Whitehaven piled the pressure on London Broncos as the battle for the final play-off place in the Betfred Championship took another twist on Sunday.
The Broncos hold sixth place for now but the battle will go to the wire after they suffered a 48-28 home defeat to Featherstone Rovers, and Whitehaven beat Halifax Panthers 19-6 to close the gap.
Rovers, already assured second place in a season where they have lost only once, made their intentions clear from the start as Gareth Gale got the first try in the opening minute, with Connor Jones adding two tries and Callum Field and Alex Walker also crossing to make it 28-4 by the break.
Gideon Boafo had scored the only Broncos try of the first half and did his best to keep it alive as a contest after the break, scoring three more, but Featherstone kept the scoreboard moving too as Jones completed his hat-trick.
Haven finished their home campaign with what could be a crucial win over third-placed Halifax.
Although Scott Grix cancalled out Lachlan Walmsley’s opening try, Jason Mossop restored the hosts’ lead before the break and Ryan King made sure in the second half.
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Jack Owens’ last-minute penalty gave Widnes Vikings a 10-9 win over fourth-placed Bradford Bulls.
Owens scored all of Widnes’ points while Jordan Lilley collected all of Bradford’s – the pair each converted their own try, but Owens had two penalties to Lilley’s one plus a drop goal, and that made the difference.
Paul Sykes moved beyond 2,500 career points as he helped Dewsbury Rams to a 31-24 win at Batley Bulldogs, kicking five conversions and adding one drop goal.
Newcastle Thunder secured their first away win over Oldham, but had to hold on to triumph 38-24.
Having led 12-6 at the break, the Thunder made a flying start to the second half, with five quick tries from Connor Bailey, Kieran Gill, Isaac Nokes, and Alex Donaghy, the latter getting a brace, made it 38-6 by the hour mark.
Oldham, their relegation already confirmed, salvaged pride with four late tries – Dan Abram, Tyler Dupree and Max Roberts twice.
Swinton Lions came from behind in the second half to win 34-28 in the evening fixture.
Olly Butterworth’s try put the Eagles 22-10 up early in the second half, but Reece Hamlett, Mitch Cox, Geronimo Doyle and Lewis Hatton scored four tries in a row to turn the game on its head.