Rugby League


31 Mar 2024

Betfred Championship Round Up | Round 2

Betfred Championship Round Up | Round 2

The Easter weekend saw an action-packed Betfred Championship as some of the competition’s most fierce rivals faced off in Round 2.

Six huge derbies took place on Good Friday where an all-important two points and bragging rights were at stake, as emotions heightened between the sides in front of bumper crowds.

Sheffield, Wakefield, Widnes and Whitehaven would all go on to triumph on Friday night, claiming two wins from two, whilst Bradford and Dewsbury recorded their first victories of the new campaign.

Over in South Yorkshire, Sheffield Eagles made it back-to-back league wins with a close win over Doncaster. It was a ding dong battle at the Eco-Power Stadium in the first forty - the Eagles edging it by the narrowest of margins, 12-14.

An early try in the second half from Joe Lovodua and a penalty goal would put the Dons six points in front heading into the last quarter, but two tries in four minutes from Kris Welham and Matty Dawson-Jones in each corner allowed Mark Aston’s men to regain the lead.

Leading by six, the Eagles managed to hold out until the hooter and claim their second win of the season.

History almost repeated itself in West Yorkshire when Featherstone hosted Wakefield in a bruising battle at the Millenium Stadium. In rainy and muddy conditions, a gutsy affair unfolded between the two sides, similar to that of their Fifth Round Challenge Cup clash just a few weeks ago.

But it was Trinity who were able to avenge their earlier defeat, as a Lachlan Walmsley hat-trick with three acrobatic finishes ensured they would register a hard-fought 20-12 win and the derby spoils.

Meanwhile, Dewsbury Rams came out on top in the Heavy Woollen Derby, consigning their local rivals Batley to their second defeat of the season.

Dale Ferguson’s men produced an emphatic performance on their home patch, racking up a 24-0 lead with tries from Curtis Davies, Perry Whiteley and a brace from Huddersfield Giants loanee Jack Billington.

The scores were 6-0 to Dewsbury at half-time – the Bulldogs having applied a great amount of pressure in the opening half. But a thoroughly impressive display from the Rams in both attack and defence meant the hosts were able to overcome their opposition and secure a memorable derby win.

The Bulldogs did go over for a consolation try on the eightieth minute through Joe Burton, but it was to be Dewsbury’s night.

A Good Friday showdown played out at Bartercard Odsal, as Bradford Bulls went head-to-head with bitter rivals Halifax Panthers in their home opener.

It was a tight contest to begin with; the Bulls narrowly leading 12-10 at half-time. And as Bradford continued to dominate for large parts of the second half, two tries from Max Wood and Zac Fulton would seal a superb win for Eamon O’Carroll’s men.

Over the Pennines, Widnes enjoyed a 28-10 victory over Swinton Lions and back-to-back home wins, as the Vikings continue to occupy top spot of the league table following the first two rounds.

Allan Coleman’s side have shown they mean business where the 2024 Championship competition is concerned, as they ran in five tries against Coleman’s former side, including a brace from Ryan Ince.

And the Cumbrian derby did not disappoint with a nail-biting contest occurring between Whitehaven and Barrow.

The Raiders were confidently leading 12-22, but a comeback saw the hosts overturn this deficit, as two tries in quick succession from Whitehaven's Ryan King and Jake Maizen levelled the scores with twenty minutes left on the clock.

The last fifteen would prove to be an unbearable watch – the nerves evident for both sides as neither could come up with another score.

Five minutes from time, it was Jake Carter who would come back to haunt his former club, as the Haven half-back slotted over a drop-goal in dramatic fashion to extend his side’s unbeaten start to the season. Barrow however, would go on to suffer an agonising defeat on derby day.

On Easter Sunday, fans were in for a treat when York Knights v Toulouse Olympique was streamed live on SuperLeague+

In the end, it was a comfortable 14-20 victory for the French side despite both Harrison Hansen and Sitaleki Akauola being sent from the field. Maxime Stefani crossed for a double for the visitors before Guy Armitage also went over. The Knights did mount a late comeback with efforts from Joe Brown and Jesse Dee in the closing stages but they had left themselves just too much to do.

Betfred Championship Round 2 results:

Widnes Vikings 28 Swinton Lions 10

Doncaster RLFC 20 Sheffield Eagles 26

Whitehaven RLFC 23 Barrow Raiders 22

Dewsbury Rams 24 Batley Bulldogs 4

Featherstone Rovers 12 Wakefield Trinity 20

Bradford Bulls 29 Halifax Panthers 10

York Knights 14 Toulouse Olympique 20

The full fixture list for the Betfred Championship and all of the relevant information and kick-off times can be found here.

Photo Credit: Ben Challis and Whitehaven RLFC