Ian Golden, Harry Jones and Barry Andrews review the weekend’s action in matches that featured Wales internationals and hopefuls. Pic: SW Pix.
It was semi-final weekend in the English rugby league and we were guaranteed a finalist in two out of the three competitions. The only question was “who would qualify?”
In the Women’s Betfred Challenge Cup, Bethan Dainton‘s Leeds Rhinos qualified at the expense of Carys Marsh‘s Wigan Warriors, winning 16-4. The Caerphilly-born dual-code international is set to be the first Welsh international in a Women’s Challenge Cup Final and the first Wales Women’s international to play at Wembley Stadium, as Leeds v St Helens opens finals day on August 12.
Elliot Kear was the other semi-final winner. He helped Batley Bulldogs reach Wembley for the first time in their history as they claimed victory in the 1895 Cup semi-final beating York Knights, whose side included Bailey Antrobus. They face Halifax Panthers in the final at Wembley on August 12 in the third of three senior finals at the Stadium that day.
Owen Restall was part of the Dewsbury Rams starting XIII and player of the match Connor Davies came off the bench as their side extended their unbeaten run in the Betfred League One to 15 games. This time the side on the end of the defeat were North Wales Crusaders, where Owain Abel scored their only points, with Josh Lynch and Rob Massam also in the side. Ewan Badham, Ieuan Badham and Jake Lloyd were all part of the Cornwall side that were defeated by Workington Town. Sam Bowring came off the bench and bagged himself a try in the Midland Hurricanes’ shock win against Doncaster.
In Super League reserves, Luke Thomas was in the Warrington Wolves’ side as they narrowly lost 22-18 at Wakefield Trinity. James McGurk played for Newcastle Thunder in their home defeat to Leeds Rhinos, for whom Luis Roberts scored a brace of tries.
Bradman Best continued his try-scoring form after going over the line once again in Newcastle Knights’ victory over Melbourne Storm. Tyson Frizell also starred in the victory. Harry Hayes was also on the scoresheet but he couldn’t stop Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs reserves losing to their Penrith Panthers counterparts in the NSW Cup. That was a curtain raiser to the two clubs meeting in the NRL and Sam Hughes came off the bench for Bulldogs’ first team but they also went down to the Panthers.
Finally, Mark Williams made a 30-minute cameo for Wigan Warriors ‘A’ as they looked to catch up to Betfred Wheelchair Championship front runners North Wales Crusaders. A try for the international helped his side to a 48-46 victory over Bradford Bulls. This victory secured Wigan a guaranteed finish of at least second in the table.