Ian Golden, Harry Jones and Barry Andrews review the weekend’s action in matches that featured Wales internationals and hopefuls. Pic: Dewsbury Rams
All six North Wales Crusaders Wheelchair players were fully capped Welsh internationals when they recorded a club record win on Sunday, hammering Bradford Bulls 118-6 victory, securing them the Championship League Leaders Shield, and showing just why they should still be in the Betfred Wheelchair Super League. Lucie Roberts got the Crusaders on the board within the opening minutes of the encounter, the flood gates then opened for the Crusaders as the soon-to-be departing Stuart Williams crossing for a try whilst fellow Wales teammates Harry Jones and Stephen Halsey managing a brace, with the latter managing nine conversions, with Roberts managing a further three tries to her first half tally taking the Crusaders to an unassailable 54-0 lead at the break. The second half was very much the same with the Crusaders continuing their display of dominance through Stephen Halsey adding a further five tries and 10 conversions to his tally whilst Lucie Roberts, Stuart Williams and Ricki Davies all crossing for a try-a-piece in the half whilst Wales Wheelchair’s record cap holder, Harry Jones added a further three tries for his side. Mason Baker was also in the Crusaders side. Welsh internationals John Doyle, Gary Taylor, Alan Caron and Gary Preece were all part of the first round of the WRL Wheelchair Development League, full details of which can be found here. Caron, now the Wales head coach, along with former Wales head coach Alana Sargent took dual roles on Sunday in this league, playing in one game and refereeing another.
Owen Restall and Connor Davies were crowned men’s Betfred League One champions this week as Dewsbury Rams (pictured) comfortably beat Workington Town. Restall topped off a great day with a try. Rob Massam helped North Wales Crusaders’ play-off push as they beat Doncaster by six points. Cornwall had four Welsh players in their matchday 17 with George Mitchell, Ewan Badham, Ieuan Badham and Jake Lloyd all playing but unfortunately were unable to help the side in the heavy defeat to Oldham. Matt Ross suffered a defeat with London Skolars against Midland Hurricanes.
In the Betfred Super League, Luis Roberts was part of the starting XIII for Leeds in their defeat versus this week’s men’s Challenge Cup finalists, Leigh Leopards. Luke Thomas played on loan at Hull KR and came off the bench in the other Cup finalists’ loss at Wigan Warriors. Gil Dudson was once again a starter for Warrington Wolves but couldn’t help his side in the defeat to Catalan Dragons. In the Super League Reserves, George Birch, Dafydd Morgan, Dylan Morgan and Alex Banks played for London Broncos in their heavy defeat to St Helens. Salford Red Devils Reserves contained five Welsh players in Billy Walkley, Mason Phillips, Jake Lee, Charlie Glover and Fin Yates. The Red Devils went on to beat Newcastle Thunder with Walkley getting the first try of the match.
Winner Winner 🥇
We’ve finished our @SuperLeague south run undefeated 🔥
Thanks to @BroncosLadies for an exciting end to end game, we wish you good luck for your semi final against @ArmyRugbyLeague next weekend 🤜🏼🤛🏼#WomensRugbyLeague #CardiffDemons #WSLS #Round7 pic.twitter.com/OtmLryh4Qb
— Cardiff Demons RLFC (@CardiffDemons) August 5, 2023
In the Women’s Super League, Carys Marsh was in action for an improving Wigan Warriors side who suffered a narrow loss at home to Cup finalists St Helens. They take on Leeds Rhinos this Saturday at Wembley Stadium, with Bethan Dainton one of a number of players rested by Rhinos as they went down 20-16 at home to Huddersfield Giants. Keira McCosh was in the Leigh Leopards side as they narrowly lost at Featherstone Rovers. In the final weekend of the regular season in the Women’s Super League South, Eleri Michael scored two tries, one of which was converted by Shaunni Davies, as Cardiff Demons edged a 10-8 win at London Broncos. Captaining the Cardiff side was Leanne Burnell with fellow Wales internationals Rosie Carr, Rhi Parker, Katie Carr, Joeann McGuire, Molly Reardon, Charlie Mundy and Lauren Aitken also starring. Emily Hughes was in the London side.
In the men’s Betfred Championship Caleb Aekins and Craig Kopczak were part of the Featherstone Rovers side that suffered only their second defeat of the season, this time to Halifax Panthers, who warmed up nicely for this Saturday’s 1895 Cup Final. Kopczak did find himself on the scoresheet but ultimately wasn’t enough. Halifax will take on Batley Bulldogs this Saturday and they didn’t prepare well, with Elliot Kear started for them in their heavy defeat to Bradford Bulls. Swinton Lions picked up a much-needed victory with the Welsh trio of Rhodri Lloyd, Gavin Bennion and Mike Butt part of the starting XIII in their win against Keighley Cougars. Dalton Grant was part of the victorious London Broncos side as they beat Barrow Raiders who included Ben Evans off the bench. Grant also went over the try line in his side’s 26-6 victory. Anthony Walker and Matty Fozard helped Widnes Vikings play-off push with a 50-6 victory over Newcastle Thunder who included Curtis Davies.
Finally, in the NRL, the Welsh-qualified duo of Bradman Best and Tyson Frizell made it five wins in a row for Newcastle Knights as they beat the Dolphins by just two points.