Ian Golden, Harry Jones and Andy Morgan review the weekend’s action in matches that featured Wales internationals and hopefuls.
Yet again, North Wales Crusaders dominated their Wheelchair Championship match, beating former champions Bradford Bulls 118-8, equalling their all-time record win margin. No less than 70 of those points came from Stephen Halsey, a record for the club in an individual game, which takes him to over 200 points scored in just four games this season. Harry Jones also created history by becoming the first player to reach 100 appearances for the club.
Halsey scored eight of the Crusaders’ 20 tries and converted 19 of them in an outstanding performance as the Crusaders registered their ninth win in a row, a record that goes back to last season’s Middle 5 play-offs. He and Wales captain Stuart Williams, dominated the first half, scoring all bar four of the points between them, Ricki Davies adding the remaining try. The second half was very much the same as the Crusaders continued their dominance with Lucie Roberts, back for her first game of the campaign, scoring a hat-trick of tries. Jakub ‘Kuba’ Wasieczko crossed for a solitary score in what was a star-making performance for the 14-year-old, who can qualify for not only Wales but for England, Poland and Ukraine. Davies crossed for his second of the afternoon, with Jones crossing for a solitary try. The play of the game came when Jones performed a no-look cross-field kick for Halsey to gather one-handed and ground in the corner.
Cardiff Demons fought hard for their first-ever Women’s Challenge Cup victory, winning 12-8 away at Salford Red Devils. Returning to the side following the Wigan loss a fortnight earlier, were Katie Carr, Rosie Carr, Charlie Mundy, Molly Reardon and Amberley Ruck and it was the latter who led the way with a try and two goals. Fellow Wales international Lauren Aitken scored the winning try with three minutes left on the clock. Other Wales internationals to star were Leanne Burnell, Eleri Michael, Rhi Parker, Sara Jones, Ffion Jones, Shaunni Davies and Molly Reardon. The whole of the Cardiff side were Welsh qualified, with Sophie Peters, Amy Price, Sophie Solari and Ffion Jenkins being the only uncapped players in the Cardiff 17.
Elsewhere, Carys Marsh was in the Wigan side who beat Featherstone Rovers 12-10 to give them a quarter-final place. Emily Hughes scored a try for London Broncos, but couldn’t stop them crashing out of the Cup with an away defeat at Warrington Wolves.
.@SalfordDevils have started strong against the Rhinos 👏#SuperLeague #SLLeeSal pic.twitter.com/WMtnC3KGy7
— Betfred Super League (@SuperLeague) May 5, 2023
In the men’s game, Rhys Williams opened the try scoring for Salford Red Devils as they recorded a memorable win over Leeds Rhinos at Emerald Headingley in the Betfred Super League. It was his 192nd career try, which includes a record 22 for Wales, 159 in the English league system, plus 11 for Central Queensland Capras in the Queensland Cup.
In the Championship, Caleb Aekins scored the match-clinching score for Featherstone Rovers against Sheffield Eagles, as the Rovers, who also fielded Craig Kopczak, extended their lead at the top of the table. Toulouse Olympique XIII lead the chasing pack, but Josh Ralph and his teammates came unstuck against Swinton Lions, who had Rhodri Lloyd and Ollie Olds in the team for a 19-12 win over the French club.
Curtis Davies couldn’t prevent Newcastle Thunder losing comfortably to Halifax Panthers, while there was also disappointment for Luis Roberts and Chester Butler, as the duo were in the starting line-up for Bradford Bulls as they were hammered at Barrow Raiders. Roberts crossed for a first-half try, not long after returning from the sin-bin. In the Monday night match, Batley Bulldogs, starring Elliot Kear, secured a narrow 11-4 win over Widnes Vikings. Matty Fozard started for Widnes, with Ant Walker coming off the bench.
In League One, Sion Jones enjoyed success as Rochdale Hornets hosted North Wales Crusaders, who had Rob Massam among their try scorers in defeat. Sam Bowring came off the bench for Midlands Hurricanes as they secured a home win against London Skolars. Harry Boots, Charley Bodman and Ewan Badham were all on the losing side for Cornwall against Oldham.
And in Australia, there was Welsh representation at Magic Round with Sam Hughes starting on the bench for Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs as they lost 34-30 to Canberra Raiders in the opening game. Harry Hayes was on the scoresheet for Bulldogs reserves in their 14-all draw with Canberra.