicking to bring up the 40 point mark at 40-12. Castleford's defence has been an issue this season and Wakefield broke through twice in three minutes after the hour mark as Nick Scruton crossed ahead of Johnstone's second for 40-22.

The gloss on the Tigers win came as Luke Gale crossed for a try of his won in the final five minutes which he converted for a personal 18 point haul as the Tigers closed upon fifth spot. 

Saints Stroll To Hand Hull FC Hangover 

St Helens closed the gap to rivals Wigan Warriors in third with a comfortable 31-10 win over a Hull FC side who suffered a hangover from last weekend's Challenge Cup success.

Hull FC made seven changes from their Wembley win but the depth of their squad paid off early as Mahe Fonua crossed inside three minutes with Curtis Naughton converting for 0-6. St Helens battled back with two tries in as many minutes with Jack Owens and Matt Fleming crossing with Owens converting once for a 10-6 lead which they held into the interval.

Atelea Vea boosted the hosts' lead just ten minutes after the restart and with Owens on good kicking form, they led 16-6. Hull FC responded with Sika Manu touching down but a missed kick from Naughton left the gap at one score at 16-10. Owens sent over a penalty goal for 18-10 before Vea claimed his second try to seal the win for the Saints at 24-10.

However, they were far from finished as Jordan Turner swept over a drop goal a couple of minutes later before Owens completed a superb performance with his second try four minutes from the end.

Currie Crushes Dragons Hopes 

Warrington Wolves left it late to move atop the Super 8s table as they secured a 26-22 win over Catalans Dragons.

The Wolves fielded a changed side from their Wembley upset and one of the incoming players gave them an early lead as Declan Patton crossed for the opening try inside seven minutes before converting for 0-6. A superb move saw Stefan Ratchford pick out Kevin Penny who raced over with Patton improving for 0-12. Catalans were unable to avoid a first half nilling as Patton claimed his second try in the final minute and converted for an 0-18 lead at the break.

Catalans got off the mark through Vincent Duport before former Wolves half Richie Myler crossed with Tony Gigot converting for 12-18 but a Patton penalty goal made it 12-20 as the game began to heat up.

Warrington were pegged back by superb seven minute spree from the Dragons with Benjamin Garcia crossing ahead of two penalties from Gigot as the hosts took a 22-20 lead. Another score was sure to come in such a tense match and it did with three minutes left on the clock as Ben Currie sealed the win for the Wolves with Patton kicking the conversion.  

Monday, 29 August 2016

Challenge Cup Final Review

Hull FC came from behind to secure the 2016 Challenge Cup and claim a first success at Wembley with a 12-10 win over Warrington Wolves.

Both sides started the game well with very few errors and penalties conceded in the opening stages and it was a case of two great defences in scorching heat as the half went on.The game looked to set to be all square going into half-time but with five minutes left of the first 40, Chris Sandow raced clear after intercepting a Frank Pritchard pass only to be caught by a superb chase from Jamie Shaul.

The next play saw Matty Russell cross for the opening score with Kurt Gidley converting for a 6-0 lead. The slim lead could have been extended in the final seconds of the half but Sandow chose to go for a run over a potential drop goal chance leaving FC just one score behind at the interval.

Warrington had a great chance to boost their lead less than two minutes after the restart but Gidley clipped the penalty attempt past the post. The Wolves did extend the lead though with 54 minutes on the clock as Daryl Clark picked out Ben Currie who raced over out wide but Gidley was unable to convert at 0-10.

A superb 40/20 from Marc Sneyd gave FC great field position and the final tackle of the set saw Sneyd kick high for Mahe Fonua to collect and stretch over the line before Sneyd converted for 6-10 with 18 minutes left. Sneyd provided again with a clever dink forward which resulted in Fonua finding Jamie Shaul who crossed to put FC level at 10-10. Sneyd converted to give FC a 12-10 lead with just four minutes to go.

Warrington went achingly close in the final two minutes but superb defence from Danny Houghton denied Ben Currie as the Black and Whites survived to claim a first ever Wembley triumph.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

The Qualifiers Round Three Review

Robins Defeat Red Devils

Hull Kingston Rovers made it two wins from three in The Qualifiers as they defeated Salford Red Devils 29-12.

The Robins flew out of the blocks with Josh Mantellato crossing for the opening try inside two minutes which he converted for a 0-6 lead which soon became 12-0 as James Greenwood crossed in the 12th minute. Mantellato converted before adding a penalty goal to open up a 0-14 lead which was then cut by Mason Caton-Brown's effort for the hosts for 4-14.

Mantellato added a second penalty goal to increase the lead to 4-16 before he converted a Ken Sio try as the Robins moved to a comfortable 4-22 advantage. Gareth O'Brien had the last say on the half as he converted a penalty goal for 6-22 into the interval.

O'Brien cut the gap for Salford even further with a self-converted try on 51 minutes for 12-22 but it was to be in vain as the Mantellato added his third penalty goal of the game ahead of an Albert Kelly drop goal for 14-25. Thomas Minns put the gloss on a fine win for the visitors with an effort three minutes from the end.

Rhinos Hold Off Battling Broncos

Saturday afternoon at Ealing Trailfinders saw London Broncos lose out 42-28 to Leeds Rhinos who made it three wins in a row in the competition.

London took a surprise lead after five minutes through Rhys Williams with Jamie Soward converting for 6-0 but Leeds fought back with a try from Tom Briscoe and self-converted effort from Liam Sutcliffe for a 6-10 lead. James Cunningham crossed for the hosts with Soward kicking them into a 12-10 lead but a second try from Briscoe and score from James Segayaro gave the Rhinos a 12-20 advantage at the interval. 

Leeds took control with Jordan Lilley, Mitch Achurch and Kallum Watkins all crossing within 12 minutes of the restart as the lead moved to 12-36. Nick Slyney reduced the deficit before Briscoe completed his hat-trick to bring up the 40 point mark. London had the last say though as they ran in two late scores through Iliess Macani and Elliot Kear. 

Giants Gut Battling Bulldogs 

Huddersfield Giants made it two wins in a row as they secured a 58-28 away to Batley Bulldogs. 

The Bulldogs took a surprise early lead as Dom Brambani converted a penalty goal inside two minutes before the Giants fought back with an array of tries from Leroy Cudjoe, Gene Ormsby, Eorl Crabtree, Jake Connor and a Tom Symonds brace for a 2-30 lead after 26 minutes. 

The Giants looked to have the game won by half-time as Joe Wardle crossed ahead of a brace for Ryan Brierley as they held a 2-48 lead into the interval. 

Batley stemmed the spree with efforts from Shaun Squires and Dave Scott with Brambani converting both for 14-48. Second tries for Squires and Cudjoe and a hat-trick try for Brierley moved the score to 20-58 before a late double from Chris Ulugia and Scott closed the gap to 30 points. 

Centurions Deny Rovers

The final game of the weekend saw a battle between two Championship sides as Featherstone Rovers just fell short in an 18-30 loss to Leigh Centurions. 

Leigh raced into an early 0-12 lead with efforts from Reni Maitua and Mitch Brown with Martyn Ridyard converting both. Josh Walters crossed for the hosts with Kyle Briggs converted before adding a penalty goal five minutes before the interval for 8-12. 

Matty Dawson and Micky Higham crossed either side of the hour to push Leigh's advantage to 8-22 but Fev remained in the contest with a Luke Briscoe try and a self-converted effort from Briggs to close the gap to 18-22. However, the fightback was quelled by a Ridyard penalty goal and last-gasp try from Gareth Hock as the Centurions made it three wins from three games.

Monday, 22 August 2016

Super 8s Round Three Review

Fabulous FC Demolish Dragons

Hull FC secured their spot in the play-offs with a comfortable 44-0 rout of a poor Catalan Dragons side at the KCOM Stadium.

The hosts rested players ahead of next week's trip to Wembley but after 20 minutes, it seemed not to make a difference as they had raced into a 12-0 lead with tries from Dean Hadley and Mahe Fonua with Marc Sneyd converting both. The Dragons looked to be out of the contest by the interval as Mark Minichello crossed for a try which Sneyd converted before adding two penalty goals  for a 22-0 half-time advantage.

Catalan were unable to stem the FC spree as Fetuli Talanoa crossed for the first try of the second half within three minutes of the restart for 28-0 before Fonua struck his second as the 30 point mark was broken at 32-0. A superb performance from Sneyd saw him get on the board with a try on the hour which he converted superbly for 38-0. As the game entered the final ten minutes, it was a case of when not if FC scored again and a clever effort from Frank Pritchard was the icing on the pre-Wembley cake as he crossed and Sneyd converted to complete the rout. 

Gelling Trebles As Wigan Nil Saints 

Wigan Warriors regained second spot with a superb 25-0 Derby success over St Helens at the DW Stadium.

A stunning start from Wigan saw Anthony Gelling cross in the corner with his effort confirmed by the video replay, Matty Smith converted for a 6-0 lead inside four minutes. Defence from both sides was strong as the half went on but a clever move from Wigan saw Gelling cross for his second try which Smith improved for a 12-0 lead into the interval.

As the hour approached, Smith swept over a drop goal for 13-0 , wary of a Saints comeback but any hopes of such comeback were dashed just seven minutes later as Gelling broke away and raced clear of the chasing Saints defenders to complete his hat-trick, the first in a derby since 2003. Smith was unable to convert at 17-0 but made up for his miss with a penalty ten minutes from the end to confirmed the win at 19-0.

Saints had not been nilled in a league derby since the 8-0 loss back in 1955 but faced the ending of that record when George Williams crossed with 77 minutes on the clock, Smith converted and Wigan celebrated a superb turnaround from the 23-4 loss to their rivals just four weeks ago.  

Last Gasp Wolves Deny Tigers

Warrington Wolves became the second team to secure a play-off spot as they secured a 14-11 win at home to Castleford Tigers.

The Wolves started the better of  the two sides with Joe Westerman putting them ahead inside eight minutes with Kurt Gidley improving the effort for 6-0. Castleford fought back with a Denny Solomona try which Luke Gale converted to level at 6-6 before Gale kicked the Tigers into a 6-8 lead ahead of the interval with a penalty goal.

Another Gale penalty within six minutes of the restart pushed the Tigers' advantage to four at 6-10 but the Wolves got themselves back level with a Rhys Evans effort on the hour for 10-10. The sides remained level into the final minutes and looked on course to draw but Luke Gale had other ideas as he swept over a drop goal to surely seal the win for the Tigers at 10-11. However, a short kick off from the restart saw Jack Hughes cross to seal the win for the hosts who as a result move into second spot.

Vikings Vanquish Weary Wildcats

The final game of round three saw a battle between seventh and eighth as Widnes Vikings hosted Wakefield Trinity Wildcats. 

A good start from the Vikings saw them race into an 18-0 lead inside the opening quarter with tries from Patrick Ah Van, Rhys Hanbury and Matt Whitley all converted by Lloyd White. Widnes added a further score just before half-time as Corey Thompson crossed with White converting for a huge 24-0 lead at the interval. 

Wakefield's woes continued just five minutes after the restart as Stefan March crossed for 28-0 before a self-converted effort from White four minutes later looked to have sealed the win at 34-0. Wakefield did strike back though as Craig Hall crossed for 34-4 but a second from Ah Van with Thompson converting confirmed the win at 40-4. The last say went to Wakefield as Ben Jones Bishop scored six minutes from the end for 40-8.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

The Qualifiers Round Two Review

Rhinos Deny Robins

Leeds Rhinos opened round two with a narrow 20-18 victory over Hull Kingston Rovers at Headingley on Friday night. 

A tight first quarter saw the sides remain level at 0-0 before an opening try on 28 minutes as Kallum Watkins crossed for the hosts with Liam Sutcliffe converting for 6-0. Sutcliffe added a penalty goal two minutes before half-time for an 8-0 lead at the interval. 

The Robins cut the gap within three minutes of the restart with James Greenwood crossing for a try which Josh Mantellato converted for 8-6 before Mantellato levelled at 8-8 with a penalty on 51 minutes. Sutcliffe restored the lead for the hosts at 10-8 with a penalty before James Segeyaro increased the lead to 16-8 with 13 minutes left. KR hit back through James Donaldson for 16-14 before a second try from Segeyaro looked to have sealed the win with 77 minutes played. George Lawler's late effort made it 22-18 but Leeds managed to hold on for the two points. 

Leigh Secure Salford Win

Saturday afternoon saw Leigh Centurions secure a 32-26 win over Salford Red Devils at Leigh Sports Village.

The hosts opened the scoring after just seven minutes as Reni Maitua crossed before a second try from Corey Paterson just five minutes later saw Martyn Ridyard convert for 12-0. Mason Caton-Brown got Salford off the mark on 15 minutes with Gareth O'Brien converting for 12-6. Leigh regained their two score lead thought with a try from Gregg McNally before Niall Evalds crossed for the visitors to make it 18-10. Leigh went into the interval with a 20-10 lead after Ridyard added a late penalty.

Salford's comeback began on 55 minutes with Robert Lui's try for 20-16 but nothing more came until the final ten minutes of the game which saw a quick double from Adam Higson and Matty Dawson put Leigh on course for the win at 32-16. Salford didn't go down easily though as they ran in two tries in the final three minutes with Ben Murdoch-Masila crossing ahead of Caton-Brown's second but they were unable to complete the comeback as Leigh celebrated a six point success. 

Brilliant Broncos Batter Bulldogs

London Broncos bounced back superbly from their opening loss with a 76-16 hammering of Batley Bulldogs.

The Broncos raced into a 22-0 lead inside the first quarter with efforts from Jamie Soward, Dan Harrison, Iliess Macani and Andy Ackers with Soward converting three of four conversion attempts. Batley were powerless to hold off more punishment from the Broncos in the first half as Macani scored his second ahead of tries from James Cunningham and Matt Garside who crossed for a 38-0 half-time advantage. 

The London spree resumed within three minutes of the restart as Macani completed his hat-trick for 44-0 before Batley got off the mark with two tries in four minutes as James Brown and Alex Rowe crossed with Dom Brambani converting both for 44-12. However, London shook off the dent in their scoring streak with a brace from Rhys Williams ans a Jack Bussey score for 58-12. Chris Ulugia crossed for the Bulldogs for 58-16 but the Broncos resumed their charge with Cunningham claiming his second score ahead of Williams' hat-trick try for 70-16. The rout was completed with eight minutes left as Matt Iaone crossed and Soward kicked his tenth conversion for a 60 point triumph. 

Glorious Giants Rout Rovers

The final game of the round came from the John Smith's Stadium as Huddersfield Giants stormed to a 62-16 win over Featherstone Rovers.

The Giants opened up a 12-0 lead inside the first quarter with tries from Michael Lawrence and Oliver Roberts with Jamie Ellis converting both but the Rovers replied with an effort from John Davies with Kyle Briggs converting to make it 12-6. However, Huddersfield took control with tries from Gene Ormsby and Ryan Brierley before a second score from Roberts sent them into the interval leading 28-6.

Ukuma Ta'ai and Kyle Wood extended the lead within ten minutes of the restart for 38-6 before Featherstone stemmed the Giants' spree through Luke Briscoe for 38-10. A second score from Wood made it 44-10 but Fev replied yet again as Ian Hardman crossed for 44-16. Second scores from Brierley and Ta'ai brought up the 50 point mark at 56-16 before Ryan Hinchcliffe crossed late on to put the gloss on a huge win for the Giants which saw Ellis kick a ninth conversion.

Super 8s Round 2 Review

Talanoa Trebles As FC Nil Vikings 

Hull FC moved two points clear at the top of the Super8s table as they claimed a 38-0 win against a weakened Widnes Vikings.

A tight first 20 minutes saw both sides strong in defence with Widnes looking the likeliest to score with a number of missed chances but it was to be FC who struck first as Jordan Abdull made his mark in place of injured star Marc Sneyd before converting for 0-6. Fetuli Talanoa crossed twice in the space of eight minutes sandwiching an effort from Mahe Fonua with Abdull converting twice for a 0-22 lead at the interval.

Steve Michaels extended the lead ten minutes after restart before a first try of the season from Dean Hadley saw Abdull convert for 0-34 to seal the win for FC but they were not done there as Talanoa completed his hat-trick with nine minutes left to leave Widnes with a nilling to recover from as FC bounced back from their opening loss last week. 

Super Saints Deny Dragons

St Helens continued their superb winning streak as they moved closer to cementing a play-off spot with a 39-16 win over fellow hopefuls Catalans Dragons.

The hosts fell behind early on as Dave Taylor crossed for the opening try on seven minutes with Lucas Albert converting for 0-6. A superb first half hat-trick from Adam Swift saw him cross in the 19th, 25th and 40th minutes with conversions from Luke Walsh and Jack Owens with an effort from Jason Baitieri for the Dragons coming between Swift's second and third as Saints led 16-12 at the interval. 

Two penalties from Walsh within ten minutes of the restart saw the lead increased to 20-12before Swift claimed his fourth try for 26-12. Walsh sent over a drop goal for a 15 point lead at 27-12 before Catalan struck back through Vincent Duport for 27-16 but Saints were not to be caught as Owens and Joe Greenwood crossed in the final eight minutes to complete the win. 

Solomona Trebles As Tigers Halt Warriors

Castleford Tigers secured back-to-back scalps of the top two as they extended their perfect start to the Super 8s with a 36-22 win against Wigan Warriors at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle.

The Tigers took just nine minutes to open the scoring against a Wigan side fielding 1-7 in their backline for the first time in 2016 who had to look on as Denny Solomona raced down the wing for 4-0. The move came as the Warriors were short on the wing after the injury to Dom Manfredi but they fell further behind to a Luke Gale penalty for 6-0 just three minutes later.

Paul McShane extended the lead on the half hour for 12-0 before a try from Sam Powell and Matty Smith conversion closed the gap to 12-6 ahead of the interval. Solomona claimed his second try ten minutes after the restart before securing his hat-trick after Ben Flower had crossed for Wigan with Gale adding another penalty for 24-12 after an hour.

Wigan staged a comeback with efforts from John Bateman and Lee Mossop but just one conversion from two left the gap at four points at 26-22. Castleford were not done though and sealed the win with a try from Wigan loanee Ryan Hampshire on 77 minutes before Oliver Holmes put the gloss on the win with a last-gasp try as the Tigers avoided a fourth loss in 2016 to the Warriors.

Wolves Secure Wildcats Win

Warrington closed up on top spot with a 38-10 win away to Wakefield Trinity Wildcats on Sunday afternoon. 

The hosts opened the scoring after just four minutes as Jon Molloy crossed with Liam Finn converting for a 6-0 lead. The Wolves fought back with efforts from Ben Currie, Chris Hill, and Ryan Atkins with Kurt Gildey converting two of three attempts for a 6-16 lead at the interval. 

Matty Russell extended the leas within seven minutes of the restart for 6-22 before a first senior try for Judah Mazive made it 10-22. Warrington took full control from the hour mark with Daryl Clark crossing ahead of a second try for Russell before Joe Westerman put the gloss on the win with a try five minutes from the end.