Championship round-up: Wakefield Trinity continue unbeaten start as Halifax Panthers and Batley Bulldogs suffer heavy defeats

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Wakefield Trinity proved too strong for Swinton Lions to continue their perfect start to the Championship season, while Halifax Panthers and Batley Bulldogs suffered heavy defeats.

Trinity made it eight wins from eight league games with a 46-22 victory over a Swinton side which caused countless problems until a late flurry of tries gave the scoreline a one-sided look.

The Lions have already caused shocks in France, against Toulouse, and at The Shay, against Halifax, this season and they led 12-6 and 22-16 at Belle Vue as they looked to inflict Trin’s first defeat of their 2024 campaign. But the home side’s full-time stature, just as it did in last Sunday’s 1895 Cup semi-final win at Odsal, gave Wakey a helping hand.

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They raced into an early 6-0 lead thanks to a Josh Bowden try before Swinton hit back through Ritson and Mitch Cox to turn the game on its head. They then extended their lead through Gibson but Jermaine McGillvary got Wakefield back to within two points at 10-12 in the 32nd minute.

Halifax Panthers in action at York Knights. Photo by Simon Hall.Halifax Panthers in action at York Knights. Photo by Simon Hall.
Halifax Panthers in action at York Knights. Photo by Simon Hall.

And the home side’s momentum helped them grab a third try - scored by Luke Bain - before the hooter to send them into the sheds on top, 16-12.

Trinity were then rocked by Purcell’s try five minutes into the second half after a great run by Ritson before Rhys Williams intercepted a Max Jowitt pass to race down the field to make it 22-16.

Swinton were brought crashing back down to Earth when Toby Boothroyd crashed over moments later before Renouf Atoni got Trin’s noses back in front.

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The game was finely in the balance until three tries in the final ten minutes - from Jay Pitts, Ky Rodwell and Liam Kay - took the game away from the Lions, as Wakefield maintained their perfect start.

It has certainly not been a perfect start for Halifax who lost for a fifth consecutive game - this time against a York Knights side who leapfrogged them at the bottom of the table.

Starting the game in 12th place, Halifax slipped to 13th with only Dewsbury Rams now below them in the Championship standings after York won 40-18 at the LNER Community Stadium.

Fax were always on the back foot after AJ Towse broke free to give the hosts a perfect start after only two minutes. Then then fell further behind on 15 minutes when Ukama Ta’ai dived on a loose ball behind the sticks before a third try, this time from Josh Daley, made things harder for Fax.

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Adam Tangata pulled a try back before the hooter but the half-time deficit of 16-6 was soon extended to 22-6 within seconds of the restart when Davy Litten took advantage of James Saltonstall seemingly losing sight of the ball in the North Yorkshire sunshine.

Joe Brown raced 90 metres to make it 28-6 and Daley added another for 34-6. Ed Barber and Zach McComb made the scoreline a bit closer at 34-18 but a final try from Jimmy Keinhorst rubbed salt into Fax’s already open wounds, as their miserable start to the season continued.

Batley Bulldogs were also soundly beaten as newly-promoted Doncaster secured an eye-catching 26-0 victory at the Eco-Power Stadium.

Tries from Boas, Tali and Faraimo gave the home side a 16-0 advantage, which they never seemed like relinquishing. Ferres added to the tally in the second half before Faraimo got his second as the Bulldogs remain on four points with just two wins in this season’s Championship so far.

Elsewhere, in-form Featherstone Rovers beat bottom of the table Dewsbury Rams, Bradford Bulls beat Sheffield Eagles and Widnes Vikings and Whitehaven played out a thrilling 28-28 draw.

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