Six Betfred Championship games over two days delivered four close games and a couple of runaway winners as Round Two occurred behind closed doors. The remaining fixture, and interesting looking tie between Toulouse Olympique XIII and the London Broncos was ruled a 24-0 win for the French side after the Broncos made the decision not to travel to fulfil their fixture due to the pandemic.
On Saturday Batley played Oldham while Widnes welcomed Dewsbury with the remaining games on Sunday which saw staggered kick-offs for online coverage with; Swinton v Featherstone, Whitehaven v Newcastle, Bradford v Halifax and York v Sheffield.
One of the runaway winners was the Batley Bulldogs who ran in forty-eight points against Oldham who could only respond with a couple of tries. Tonks and Hooley had run Batley into a 12-0 lead before Charnock responded for Oldham but three tries in six minutes just before the break from Broughton, Logan and White quickly sealed Oldham’s fate as they led 28-6 at the interval. Campbell scored two tries in ten minutes soon after the restart to further extend the lead and a seventieth minute Brierley try for Oldham didn’t end the scoring as White picked up his second for the convincing win.
Dewsbury grabbed the points at Widnes in an exciting encounter which saw them take the lead as early as the second minute with a penalty goal from the boot of Sykes. Martin scored the first try but Smith quickly responded for the Vikings and Oakes and Roby exchanged four-pointers before the interval, the Rams going in 12-8 ahead. Gabriel won the game for the visitors with two tries in an eight-minute spell just after the interval for a 22-8 lead and a late converted try by Tyrer left Widnes eight adrift at 14-22 in the final reckoning.
Sunday’s first game was between the Swinton Lions and Featherstone Rovers and the home side had no answer to the Fev’ onslaught. Featherstone set off at a canter with Gale, Holmes and Minns all crossing the whitewash in the opening seventeen minutes for a 14-0 lead and when Day and Davies both added tries before the interval the game was over at 26-0. Blackmore added another try for Rovers as the game approached the three-quarters mark and despite a solitary consolation try from Cox for the Lions, Blackmore ended the scoring with his second just before the final hooter for a 36-6 win.
Whitehaven got their first win of the season as they defeated Newcastle in a competitive game at the Recreation Ground. Bulman and Holliday established a 12-0 home lead before the first Thunder try from Gill but Bulman got a second on the half hour mark to give ‘Haven a, 18-6 interval lead. Dixon extended the home sides lead on fifty-six but two quick tries from Johnson and Wilde for Newcastle set the nerves jangling at 14-24. Walmsley scored four minutes from the end and added a drop goal to give further comfort before a final try for Thunder’s Clegg on the hooter in a 20-29 defeat.
The round’s epic game was the 17:15 kick off at the Tetley’s Stadium as Bradford Bulls came back from a bad start to defeat the Halifax Panthers by a single drop goal in the dying minutes. Saltonstall and Grix got Halifax off to a great start and after two Robinson conversions and a penalty goal they were 14-0 up after twenty. Bradford found their gears and tries from Lilley and Fleming reduced the arrears to just two points at the interval. Pickersgill and Foggin-Johnston put the Bulls into a commanding 26-14 lead after fifty minutes before a ‘Fax fightback, in the form of tries from Springer and Worthington, saw the game all tied up at 26-26 after sixty-four minutes. Lilley won the game with a drop goal five minutes from time to make amends for the heavy defeat in round one.
The final game of the round was an encounter between the York City Knights and Sheffield Eagles which kicked off at 19:30. Thackeray opened the Sheffield account on six minutes and Jubb responded just before the half hour for 6-6 but a second from Thackeray five out from the break and another from Dickinson on the hooter, gave the Eagles a 20-6 interval lead. The sides were deadlocked in the second half and it took thirty-seven minutes for York to get their third try through Salter in their 14-20 defeat.