10th June 2019, 09:07 | championship

Betfred Championship round-up

Betfred Championship round-up

Toulouse Olympique pulled themselves further in front of the rest of the Betfred Championship’s play-off hopefuls with an 18-25 victory over York City Knights. 

The Knights led with five minutes remaining in a back-and-forth affair, but it would swing one more time with a try from Mathieu Jussaume and a conversion and drop-goal from William Barthau.

Featherstone Rovers continued their terrific form notching a fifth consecutive victory overcoming Sheffield as the Eagles’ slide down the table continues. Cameron King notched a brace while Dale Ferguson, Tom Holmes, Josh Hardcastle and James Harrison helped the Rovers climb to 3rdin the Betfred Championship.

Toronto remain in control of the league however sitting six points clear of Toulouse following their 14-34 win over Swinton Lions. The Wolfpack started well leading 0-16 at half-time and never looked back despite the best efforts of Stuart Littler’s side. Ricky Leutele scored a double however it was Swinton’s Rob Fairclough who was voted as the Our League Man of the Match.

Dewsbury Rams were the biggest winners in the Championship this past weekend as they hammered strugglers Rochdale Hornets 66-10. Halfback Liam Finn crossed the 500 points barrier for the Rams with eleven successful conversions.

Widnes have now won three games inside nine days and made it back-to-back Championship victories at home to Barrow. Jayden Hatton – who crossed for a hat-trick in midweek’s AB Sundecks 1895 Cup game – went over for a double as Widnes moved further away from the relegation places. 

Leigh earned a dominant win over Halifax at Leigh Sports Village to keep themselves up to pace with the other play-off contenders while Bradford returned to winning ways against Batley to keep themselves in contention. 

Another terrific weekend of action in the Betfred Championship also brought up a significant attendance milestone for the competition.

The total of 15,278 spectators who watched this weekend’s seven fixtures took the total for the 2019 season to an impressive 255,200.

That means the cumulative attendance is already more than 12,000 higher than for the whole of the 2018 Championship campaign – with only 16 of the 27 rounds of matches played. 

Of course, comparisons will become difficult as the season goes on, because the Championship ended after 23 rounds last season, breaking for the Super Eights. 

But the figures underline the growing appeal of the Betfred Championship competition. 

Bradford Bulls, Leigh Centurions and Widnes Vikings each attracted attendances of more than 3,000 for their Round 16 fixtures against Batley, Halifax and Barrow respectively – all home wins.

York City Knights continued their excellent campaign on and off the field with a gate of 1,656 at Bootham Crescent to see their titanic struggle with second-placed Toulouse on Saturday. 

And there were also significant four-figure attendances for Sheffield Eagles at home to Featherstone Rovers – helped by a substantial travelling support for Ryan Carr’s form team – and for Swinton Lions at home to Toronto Wolfpack, rewarding the Lions for their energetic marketing of the fixture. 

The attendance figures are set to receive a further boost through June and July, with Toronto hosting Dewsbury, Toulouse, Halifax and Featherstone, and a trio of blockbuster fixtures for Bradford against Leigh, Widnes and Halifax.