The Summer Bash drew to a close with the heavy woollen derby between the Batley Bulldogs and the Dewsbury Rams.
Dewsbury have registered wins in both encounters between the two sides in 2017 (league and cup) and the Bulldogs coach Neil Kelly will have been planning the downfall of Matt Diskins’ side to win the local bragging rights.
Dewsbury have just one win all season and while Batley have fared a little better they needed the win to rejoin Sheffield Eagles on fourteen points, six behind Halifax in fifth spot.
Sundays second Summer Bash game was the archetypal four pointer as Toulouse Olympique XIII took on Halifax. The sides are currently sitting either side of the dividing line, level on twenty points and separated only by points difference.
A win for Toulouse would see them up to second in the table but a loss would see Halifax jump over them into the top four and demote them out of their Super Eights Middle Eight position.
It was the Summer Bashes most crucial game in terms of league position and could go a long way to settling determining which sides supporters would be celebrating come the split.
After a sensational opening day of the Summer Bash, including the sensational single point victory for Hull KR over the Bradford Bulls, Sunday had a lot to live up to.
The first game saw tenth placed Swinton Lions as the underdogs against a Sheffield Eagles in sixth spot and for whom a loss would see their hopes of a top four finish in 2017 all but extinguished. Both sides came into the game on the back of defeats in the last round, but a narrow win for the Eagles when the sides met at the end of March signalled that we might be in for a competitive game.
When the powers that be picked the fixtures for the Summer Bash they must have thought that Bradford Bulls versus Hull KR would be a mouthwatering top of the table clash with both sides fighting for a top four spot and a tilt at Super League in the middle eights.
Instead, after the Bulls latest instalment of their seemingly never-ending financial problems, it turns out to be the Championships run away leaders against the team still on negative points as they try to overhaul their twelve point deduction and the exodus of players ahead of the season starting.
There was only ever going to be one winner of this and the Robins fans had travelled in their thousands to cheer on their side to victory. There were plenty of Bulls fans too, but they were somewhat less optimistic about their chances.
An eighteen point win for London Broncos would lift them into second place in the Kingstone Press Championship, and more importantly above todays rivals Featherstone Rovers. The bookies fancied Rovers for the win but Andrew Henderson knew it was crucial for his side to to get the victory in the all-important race for the middle eights.
Both sides brought great winning runs into the game, something would have to give in what was probably one of the most crucial games of the whole weekend.
The Championships' day in the sun, the Summer Bash at Bloomfield Road in Blackpool, got underway with the intrigueing derby between Oldham and the Rochdale Hornets. The sides placed eighth and ninth met in the opening fixture with both knowing that a loss could signal the end of any top four aspirations that they were still holding.
A win for ninth placed Rochdale would lift them above Oldham into eighth spot but there was more than just points to play for as local bragging rights were up for grabs. Oldham were clear favourites with the bookies and coach Scott Naylor would be hoping that his side could live up to expectations.
When the Warrington Wolves and the Leeds Rhinos met at the Halliwell-Jones at the beginning of last month, the Wolves ran out as 25-14 winners. With just one loss in their last eight games the visitors presented a big challenge to a Rhinos side who were looking to cement their place in the top four.
The Rhinos announced a side with just one change of the bench from the side that lost to Castleford at the Magic Weekend, but Warrington made a few changes including welcoming Ashton Sims back after a one game ban in place of Lee Westwood was out with a broken hand.
It was a glorious evening in Leeds and the stage was set for an open game between two sides who like to give the ball some air and score spectacular tries. Leeds were slight favourites with the bookies but on paper it really was anyones.
Justin Holbrook took full charge of his St Helens side for the first time, and named an unchanged side to take on Wigan Warriors in the original local derby. Saints were fresh from a comprehensive thrashing of Hull FC last weekend in Newcastle and keen to level the score with Wigan in 2017 after defeat at the DW in April.
Wigan salvaged a 24-24 draw with the Wolves at Magic, return of Thomas Leuluai from a broken jaw in the thirteen and Sam Powell was back on the bench.
It's a while since these two great sides have found themselves languishing in mid-table and both were looking for a confidence boosting win to give them a boost in the push for a top four spot.
The most mouthwatering game of the weekend was the final game as top placed Castleford Tigers took on fourth placed Leeds Rhinos who were looking for revenge for the 66-10 drubbing at the beginning of March.
A win for the Rhinos would see them draw level on points at the top of the table with Castelford and Salford but Daryl Powell’s Tigers wanted to re-establish their two point cushion at the top of the pile.
The Tigers were clear favourites with the bookies as Brian McDermott’s side looked to see how far they’d come over the last six weeks.
Game Five of the Magic Weekend pitted high-flying Salford Red Devils against second bottom Super League side Leigh Centurions. A win for the Devils would lift them level on points with Castleford, at least for a couple of hours, while a first away win of the season for the Centurions was crucial to ensure that they didn’t get cut adrift at the bottom.
Salford were the big favourites, on the back of their win over Hull KR in last weeks Challenge Cup, and few gave Leigh any chance of a Magical upset.