Challenge Cup round-up: Comprehensive third round wins for Halifax Panthers, Batley Bulldogs and Featherstone Rovers

Halifax Panthers, Batley Bulldogs and Featherstone Rovers all romped to comprehensive victories in the third round of the Challenge Cup this afternoon (Sunday).
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The Panthers beat fellow Championship outfit Whitehaven 32-4, while nine tries from nine different scorers helped the Bulldogs to a comfortable 48-18 success at home to Workington Town.

Rovers recorded the biggest victory of the day, running in 13 tries in a 72-0 demolition of Thatto Heath Crusaders.

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It didn’t take long for Fax to open the scoring at The Shay with Joe Keyes going over for the first of his two tries after only three minutes following great work by the Ben’s - Kavanagh and Crooks.

Joe Keyes goes over for Halifax Panthers in their big Challenge Cup win over Whitehaven. (Photo credit: Simon Hall).Joe Keyes goes over for Halifax Panthers in their big Challenge Cup win over Whitehaven. (Photo credit: Simon Hall).
Joe Keyes goes over for Halifax Panthers in their big Challenge Cup win over Whitehaven. (Photo credit: Simon Hall).

Three minutes later and they were over again with Louis Jouffret finding a gap before the lead was extended even further when Greg Eden played in Crooks.

And, by the halfway point of the first half, it was 22-0 and game over as Keyes got his second, mainly courtesy of a great dummy.

The visitors pulled a try back before the half time hooter thanks to Curtis Teare. And they defended well throughout the second half to stall Fax until two tries in the final five minutes added gloss to the scoreline.

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Eden again was the creator for Crooks before Gareth Widdop, on his home debut, produced a superb kick for the returning James Saltonstall to collect magnificently, stay in the field of play and power over.

With Fax’s hopes of competing in the latter stages of the 1895 Cup - which they won last year - left hanging by a thread, this victory was important in ensuring another competitive outing before their league campaign begins against Dewsbury Rams on Sunday, March 17. They will take on Hammersmith Hills Hoists at The Shay in the fourth round.

Batley carried on from where they left off last weekend in their thrilling 15-14 win over Featherstone in the 1895 Cup by seeing off Workington to set up a fourth round tie with Rochdale Hornets.

There was no looking back for the Bulldogs as Robbie Butterworth powered over early on. The full back then turned provider for Dale Morton before Alistair Leak received the ball from Lucas Walshaw, threw a dummy and found a gap for his side’s third try of the afternoon.

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Leak then produced an assist for hometown boy Luke Cooper who scored his second try in as many games by gliding through a static visitors defence.

22-0 and Batley showed no signs of slowing down. Walshaw got in on the act himself despite the best efforts of three Town defenders before Ben White and Nyle Flynn completed the first half scoring, 40-0, much to Workington’s relief.

The visitors regrouped for the second half and responded with tries from Grant Reid and Chris Taylor before Kieran Buchanan latched onto a White grubber kick with George Senior completing the scoring after Workington had pulled another back.

Fev responded well from their defeat at the Fox’s Biscuits Stadium with a thoroughly commanding victory over amateur side Thatto Heath.

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Tomas Lacans helped himself to a hattrick while Manoa Wacokecoke and Gareth Gale both grabbed a double apiece. Brad Day, Greg Minikin, Ben Reynolds, Caleb Aekins, Danny Addy and Connor Jones all went over as well to complete a 72-0 victory.

Seven tries were scored before the half time hooter and all seven were converted. Day got the ball rolling in the fifth minute after finding a gap in the home side’s defence before Wacokecoke, who scored in Fev’s defeat at Batley, made it two in two after a great pass from Josh Hardcastle.

Gale got his first after lovely play from Minikin before the latter went over Reynolds had bolted free. Reynolds then went over himself after Aekins broke away before Fev finished the half with two tries in as many minutes for the superb Lacans.

42-0 up at the break but Fev stepped on it yet again in the second half with Wacokecoke getting his second, although Harry Bowes missed the game’s first conversion.

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Keenen Tomlinson then played in Aekins which was successfully converted by Hardcastle, although he couldn’t add the extras when Addy powered over with 12 minutes remaining.

It was an onslaught from the visitors and there was still time for three more tries in the final ten minutes. Gale got his second, though Lacans went one better with the treble soon after. Jones rounded off a thoroughly one sided affair by finishing a slick move, as Fev set up a fourth round clash at Keighley Cougars, who beat Hunslet 22-14 this afternoon.

In today’s other games, there were wins for York over Dewsbury, Bradford over North Wales Crusaders, Swinton over West Hull and Widnes over Doncaster.

Fourth round ties will take place over the weekend of February 24 and 25.