Betfred League 1 Round-Up
April 5, 2022
Betfred League 1 Round-Up
Round two of Betfred League 1 started on Saturday with two matches taking place in Wales.
All eyes were on the Eirias Stadium at 5.30pm with Cornwall RLFC tasting life in the professional ranks for the first time against league title hopefuls North Wales Crusaders.
However, before the Choughs made history, West Wales Raiders hosted Rochdale Hornets at Stebonheath Park. With both teams suffering defeats in round one, it was the hosts who drew first blood after just seven minutes when scrum-half Fergus Simpson scored and then converted his own try.
The home lead lasted until the 20th minute before Simpson’s opposite number Lewis Sheridan replied in kind for the Spotland outfit with a try and goal of his own.
Raiders held out until four minutes before the half time siren with Rochdale taking the lead – one they would not surrender – thanks to Cobi Green’s dummy and run to the line from 40 metres.
And the pendulum really swung towards Rochdale in the dying embers of the opening period when Dan Nixon finished out wide as the visitors led 16-6 at the mid-way point.
The next try was always going to be crucial and it went the way of Rochdale and Sheridan who bagged his second of an afternoon that yielded an impressive 24 points.
Greg McNally was the next Hornet to register four points as West Wales struggled for both ball and field position. Then Nixon scored twice in quick succession to complete his treble as the Hornets threatened to run riot.
They did so as McNally then matched Nixon’s efforts with a further two tries which were sandwiched between a consolation score from Raiders replacement Alan Pope.
McNally’s third and Rochdale’s ninth try of the afternoon was the end of the try scoring but not the drama as into added time, home pair Craig Lewis and Ieuan Badham were sent off for their part in a melee.
After merry whistle blower Matthew Rossleigh had restored order, Sheridan completed Rochdale’s tally with a late penalty.
Across Wales, Cornwall performed valiantly to eventually go down 62-22 with the Crusaders scoring four tries in the last 10 minutes to finally see off the plucky newcomers.
It looked like being a difficult afternoon for Cornwall when North Wales raced into a 30-0 lead after just 24 minutes. But Neil Kelly’s men kept battling and were rewarded through Matty Turton’s try which was expertly converted by Kyle Johns.
Although North Wales scored again before the break through centre Harry Swarbrick, Cornwall started the second half like a house on fire.
Harry Aaronson intercepted Jack Houghton’s loose pass to run 70 metres and score before Liam Whitton registered the try of the game. A delightful inside ball from Paul Bolger released the former Halifax man who raced clear to outpace the North Wales line.
The hosts were really wobbling on 50 minutes as Sam Snell crashed through to finish a brave powerplay move and at 38-22 it was game on.
Veteran Cruasders winger Patrick Ah Van then steadied home nerves with an unconverted try but Cornwall showed grit and endeavour to remain in the fight.
The brave resistance was finally ended late on as Anthony Murray’s men took control but overall, the scoreline was perhaps harsh on the efforts of our 17 players.
There were also three games played 24-hours later on Sunday with one home win, one away win and a draw completing another competitive and entertaining Betfred League 1 programme.
Oldham travelled to Hunslet and the Rougyeds raced into a 22-4 lead. Tries from Ben Holcroft, Owen Restall and Dave Hewitt put the visitors in charge and despite the Parksiders registering through Kieden Hartley, they trailed 16-4 after 40 minutes.
The Hunslet cause was seemingly forlorn just three minutes into the second stanza when winger Liam Copland scored a fourth Oldham try.
But Hunslet launched their comeback almost immediately and Dom Horn, who started the game on the interchange bench, crashed over to give the hosts hope.
That glimmer became something altogether brighter thanks to Jack Render’s 59th minute try. And with Hunslet now in control, it was of little surprise to the 654 in attendance that they tied the scores as Wayne Rettie scored twice in the space of three minutes.
With the match on a knife edge at 22-22, both teams had chances to win but field goal efforts from Jack Mallinson (Hunslet) and Martyn Ridyard (Oldham) fell wide of the mark and the spoils were shared.
At Cougar Park, Keighley retained their 100 per cent record with a comfortable 22-6 home win over Doncaster.
Tries from Alix Stephenson and Charlie Graham handed the Cougars a 10-0 half time lead. Further Lewis Young and Nathan Rosebuck scores left Doncaster with a mountain to climb and despite Ben Johnston’s 70th minute score keeping them in the hunt, Keighley hung on and veteran centre Jake Webster, who played in the second row against Richard Horne’s side, put the gloss on an impressive showing with a last minute try.
Midlands Hurricanes, who will become Cornwall’s first ever home opponents this coming Sunday at the Memorial Ground, were easily beaten 56-14 by Swinton Lions at Portway.
Tries from Deane Meadows, Mitch Cox and Dan Abrham with the former also kicking nine goals from as many attempts throughout the afternoon, saw Swinton lead 18-0 after 14 minutes. Midlands battled on despite the early Lions roar and Ben Stead crossed for their first try shortly after. Jack Spencer crossing the whitewash stretched Swinton’s lead further although once again, the Hurricanes scored just as it seemed the Lions were about to cut loose – Anthony Boardman with the hosts’ second four-pointer at their new home.
The game swung on Jayden Hatton’s try in first half injury time as Swinton carried a 30-10 lead into the break.
The first points of the second half were scored by Midlands scrum-half Ben Hardcastle but hopes of a miraculous turnaround evaporated when Lewis Charnock and Jordan Case scored either side of the hour mark.
Mike Butt and Hatton pushed Swinto towards the 50-point mark and eventually over it.