Championship round-up: Four Lachlan Walmsley tries lead Wakefield Trinity to big win at York Knights, Featherstone Rovers easily beat Doncaster and Batley Bulldogs finally off the mark with victory at Whitehaven - but Dewsbury Rams lose at Barrow Raiders while Halifax Panthers let half-time lead slip as Widnes Vikings continue winning start

Wakefield Trinity's Lachlan Walmsley scored four tries in their 50-6 win at York Knights. Photo by John Victor.Wakefield Trinity's Lachlan Walmsley scored four tries in their 50-6 win at York Knights. Photo by John Victor.
Wakefield Trinity's Lachlan Walmsley scored four tries in their 50-6 win at York Knights. Photo by John Victor.
It’s been a busy day of Championship rugby league action with fine wins for Wakefield Trinity, Featherstone Rovers and Batley Bulldogs, although Halifax Panthers and Dewsbury Rams tasted defeat at Widnes Vikings and Barrow Raiders respectively.

Wakefield maintained their 100 per cent winning start to their 2024 league campaign by romping to a 50-6 triumph at lowly York Knights.

Lachlan Walmsley was the star of the show, scoring four tries, including two inside the opening 15 minutes, both converted by Max Jowitt.

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Three more converted tries followed from Ky Rodwell, Josh Griffin and Mathieu Cozza as Trinity raced into a 30-0, although Connor Bailey touched down for the home side before the half-time hooter.

Dewsbury Rams produced a determined second half performance at Barrow Raiders but were narrowly defeated 27-20. Photo by Thomas Fynn.Dewsbury Rams produced a determined second half performance at Barrow Raiders but were narrowly defeated 27-20. Photo by Thomas Fynn.
Dewsbury Rams produced a determined second half performance at Barrow Raiders but were narrowly defeated 27-20. Photo by Thomas Fynn.

Four further tries followed in the second half but the away fans had to wait until the 64th minute to celebrate try number six as Walmsley went over for a second hat-trick in three league outings.

Luke Gale, who scored a hat-trick of his own in Wakey’s previous game, a 42-6 win at Doncaster, then dived over after Griffin made a great break before Jowitt made it three tries in ten minutes for the visitors.

There was still time for Walmsley to grab his fourth try of the afternoon, his seventh so far in the league and his 100th of his career, as Wakefield easily made it four wins out of four.

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Similarly, Featherstone Rovers had a comfortable afternoon at newly-promoted Doncaster with Connor Jones and Brad Day each scoring a couple of tries in a 46-4 victory.

After successive defeats against rivals Wakefield and Bradford Bulls, Fev, despite the fourth-minute sin-binning of Ben Reynolds, made a great start thanks to a trademark Jones try from dummy half.

A Gareth Gale effort followed after tremendous play from Paul Turner with Jones racing 70 metres for his second and Fev’s third of the afternoon for a 16-0 advantage.

However, that was cut down to 12 points before the half time hooter after Josh Guzdek crossed from out wide.

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Reynolds had a better start to the second half by stretching over the line after only three minutes of the restart before successfully converting his own try.

Turner displayed his class again when he broke the line and used the supporting Caleb Aekins, as Rovers put clear daylight between them and their opponents.

That man Turner was a provider again soon after, this time for Day who crashed over from close range. The same duo combined again moments later for a 40-4 lead with over 20 minutes remaining.

However, Doncaster dug deep to ensure the visitors only crossed over one more time as Harry Bowes raced onto his own kick to seal a routine win.

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Batley Bulldogs finally recorded their first league victory of the season at the fourth time of asking thanks to a 25-12 success at Whitehaven.

Head coach Mark Moxon had admitted that the “pressure was building” after defeats against Featherstone, Dewsbury and Halifax but two tries from Dale Morton and efforts from Elliot Kear, Alistair Leak and Kieran Buchanan will have provided a huge sigh of relief for everyone associated with the Bulldogs.

The visitors started strongly in Cumbria with Ben White sending Morton over in the corner for the game’s opening try. Robbie Butterworth, who was unfortunate in the conversion attempt after the first try, provided for Kear for try number two before Cumbrian-born Leak flew over after a great team move down the middle.

Former Halifax man Jake Maizen gave Haven a bit of hope before the half time hooter but Morton’s second of the afternoon after a brilliant pass from Butterworth made it 18-6.

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Josh Woods, who had been a crucial absentee for the Bulldogs in their defeats at Dewsbury and Halifax, then produced a fantastic 40-20 as well as a drop goal to make it a three-score game.

But they extended their lead even further with five minutes remaining when Buchanan went over out wide. St Helens loanee Brett Bailey’s even later try for the hosts was a mere consolation as Batley celebrated their first league win of 2024.

While the Bulldogs celebrated victory in Whitehaven, their local rivals Dewsbury suffered defeat in nearby Barrow.

However, the Rams produced a determined second half performance after trailing 26-4 at half time. They won the second period 16-1 but it wasn’t enough to record their second win of the season.

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There was no sign of the one-sided nature of the half-time scoreline after 25 minutes, with the Raiders only leading 6-4.

The home side hit the front first through Tom Wilkinson who charged over under the posts but the Rams responded positively with Bailey Dawson going over in the corner.

But four tries in the space of 11 minutes blew Dewsbury away. Kavan Rothwell went over after great work from Luke Cresswell before Luke Broadbent went over straight from the restart.

A shell shocked Rams defence then conceded again as Rothwell bustled over for his second before Matt Costello, after incessant Barrow pressure, charged over the line.

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Dale Ferguson’s half-time team-talk certainly worked a treat with Jacob Hookem, on the back of a sustained spell of pressure, crossed 11 minutes into the second half.

Owen Restall found a gap through the Raiders’ defence for a quickfire second as Dewsbury reduced the deficit to ten points.

Barrow did well to thwart a rejuvenated Rams outfit who had repeated sets on the home side’s line but the pressure told with Marcus Walker crashing over with 13 minutes left.

Paul Sykes missed the conversion as the Rams trailed 26-20 but Ryan Johnson’s late drop goal scuppered any plans of what would have been a magical comeback.

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Halifax Panthers’ inconsistent start to the season continued with a 40-14 defeat at Widnes Vikings, who in turn made it four wins out of four in the Championship.

It is now two wins and two defeats for Liam Finn’s men at the start of their 2024 league campaign but they looked to be on course for their first set of back-to-back victories after leading the in-form Vikings 14-4 at the break.

However, 26 unanswered second half points ensured they returned to West Yorkshire empty handed.

There was no sign of this forthcoming misery for the Panthers as Gareth Widdop scored his first try for his hometown club after only three minutes, after crashing over from close range.

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Fax had to be at their best defensively to keep their noses in front but they managed to extend their lead through Louis Jouffret after 23 minutes following a great team move.

Widnes, in rather fortuitous circumstances, got a deserved try just after the half-hour mark courtesy of Rhodri Lloyd, but Fax, who moments before survived a major scare in Widnes having a try disallowed, somehow extended their lead before the hooter when Ben Kavanagh crashed over from close range.

The Vikings, despite being behind, grabbed the initiative at the start of the second half with Matty Fozard crossing close to the posts. And Fax’s lead was wiped out seconds later when Ryan Ince crossed after the home side shifted the ball neatly from right to left to make it 14-14.

The momentum was with Widnes who having been behind 14-4 after 40 minutes, found themselves 20-14 up after 50 minutes as a Tom Gilmore kick was collected gleefully by Danny Langtree.

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A fourth try in 12 staggering minutes came via Jack Owens. Fax had no answers.

Gilmore, as predicted by Finn ahead of the game, was orchestrating proceedings, and his penalty extended the lead to 28-14.

The was still time for both Owens and Lloyd to bag their second tries of an afternoon to forget for Fax.

In the Championship’s other game, Sheffield Eagles, like Wakefield and Widnes, maintained their own unbeaten start to the season with a 22-4 win at Swinton Lions.