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Two games on Saturday, and five on Sunday, made up the Betfred Championship fixture calendar for round nine as the competition reached its 'one third of the season' stage. Two of the three top sides were in action on Saturday as Toronto faced Sheffield in London and Toulouse hosted Featherstone Rovers in the south of France.

Sunday saw Batley face Widnes, Dewsbury at Bradford and Leigh take on the challenge of Barrow. Elsewhere Swinton were at high flying York and Halifax travelled to Rochdale along with their 44 year old mascot who was celebrating his ‘stag doo’ (favourite player Scott Murrell).

First up were Toulouse who were looking to go top, at least for a few minutes, as they took on Featherstone Rovers. It was a war of attrition which saw Rovers take a first half lead with a Reynolds penalty of twenty-five. Hepi scored the only try of the game three minutes after the restart and Kheirallah added the conversion for a 6-2 lead. On fifty-six Kheirallah added a penalty goal to complete the scoring and secure an 8-2 win for the home side to maintain the pressure on the Toronto Wolfpack at the top of the table.

As the game kicked off it was top against third as the Toronto Wolfpack took the Sheffield Eagles to London for their ‘home’ fixture. Toronto eased to a 40-10 win to regain their top spot after losing it to Toulouse for just thirty minutes. Read the report here.

Sundays highest scoring game saw the Leigh Centurions beat Barrow by 46-30 after dominating the first half. McNally, Brooks and Thornley (2) opened up a 22-2 lead before Toal  grabbed a try on half time to send his side into the sheds trailing by fourteen points. Ritson further narrowed the gap at the start of the second half before Swift scored again for Leigh. A try from Stack for the visitors made it 18-28 but then Leigh stepped on the gas with four pointers from Woods, Swift with his second and Thornley completing his hat-trick. At 46-18 it was all over but all credit to Barrow who didn’t throw in the towel and added tries through Cross and Riley in the dying minutes to narrow the losing margin. Leigh are now up to fifth and ready to launch an attack to secure a play-off place.

The Bradford Bulls had a tough game against their neighbours from Dewsbury but managed to grind out a 20-12 win. Read the report here.

The biggest shock of the afternoon came from the Batley Bulldogs who managed to record only their second victory of the season with a last gasp win over a Widnes Vikings side who would currently be third, was it not for their massive pre-season points deduction. Roby, for Widnes, and Bretherton, for Batley, exchanged first half tries for 6-6 at the interval before Taira gave the home side the lead. Five minutes later Johnstone scored for Widnes to level the scored before Roby grabbed his second for the visitors for an 18-12 lead. With just ten minutes left Campbell scored for Batley and Scott added the conversion to again level the scores before Scott kicked a seventy-sixth minute penalty goal to take the spoils for the Bulldogs by 20-18.

Swinton gave the York City Knights more of a scare than they were expecting as they got within ten points of the home side at Bootham Crescent. Spears scored York’s opener early on before Hansen scored for Swinton to get them back within two. Two tries from Marsh just before the half-time interval sent the home side into the sheds with an 18-6 lead and when Scott scored of fifty-two for York it was 24-4 and the game was over. Smith scored a try for Swinton, and converted himself for 24-8 before Horne completed the home sides tally on sixty-six. Swinton didn’t give up and thanks to tries from Forsyth and Waterworth they reduced the arrears to 30-20 and gave the home side a far more nervy last few minutes than they were expecting.

Rochdale and Halifax also shared a points bonanza in a game of thirteen tries. Mitchell opened the scoring for Rochdale by Tyrer struck back for ‘Fax before Higginson made it 12-10 to Rochdale after twenty-five. Woodburn-Hall grabbed two tries in three minutes to retake the lead for Halifax and a try from Robson late in the first half made it 18-22 at the interval. The visitors took control in the second half with tries from Sharp, Laulu-Togagae (2), a third for Woodburn-Hall, and one from Saltonstall to take a 48-18 lead before a late consolation from Forster saw the home side up to twenty-four in a 24-48 defeat.



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