28th May 2020, 13:01 | championship
Although the magic of the Betfred Championship Summer Bash is on ice for this year, Sky Sports are broadcasting six Bash classics in full over the weekend, so we thought we'd cast our minds back to six memorable Bash moments from through the years...
In 2016, Leigh Centurions and Bradford Bulls were battling it out with the hope of promotion to Super League and they met at the Summer Bash with both looking to earn a crucial two points.
What followed was brilliant.
The Bulls raced into a 10-0 lead inside the first ten minutes and looked well on their way to a comfortable victory. However, tries from Liam Kay, Adam Higson and one from Josh Drinkwater following the break put Leigh in front.
An end-to-end dynamic continued as Adam O’Brien closed the gap before Danny Addy’s try and subsequent Oscar Thomas conversion looked to have sealed a late comeback victory for the Bulls.
However, Leigh’s hometown hero Micky Higham had different ideas. With just two minutes remaining, Drinkwater put a low kick in behind the posts and it was hooker Higham who was quickest to the react planting the ball down in front of the Leigh fans behind the sticks.
It turned out to be the match-winning try extending Leigh’s unbeaten run to 14 matches with the Centurions going on to earn promotion to Super League later that season.
Two years ago, Toronto Wolfpack and Leigh Centurions were paired up at the Summer Bash in a fixture which already had a lot of build-up with numerous former Centurions featuring for Toronto as well as former Leigh Head Coach Paul Rowley now leading the Wolfpack.
Leigh went into half-time ahead, 16-6. Nathan Mason’s early try had been cancelled out by Josh McCrone but first half tries from Ben Crooks and Jamie Acton meant that the Centurions had a ten-point lead at the break.
Despite Gareth O’Brien’s early second half score, Leigh remained in control as Jack Owens crossed just before the hour-mark. This meant the Centurions were taking a 26-12 lead into the final quarter of the game and looked to be on their way to victory.
But Toronto hadn’t come all the way to Blackpool to lie down.
Nick Rawsthorne scored in the 63rd minute to give Toronto a glimmer of hope and when Olsi Krasniqi crashed over three minutes later a glimmer turned into a very real opportunity.
With less than four minutes remaining Toronto went on the attack once more and when they created an opening on the left-hand side it was a former Centurion in Cory Paterson who stepped his way over to score a match-levelling try.
Another former Leigh man in Ryan Brierley slotted over a far from standard conversion to ensure Toronto earned a memorable 28-26 victory.
While there has been a wide array of fixture match-ups in Blackpool, the only constant between 2015 and this year’s event has been the Heavy Woolen derby between Batley Bulldogs and Dewsbury Rams.
It is yet to disappoint with no more than seven points ever separating the sides at Bloomfield Road. In 2017, the difference was just one point as the Rams edged out the Bulldogs in the final game of the Summer Bash.
Dewsbury led inside the first five minutes thanks to a James Glover penalty, but they couldn’t further this lead despite Dominic Brambani being put in the sin-bin for Batley. Brambani would re-enter and make an immediate impact as put Danny Cowling over.
A second Glover conversion levelled the scores, but Batley would go into the break ahead as Wayne Reittie broke free. James Harrison’s try after half-time put the Bulldogs eight points ahead and on course for victory.
Aaron Brown’s try ten minutes inside the second half alongside a conversion and penalty from Glover levelled the scores before experienced halfback Paul Sykes gave them the lead via a drop-goal with 30 minutes still remaining.
The Rams went into the final ten minutes with the slenderest of leads and were under fire. Brambani skewed a penalty goal and drop-goal attempt before Cain Southernwood also sliced wide as Dewsbury held out for a hard-fought win.
At 2016’s event both Oldham and Swinton were making their debuts as Championship sides at the Summer Bash following promotion from League 1.
And, it only made sense for them to go head-to-head in a Greater Manchester derby.
Oldham got the better of the early stages and ran into a huge 20-0 lead before half-time with tries from Kenny Hughes, Danny Langtree and Adam Files. Lewis Palfrey slotted all three conversion as well as an additional penalty goal.
But, as the Roughyeds had in the first half, Swinton would dominate after the interval and score 24 unanswered points through Macauley Hallett, Chris Atkin, Rhodri Lloyd and Matty Beharrell to take the lead.
Adam Clay would level the scores for Oldham, but Palfrey’s missed conversion tied the game up at 24-24.
Up step Beharrell. The half-back received the ball under pressure from a number of Oldham defenders but maintained his composure to kick the winning drop-goal for the Lions.
In 2018, Featherstone were looking to avenge a 37-0 hammering against Halifax at the Summer Bash two years prior and they came just five minutes away.
A late fightback and a try from man of the moment Scott Murrell meant it was ‘Fax who once again took the points.Murrell opened the scoring after ten minutes before Steve Tyrer furthered Halifax’s lead with a try, two conversions and a successful penalty goal.
However, Featherstone would put themselves ahead with a flurry of quickfire tries scoring three times in just four minutes. Gareth Hock, Anthony Thackeray and Matty Wildie all went over in succession with Ian Hardman kicking three conversions to give Rovers the advantage.
With five minutes remaining, Ben Johnson scored for Halifax and Shane Grady’s conversion edged them ahead before cult hero Murrell jumped from hooker, put through a low kick and regathered the ball himself to score and cap off a brilliant ‘Fax victory.
'Fax were at it again last year, where they faced a brutal task against their West Yorkshire rival Bradford Bulls.
The final game of a memorable day one didn't disappoint, as the lead changed hands no less than six times over a brutal 80 minutes, with Bradford hitting the front early on, no doubt buoyed by their monumental Coral Challenge Cup upset against Leeds the weekend before.
Halifax hit back, before the Bulls again led thanks to a score from Dalton Grant, and two goals from the boot of Elliot Minchella meant it was Bradford who led 14-12 at the break.
The scores remained locked for the first 20 minutes of the second period, before an Elliot Morris try, a Steve Tyrer goal and a drop-goal from that man, Scott Murrell, meant it would be Blue and Whites going home happy.
Watch six classic Summer Bash games this weekend, in-full, on Sky Sports Arena - starting on Saturday from 12:30.