Championship round-up: Halifax Panthers and Featherstone Rovers win to nil after Batley Bulldogs secured dramatic victory over Toulouse
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Lachlan Walmsley did most of the damage for the Panthers in their 60-0 victory over the Cumbrians at The Shay, as the flying Scotsman went over four times.
James Woodburn-Hall helped himself to a double, as did Eribe Doro, while James Saltonstall, Ben Kavanagh, and Jacob Fairbank all got on the trysheet.
It only took three minutes for the league’s top scorer to open his - and Fax’s - account at The Shay, going over in the corner after great work by Louis Jouffret, Woodburn-Hall and Ben Tibbs.
He was over again eight minutes later, this time Joe Keyes was the architect with a brilliant grubber kick which fell kindly into the winger’s arms.
Jouffret then assisted Saltonstall as Fax stormed into a 16-0 lead after only 14 minutes. They had to wait 20 minutes for their next score and when it came, it was the France international at the heart of the action again, this time supplying Woodburn-Hall. And the Jamaica international completed the first half scoring with his second of the game just before the hooter after slicing his way through the Haven defence for a 26-0 half-time lead.
But Simon Grix’s men simply carried on from where they left off in the first half as Walmsley notched his hattrick on 42 minutes after Keyes raced away following a Whitehaven error.
Another Keyes grubber was touched down by Kavanagh before Doro got his first by going under the sticks.
Keyes, involved in everything good about Fax’s display, then set up Fairbank with a sublime dummy before Doro powered over to take the score above 50.
And Walmsley completed the rout with a trademark solo 95 metre run to complete a comfortable triumph.
Next up, the world champions, St Helens, in the last-16 of the Challenge Cup.
It is now eleven wins from eleven Championship games, with their lead at the top of the table stretching to six points.
Gale went 80 metres for the first try of the encounter at the DCBL Stadium before Jack Bussey slipped through a gap to extend the lead.
Gale, from closer range, got his second soon after, albeit in far more spectacular fashion, flying through the air to eventually touch down in the corner, to make it 16-0.
And the winger was soon celebrating his treble, showing incredible energy again, this time running 90 metres before touching down.
Only two further tries followed in the second half, from Craig Hall and Connor Jones, as Fev eased to victory.
The drama of the Championship came 24 hours earlier at the Fox’s Biscuits Stadium, as Batley produced a miraculous comeback to beat Toulouse 17-16, having been 10-16 down deep into the second half.
There was no sign of any drama early on when Batey stormed into a 10-0 lead thanks to tries from Elliot Kear and Aidan McGowan.
But Toulouse fought back to lead 10-12 at the break courtesy of efforts from Mathieu Jussaume and Robin Brochon, the latter running over 40 metres before going over.
And the French visitors extended their advantage when Wales international Josh Ralph crossed the whitewash. Crucially, however, the conversion attempt was missed.
And, as ever with the Bulldogs, their never-say-die attitude came to fruition again as Leeds Rhinos star Luke Hooley linked up well with McGowan and the Huddersfield Giants loanee did the rest. Hooley successfully kicked the conversion to make it a tied game at 16-16.
But there was still time for Josh Woods, with nerves of steel, to kick a sensational drop-goal to give Batley the two points and put them level on points with their opponents.
In Saturday’s other game, London Broncos beat Barrow Raiders 3-16.
In the other Championship games today (Sunday), there were wins for Bradford Bulls (44-38 against Swinton Lions), Sheffield Eagles at Keighley Cougars and York at home to Newcastle.