Andy Morgan and Harry Jones review the weekend’s action in matches that featured Wales internationals and hopefuls. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com
In Super League, Luke Thomas (pictured above with fellow Celt Matty Russell) and Gil Dudson both came off the bench for the unbeaten Warrington Wolves, who extended their winning run to six games with a comprehensive 38-0 victory over Castleford Tigers.
Meanwhile, in the NRL, Newcastle Knights got their first win of the year, with Tyson Frizell in their ranks and Welsh-qualified, Bradman Best crossing for his first try of the season in their 24-14 win against the Canberra Raiders.
Ben Evans came off the bench for Barrow Raiders as they recorded their first win of the Championship season, 16-12 against Halifax Panthers. Dalton Grant’s London Broncos side saw off the challenge of Swinton Lions, who had Mike Butt starting at full-back. Rhodri Lloyd, Gavin Bennion and Ollie Olds are all sidelined through injury for the Lions. Broncos won 16-14.
Championship pace-setters, Featherstone Rovers, once again had Caleb Aekins and Kyle Evans in their ranks, with Evans scoring his third try in two games to earn the 46-4 win over York RLFC Knights, for whom Bailey Antrobus once again started at prop.
Wales skipper Elliot Kear was also among the try scorers for Batley Bulldogs, who claimed a narrow 18-16 win from their trip to Whitehaven. But there was no success on the road for Josh Ralph and Toulouse Olympique XIII as they suffered a heavy 32-4 defeat at the hands of an impressive Sheffield Eagles. Chester Butler lined up alongside international teammate, Luis Roberts for Bradford Bulls, with Roberts appearing for Bradford on dual-registration from Leeds Rhinos. The Bulls lost 34-6 to Keighley Cougars.
Matty Fozard and Ant Walker helped Widnes Vikings to another win, this time 24-16 against Newcastle Thunder, who had Curtis Davies starting at hooker.
In League One, it was a bittersweet day for North Wales Crusaders winger, Rob Massam. He became just the 19th Welshman to score 200 first class tries but it was the Crusaders only points in an 18-4 defeat at home to Oldham. Josh Lynch and Owain Abel were also in the Crusaders line-up.
Jake Lloyd started with Harry Boots, Charley Bodman and Paul Bolger came off the subs bench as Cornwall secured an historic first win on home soil by hammering London Skolars 35-10, who had Shane Lee and Matt Ross in their matchday squad.
Owen Restall scored a hat-trick to move himself to the top of the League One try scoring charts, and maintain Dewsbury Rams’ position at the top of the table. Connor Davies also started for the Rams in their 52-4 demolition of Rochdale Hornets. Sam Bowring was part of a Midlands Hurricanes side who came out on the wrong side of a points-fest, as Workington Town emerged 38-28 victors.
LLAWN AMSER | FULL TIME
Full match report will follow soon. pic.twitter.com/5bjPFHMO4I
— NWCrusadersWheelchairRL&DisabilitySportsClub (@NWCWhRLandDSC) March 26, 2023
In the Betfred Wheelchair Championship, an injury-hit North Wales Crusaders claimed top spot in the table as they romped to a 96-6 victory over Rochdale Hornets. As the score suggests, the Crusaders were in control for the entirety of this encounter with player-coach Harry Jones crossing for his first of the afternoon with less than 20 seconds on the clock. Crusaders went into the break, 60-0 up following a Jones hat-trick, a Mason Baker try and Stephen Halsey setting a club record of 44 first half points via 6 tries and 10 conversions. Although the Crusaders took their feet off the gas a bit, the second half was much of the same with Baker crossing for a double to complete his hat-trick. Jonny Gill, playing just his second Wheelchair Rugby League game after impressing in a pre-season friendly against Warrington the week prior, scored a second-half brace. The game was full of drama with Rochdale receiving two cards, a yellow for a player and a red for a spectator due to match official abuse. However, wanting to play the game in high spirits, the Crusaders pleaded to the match officials that the Hornets would be able to bring on a substitute to keep the game at five-a-side. The Crusaders continued their control into the final stages of the game with Halsey crossing for his seventh of the afternoon, whilst Jones crossed in the dying moments for the final score of the game. Halsey completed a rare 100% conversion rate in the game as he managed to score all 16 conversion attempts in what was a Player of the Match performance for the captain. The game also saw a brief appearance for Wales’ World Cup head coach Stephen Jones who was named on the interchange bench for the Crusaders. It was the first time since 2014 that father and son duo, Stephen and Harry Jones played on the same side.