A round twenty-two win would confirm that the Toronto Wolfpack would go into the play-offs as the top side in the Betfred Championship while wins for the Bradford Bulls and Sheffield Eagles would keep them in touch with the top five and a shot at Super League.
The Eagles travelled to Toulouse on Saturday night while the remainder of the games took place on Sunday afternoon. York and Bradford and Widnes against Toronto were probably the pick of the games while Dewsbury entertained a Halifax side with one eye on next weekend’s Challenge Cup semi-final against St Helens.
Featherstone were at home to a Rochdale side who are all but relegated while Barrow travelled to Swinton in the hope of points to keep alive their chances of a drop down a division. The final game was between an increasingly comfortable looking Leigh Centurions and Batley Bulldogs.
Toulouse Olympique XIII destroyed the Sheffield Eagles to put a dent in their play-off hopes with a 56-18 win. Marcon and Bretherton put the home side 12-0 ahead before Thackeray halved the lead for Sheffield. Mika, Kheirallah and Jussaume all scored in the ten minutes before the interval for 28-6 and Parata, Bergal and Marcon added three more in the first ten minutes after the break to win the game. Farrell and Davies tried to mount a Sheffield comeback but it was too little, too late, and Robin and Bergal rounded off the scoring for the home side.
There was a humdinger of a battle between the two promoted sides who are both battling for play-off places. Bradford took the lead early on through Ryan but a six minute brace from Oakes lifted York into a 14-6 lead. Ryan picked up his second just before the interval for 14-8. Ryan completed his hat-trick on fifty-six to level the scores but two quick tries, on the hour mark, from Whitley edged the City Knights into a 24-14 lead. Oakes, on seventy-two, and Hitchcox, two minutes later, again levelled the scores and in a frantic closing few minutes Harris kicked a drop goal to seal the 25-24 win for the home side to keep them second in the table.
The Leigh Centurions also maintained their push for the play-offs with a very convincing 48-12 win over the Batley Bulldogs. Brierley, Cator, Douglas and Thornley had opened up a 24-0 lead before Walters and Jouffret halved the arrears. Woods scored just before the interval for a 30-14 lead. Four more second half tries, from Thornley, Higham, Marsh and Brierley rounded off a terrific afternoon for the Centurions who are now strong favourites to make the play-offs.
At present, the final play-off berth is occupied by Featherstone Rovers who demolished a Rochdale side already resigned to relegation into Championship One for 2020. Rochdale had opened the scoring through Ainscough for a 6-0 lead before Makota, King, Briscoe and Jones all scored first half tries for a 20-6 interval lead. Harrison, Golding, Day (2), and Walters all added second half tries for 50-6 win.
The Swinton Lions deepened Barrows relegation woes with a 30-12 win at Heywood Road. Ashton and Halton had given Swinton a 14-0 interval lead, Ritson getting Barrow on the board with the first try of the second half. Lloyd added another for Swinton before Cresswell got Barrow’s second. Tries from Butt and Smith in the closing ten minutes sealed the 30-12 victory which puts Swinton within three points of safety.
Any hopes that Halifax might have had of a play-off spot were effectively ended when they drew with the Dewsbury Rams as the home side boosted their chances of Championship survival. Saltonstall took twenty-six minutes to open the scoring before, five minutes later; Day levelled the scores for the Rams. Laulu-Togagae tries either side of half time established an 18-8 lead before Ryder got one back for the home side. Larroyer added another try for ‘Fax on fifty-five and at 24-12 the visitors were in a good place to take the points. An unconverted Gabriel try reduced the margin to eight points Before Fairbank made it 28-16 with ten minutes left. Dewsbury showed great character with Worrincy picking up two tries in a three minute spell, both converted by Sykes to draw the game 28-28.
The late kick-off was at Widnes where the home side came within a whisker of toppling the league leaders. Rawsthorne put Toronto 4-0 ahead but Roby and Craven edged Widnes into a 12-4 lead. Stanley scored on the stroke of half-time to reduce the arrears to just four going into the interval. Thompson and Lussick both grabbed tries in the opening ten minutes of the second half for a, 18-12 lead before Ince scored a converted try for the Vikings to level the scores at 18-18. A seventy-third minute Craven drop goal gave the home side a one point advantage which lasted for three minutes before a Mullally try, converted by Miloudi, sealed a 24-19 win and ensured that Toronto can’t be caught at the top with five games of the regular season remaining.