Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Super League Round 19 Review

After the break for the Challenge Cup last eight, Super League officially returned with Round 19 with the run-in to the Super 8s beginning.

The round opened on Thursday night with a battle at the bottom as Widnes Vikings leapfrogged Leigh Centurions after a 36-10 win.

The Vikings raced into a 10-0 lead inside six minutes with a Chris Houston effort following a self-converted try from Chris Bridge. The Centurions suffered a first half nilling as Corey Thompson crossed before Houston claimed his second try in the final seconds with Bridge converting for 20-0.

Leigh got off the mark ten minutes after the restart as Nick Rawsthorne crossed, Josh Drinkwater converting for 20-6. Thompson claimed his second try with Bridge converting for a 26-6 lead. Leigh hit back through Atelea Vea for 26-10 but Widnes went on to confirm the win with two tries in the final seven minutes from Ryan Ince and Matt Whitley with Danny Craven converting the latter on the hooter.

On Friday night, I travelled to see Huddersfield Giants draw 19-19 with Wigan Warriors.

The Giants opened up a 13-0 lead inside 25 minutes with Leroy Cudjoe and Lee Gaskell crossing for tries which Martyn Ridyard and Danny Brough converted, Brough also kicking a drop goal at 6-0.

Wigan cut the gap to 13-12 into half-time with two tries in three minutes from John Bateman and Liam Marshall, George Williams converting both.

The Warriors went ahead within four minutes of the restart as Marshall claimed his second try with Williams converting for 13-18. A try from Jermaine McGillvary and conversion from Brough edged the Giants ahead at 19-18. The sides drew 16-16 in the reverse meeting and they would share the points again as Williams levelled at 19-19 with a drop goal. Both sides pushed for the win late on including missed drop goal attempts.

Hull FC moved into second spot with a comfortable 40-18 win over Wakefield Trinity.

FC opened up a 10-0 lead with efforts from Jamie Shaul and Fetuli Talanoa and a Marc Sneyd conversion.. Trinity fought back and would go into half-time with a 10-12 lead as James Batchelor and Sam Williams touched down for tries which Liam Finn converted.

A Reece Lyne score within four minutes of the restart saw Finn convert for 10-18. However, FC staged a superb comeback with tries from Jake Connor, Marc Sneyd and a second from Shaul all converted by Sneyd giving them a 28-18 lead with ten minutes to go.

The hosts completed a near perfect second half with two scores in the final five minutes as Mahe Fonua dashed clear ahead of a Jansin Turgut effort, Sneyd converting both to bring up the 40 point mark.

Friday's televised game saw Castleford Tigers move seven points clear at the top with a 23-12 win at Leeds Rhinos.

The Rhinos opened the scoring inside nine minutes through Ash Handley, Liam Sutcliffe converting for 6-0. The Tigers drew level within eight minutes as Greg Eden crossed with Luke Gale converting for 6-6 before adding a penalty goal on 33 minutes for a 6-8 lead into half-time.

Zak Hardaker crossed against his parent club within five minutes of the restart with Gale converting for 6-14 before improving a try from Grant Millington for 6-20. Leeds cut the gap to 12-20 with an Adam Cuthbertson try and Sutcliffe conversion. However, Castleford wrapped up the win with a penalty goal and drop goal in the final nine minutes from Gale. 

The game of the round came as St Helens secured a last-gasp 25-24 win over Salford Red Devils.

Salford took the lead on 11 minutes with a Todd Carney penalty goal before going 8-2 behind as Matty Smith crossed for a try which Marc Percival converted before adding a penalty goal.

The sides went into half-time level as Niall Evalds crossed for a try which Carney improved for 8-8. Salford took control as Greg Johnson and Robert Lui touched down ahead of a second Evalds score with Carney converting twice for a huge 8-24 lead.

The saying goes ' Never Write Off The Saints' and it came to fruition in a stunning late show from the hosts as James Roby, Regan Grace and Jonny Lomax all crossed in a four minute period from the 73rd-77th minutes with Percival levelling at 24-24 with the boot. A draw looked on the cards as the seconds ticked down but an error from Lui proved costly as Saints collected the ball and Smith swept over a drop goal on the hooter from 40+ metres out to seal the win.

The round ended on Saturday afternoon as new Catalans Dragons coach Steve McNamara suffered an opening 24-16 loss at Warrington Wolves.

A frantic start saw Jodie Broughton cross inside three minutes for the visitors before Benjamin Jullien levelled for the hosts on seven minutes with Kurt Gidley kicking for 6-4. Ryan Atkins increased the lead to 10-4 with a 20th minute try before Richie Myler crossed against his former club with Luke Walsh converting for 10-10.

The Wolves led 12-10 into the interval with a last-gasp penalty from Gidley and he extended the lead with a penalty just before the hour for 14-10. Atkins and Myler (Walsh conv) claimed their second tries for 18-16 with nine minutes to go. Warrington secured the win with a minute to go as André Savelio touched down and Kurt Gidley converted.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Challenge Cup Quarter Finals/SL Rd 16 Cont Review

A slight break in the Super League schedule saw the Challenge Cup quarter finals played with the remaining game from Super League Round 16 also featuring this weekend.

The quarter finals began on Thursday night as Salford Red Devils moved into the last four with a 30-6 win over Wakefield Trinity.

Salford raced into a 12-0 lead inside 13 minutes as Ryan Lannon and Ben Murdoch-Masila crossed with Michael Dobson converting before adding a penalty for 14-0 on 22 minutes. Niall Evalds went over just before the interval with Dobson converting for an 18-0 lead at the break.

Further scores within nine minutes of the restart from Greg Johnson and Craig Kopczak saw a single Dobson conversion for 30-0. Wakefield had the last say on the score though as Liam Finn crossed for a try which he converted with eight minutes left.

Friday night's non-televised action saw Huddersfield Giants and St Helens play their re-arranged round 16 game with the Giants winning 24-16.

Hudds struck first  as Leroy Cudjoe touched down with Martyn Ridyard converting for 6-0 inside 13 minutes before a self-converted effort from Ridyard made it 12-0.

Saints cut the gap just before half-time as Luke Thompson crossed with Mark Percival converting for 12-6. Percival cut the gap to two with a try three minutes after the restart for 12-10.

The sides exchanged scores with Adam O'Brien (Ridyard conv) and Kyle Amor (Percival conv) crossing for 18-16 before the Giants sealed the win with four minutes left as Lee Gaskell went over with Ridyard converting.

Friday's televised action saw Leeds Rhinos ease to a 58-0 win over Championship side Featherstone Rovers.

A superb first 15 minutes saw the Rhinos lead 18-0 as Stevie Ward, Brett Ferres and Joel Moon crossed with Liam Sutcliffe converting.

Rovers did well to keep the Rhinos out after the early spree with just one more score coming before half-time as Ash Handley crossing and Sutcliffe converting for 24-0.

The game was over as a contest before the hour mark as Carl Ablett and Sutcliffe touched down ahead of a second Handley try with Sutcliffe converting the lot for a huge 36-0 lead. A four minute brace from Brad Singleton (Sutcliffe convs) was followed late on by a Ryan Hall try which Sutcliffe converted.

Saturday afternoon saw a stunning cup clash as Wigan Warriors edged a 27-26 win over Warrington Wolves.

Wigan opened up a 12-0 lead with a brace from Joe Burgess with George Williams converting. Warrington battled back with a brace from Ryan Atkins with Declan Patton converting to level at 12-12.Wigan regained the lead just before half-time as Liam Marshall touched down and Williams converted for 12-18. A penalty from Williams nine minutes after the restart made it 12-20.

However, Warrington again hit back as Andre Savelio went over with Patton converting before levelling with a penalty for 20-20. A John Bateman score saw Williams convert for a 20-26 lead before Sam Tomkins looked to have sealed the win with a drop goal for 20-27 with seven minutes left.

Warrington fought back again with Kurt Gidley crossing on 77 minutes with Patton converting for 26-27. Wigan blew the restart and Stefan Ratchford missed the resulting penalty but the Wolves had one more chance to avoid defeat in final seconds as Patton attempted a last-gasp drop goal but it sailed wide as Wigan claimed the win.

The final game of the round saw holders Hull FC continue their defence as they claimed a 32-24 win over Castleford Tigers.

FC raced into a 12-0 lead inside seven minutes as Carlos Tuimavave and Fetuli Talanoa crossed with Jake Connor converting. Castleford hit back with two tries in three minutes from Ben Roberts and Zak Hardaker with Luke Gale levelling with the boot for 12-12.

A penalty goal from Connor gave FC a 14-12 lead at half-time but another penalty within two minutes of the restart saw him kick for 16-12.

The Tigers went ahead for the first time just six minutes later as Roberts claimed his second try, Gale converting for 16-18. Hull regained the lead as Connor kicked two penalties in seven minutes for 20-18 but they looked to have sealed the win when Mahe Fonua and Jamie Shaul crossed in a three minute spell with Connor converting both for 32-18. Castleford set up a tense finale as Greg Minikin crossed, Gale converting for 32-24 with seven minutes to go but the Tigers were unable to close the gap as the holders moved to just two wins from retaining the trophy.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Super League Round 18 Review

Ahead of the Challenge Cup Quarter Finals, Super League reached round 18 which began with the Battle of the Borough on Thursday night as Leigh Centurions stunned Wigan Warriors 50-34.

Wigan went ahead inside four minutes through Liam Marshall for 0-4 before Leigh ran in three tries in ten minutes from former Warriors duo Danny Tickle and Ryan Hampshire and Lachlan Burr with Ben Renyolds converting for 18-4. Wigan cut the gap ahead of half-time as Josh Ganson and George Williams crossed with Marshall converting for 18-14 but a Renyolds penalty made it 20-14 into half-time.

Wigan moved to 20-18 behind within four minutes of the restart as Oliver Gildart went over but Leigh took control with three scores in ten minutes as Mitch Brown crossed ahead of a three minute brace from Liam Hood with Renyolds converting for 38-18. Frank-Paul Nuuausala cut the gap for the Warriors with Marshall converting for 38-24. Leigh reached the half century with tries from Cory Paterson and Matty Dawson with Renyolds ending with nine goals but Wigan were to have the last say.  A try from Joe Burgess was followed by a second for Ganson with Marshall converting the former.

Friday night's action began with Salford Red Devils falling to a 34-10 defeat to Hull FC.

Hull raced into a 0-22 lead before half-time as Fetuli Talanoa and Danny Washbrook crossed either side of a brace from Albert Kelly with Jake Connor all but the first try.

Salford got on the board within two minutes of the restart through Niall Evalds with Michael Dobson converting for 6-22. Carlos Tuimavave and Jamie Shaul went over to surely win the game for FC with Connor's conversions making it 6-34. Salford had the last say just after the hour as Weller Hauraki touched down. 

Friday's televised action saw St Helens claim a 26-10 win over Widnes Vikings.

A self converted try from Mark Percival and effort from Regan Grace gave the Saints a 10-0 lead into half-time. Widnes got off the mark nine minutes after the restart through Ryan Ince before scores from Alex Walmsley and Ryan Morgan put the Saints in control at 20-4.

Widnes reached double figures as Danny Craven scored a try which he converted for 20-10 but Saints had the last say as Theo Fages crossed with Percival converting.

Saturday's televised action saw Catalans Dragons hammered 56-12 by Huddersfield Giants.

An early treble from Aaron Murphy, Shannon Wakeman and Danny Brough saw Brough and Martyn Ridyard convert for 0-16. Catalans got off the mark on 26 minutes as Tony Gigot crossed with Luke Walsh converting for 6-16.

The Giants went into the interval leading 6-22 as Jake Mamo crossed late on with Ridyard converting. Brough claimed his second try within five minutes of the restart ahead of a second score from Mamo and an effort from Jermaine McGillvary, Ridyard converting twice for 6-38.

Mamo ran in twice in eight minutes to score his third and fourth tries with Ridyard converting both for a huge 6-50 advantage which was cut to 12-50 as Sam Moa touched down for the Dragons with Luke Walsh converting. The Giants had the last say on the scoreline as McGillvary claimed his second score as Ridyard ended the day with seven goals. 

Saturday evening saw Leeds Rhinos secure a narrow 18-16 victory over Wakefield Trinity.

Trinity opened up a 10-0 lead with scores from Mason Caton-Brown and Kyle Wood with Liam Finn converting the first effort. Leeds fought back with two scores in three minutes as Stevie Ward and Joel Moon touched down for 10-8

A two minute double on the hour saw Leeds take the lead as Briscoe claimed his second try ahead of a Joel Moon score which Liam Sutcliffe converted for 10-18. Wakefield set up a tight finish with a try from Ben Jones-Bishop which Finn converted for 16-18 but Leeds held on for the win.

The round ended on Sunday as Castleford Tigers increased their lead atop the standings with a 36-16 win over Warrington Wolves.

The Tigers raced into a 20-0 lead inside 16 minutes as Greg Eden crossed twice ahead of scores from Greg Minikin and Mike McMeeken with Luke Gale converting twice. Warrington ended the hosts' spree with a Tom Lineham try which Declan Patton converted for 20-6. Eden completed a 26 minute hat-trick with Gale converting for 26-6.

Eden crossed twice more with 12 minutes of the second half played for a quintet of tries with Gale converting the first for 36-6. Warrington cut the gap two minutes later through Joe Westerman with Patton converting for 36-12 before Jack Hughes had the last say on the score with eight minutes left.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Super League Round 17 Review

After the Bank Holiday double weekend, Super League returned to the single round weekend with round 17.

The round opened on Friday night as Leeds Rhinos secured a 22-14 win over struggling Leigh Centurions.The Rhinos took an 8-0 lead inside 15 minutes with tries from Adam Cuthbertson and Tom Briscoe. 

 Leigh got off the mark through Matty Dawson for 8-4 before Joel Moon crossed for the hosts with Liam Sutcliffe converting for 14-4. The visitors cut the gap just before half-time as Dawson claimed his second try which Josh Drinkwater converted for 14-10.

A Sutcliffe penalty made it 16-10 within three minutes of the restart and the Rhinos went further ahead with Cuthbertson's second score which Sutcliffe converted for 22-10. Leigh had the last say as Cory Paterson crossed a minute from the end.

Saturday afternoon saw Hull FC defeat Wigan Warriors 39-26. The hosts stormed into a 24-0 inside the half hour mark as Steve Michael crossed inside the third minute before Mark Minichello and Danny Houghton sandwiched Michael's second score with Jake Connor converting the lot.

Wigan got off the mark through Tom Davies for 24-4 with Connor kicking a penalty in the final seconds of the half for 26-4.  Wigan cut the deficit with a Liam Marshall try four minutes after the restart before Lewis Tierney crossed with Marshall converting for 26-14.

Hull took control with scores from Jamie Shaul and Albert Kelly with Nick Rawsthorne both for 38-14. Wigan rallied back with a try from Joe Burgess before Kelly kicked a drop goal for 39-18 before second tries from Marshall and Davies cut the gap.

Huddersfield Giants stormed to a 44-4 win over Warrington Wolves on Sunday afternoon. The Giants led inside six minutes as Oliver Roberts crossed and Danny Brough converted for 6-0.

Jermaine McGillvary and Aaron Murphy crossed either side of the half hour mark for a 12-0 half-time lead. The lead was vastly improved within nine minutes as Paul Clough went over ahead of a debut try from Jordan Turner, Brough converting both for 24-0.

Warrington got off the mark five minutes later with a Tom Lineham try but it was to be only a minor dent in the Giants' charge as Jake Mamo scored ahead of second scores from McGillvary and Murphy with Brough converting the lot.

Wakefield Trinity extended their stay in the top four with a 34-24 win at Salford Red Devils.

A try from former Salford back Mason Caton-Brown inside six minutes saw Liam Finn convert for 0-6. Reece Lyne crossed for an 11 minute brace with Finn converting the latter for 0-16. Salford hit back just before half-time as Jake Bibby went over with Michael Dobson converting for 6-16.

Salford turned the game around before the hour mark as Craig Kopczak touched down ahead of a second score from Bibby, Dobson converting both for 18-16. Caton-Brown's second score improved by Finn regained the lead for Trinity but with eight minutes left a try from Lama Tasi converted by Dobson made it 24-22. Wakefield staged a late show to secure the win as Caton-Brown secured his hat-trick ahead of a score from James Batchelor with Finn converting both. 

Widnes Vikings continued their push to avoid the Middle 8s with a comfortable 26-6 win over Catalans Dragons.

The Dragons led inside eight minutes with a Sam Moa try and Luke Walsh conversion for 0-6. Widnes levelled with a try from Jack Buchanan with Rhys Hanbury converting for 6-6 before a self-converted effort from Hanbury made it 12-6, a lead that remained into the interval.

Corey Thompson crossed within four minutes of the restart before kicking two penalty goals after the hour mark for a 20-6 lead that was increased late on as Thompson converted an effort from Gil Dudson.

The final game of the round saw Castleford Tigers leave it late to secure a 16-12 win over St Helens.

Saints took the lead after 14 minutes as Mark Percival went over with Tommy Makinson converting for 0-6. Cas hit back with a debut try from Kieran Gill but Saints would go into half-time leading 4-12 as Louis McCarthy-Scarsbrook crossed and Makinson converted.

Cas cut the gap to just two points as Ben Roberts crossed with Paul McShane converting for 10-12 before completing the comeback nine minutes from end as Tom Holmes went over and McShane converted.