Ian Golden, Harry Jones and Andy Morgan review the weekend’s action in matches that featured Wales internationals and hopefuls. Pic: Mark Stringer
Fern Davies made a welcome return to the country after working in the Czech Republic all year. She scored a try for Warrington Wolves in the Women’s Super League but couldn’t prevent defeat to St Helens. Keira McCosh was also on the Warrington team sheet. In a Challenge Cup semi-final rehearsal, Leeds Rhinos sent a clear message to Wigan Warriors as they won 60-0. Bethan Dainton was amongst the try scorers for Leeds with Carys Marsh, who like Dainton was returning after a head injury, playing for Wigan. Finally, Emily Hughes came off the bench for London Broncos as they beat The Army 40-10 in Super League South.
In Australia, Welsh-qualified, Bradman Best made his State of Origin debut for New South Wales and marked it with two tries in a win over Queensland. The Maroons claimed the series 2-1 despite defeat in game three. At the weekend, in the NSW Cup, Sam Hughes and Harry Hayes were in the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs reserves side who won 44-16 away at South Sydney Rabbitohs.
In the men’s Betfred Super League, Gil Dudson was in the Warrington Wolves side that lost out to champions, St. Helens. Luis Roberts returned to the matchday squad for Leeds Rhinos as they continued their recent run of good form with a win at Salford Red Devils. In Super League reserves, Leeds were also victors over Salford, winning 36-22. Jacob Lee came off the bench for Salford and scored a try, with Billy Walkley, Joe Coope-Franklin and Finley Yates also turning out.
Featherstone Rovers continue to dominate the Championship. Caleb Aekins and former Wales captain, Craig Kopczak were in the Rovers team that hammered Swinton Lions, who included Mike Butt and Gavin Bennion in the team. Josh Ralph couldn’t inspire Toulouse Olympique XIII to success in London, as the Broncos continued their own play-off push with an impressive victory.
Bailey Antrobus was in the York Knights team who secured two points with a resounding win at Keighley Cougars. The Cougars have some breathing space over the sides at the bottom, including Newcastle Thunder, despite a second successive home win for Curtis Davies and his teammates in the north-east. Dan Fleming was among the replacements for Halifax Panthers as they were on the end of a 42-0 defeat at the hands of Batley Bulldogs.
𝗠𝗼𝗻𝗱𝗮𝘆 𝗠𝗼𝘁𝗶𝘃𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 💪
— Cornwall RLFC (@CornwallRLFC) July 10, 2023
In Betfred League One, North Wales Crusaders were edged out in their trip to Oldham, with Rob Massam in the Crusaders side. Ieuan Badham scored a try in Cornwall’s win against London Skolars, as they recorded their first ever league double as a club. Ewan Badham, Jake Lloyd and Harry Boots all played their part in the historic win. Sam Haynes played in Rochdale’s defeat away to Workington Town, with Sam Bowring featuring for Midlands Hurricanes as they lost to Hunslet.
It was a good weekend for Martin Lane. Playing for Hereford Harriers on Saturday in the RFL Wheelchair Western League, he and fellow Wales international Gary Preece pretty much ran the show against Torfaen Tigers. Lane scored four tries in their 61-2 win whilst Preece scored twice, kicked ten conversions and landed a drop-goal. Playing on loan for Hereford, Seb Groves scored twice. Alex Powell kicked the penalty for Torfaen who also fielded Wales internationals Jason Reynolds and Lee Sargent.
Lane then played for Wigan Warriors on Sunday in Super League and scored five tries in their 70-20 win over Hull FC. On Saturday, Welsh players were again the match-winners as Scott Trigg-Turner scored two tries and Jason Owen once as London Roosters sneaked home 36-30 against a Leeds Rhinos side who fielded Wales star Jodie Boyd-Ward.
It was a doubleheader for North Wales Crusaders’ wheelchair sides as both their first and ‘A’ teams took a trip to Yorkshire to take on both Sheffield Eagles sides at the EIS, home of the Welsh national side at RLWC last year. The first team game ended in a 66-14 win for the Crusaders, who dominated for almost the entirety of the 80 minutes. There was a first half hat-trick for Lucie Roberts whilst fellow internationals Harry Jones and Stephen Halsey grabbed a try each with the latter adding all the extras. Mason Baker, Ricki Davies and break-out talent, Johnathan Gill all played instrumental roles for the away side as they led 30-4 at half-time. The second half was much of the same as Roberts added her fourth and Halsey added three more tries in less than 20 minutes. Jones and Halsey each added another with the latter completing a one hundred percent success rate from the tee, slotting 11 from 11. Following Crusaders’ victory, the Welsh side now know that a draw or victory in any of their final two games will secure them the Championship League Leaders Shield.
In the earlier clash of the A sides, Crusaders won 40-18 after being 24-4 up at half-time. Captain Wyatt Jones scored a brace of tries, as did Jack Atkins, whilst Jakub Wasieczko, Martin Turner and Jess Booth all crossed for one each. Turner added the conversions.