Hull provided the actors as the curtain was brought down on the Magic Weekend when Hull KR took on Hull FC in another local derby. The weekends games had seen KR tumble to the bottom of the table but they knew a win would lift them up to tenth. A win for the Black and Whites would edge them back into the top four on points difference over the Castleford Tigers.
It was the walking wounded for Hull FC who brought Kirk Yeaman out of retirement during the week and into the starting line-up and gave a debut to new signing Liam Harris. But KR had a long injury list too, both sides well below full strength.
The atmosphere was electric in the stadium as many supporters stayed for what they hoped would be a rough and tough encounter between two sides desperate for the local bragging rights.
Round fourteen of the Betfred Championshipserved up some mouth-watering top of the table clashes which could have gone some way towards clarifying the top four placings come the end of the season and the division into the Super Eights.
Match of the weekend was the Newcastle Magic Weekend curtain-raiser between the Toronto Wolfpack and Toulouse Olypmpique XIII but later on Saturday evening Featherstone and Leigh went head to head as fourth played fifth.
The remaining four games were on Sunday with Halifax against Dewsbury, Swinton against Barrow, London Broncos at home to the Sheffield Eagles and Batley taking on Rochdale.
A local derby in Newcastle for game two of Magic Sunday as Wakefield Trinity took on a Huddersfield Giants side who beat then 24-14 in the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup last weekend.
After a sensational start to the 2018 season the Wakefield side have slipped backwards and are now on the threshold of the middle eights and needing to re-discover that early season form. The Giants were looking to narrow the points difference between the two sides to three points with a win which would edge them within a point of eighth spot.
Wakefield were made strong favourites before the kick-off but both sides knew this was a crucial game in a long, hard, season.
The opening Sunday encounter of the Magic Weekend threw together the Salford Red Devils and the Catalans Dragons.
The Red Devils were hoping to cement their top eight spot with a win, over a Catalans side which could lift themselves off the bottom and into ninth, until the sides above them play later in the afternoon. Salford won the previous encounters including a 32-16 win in March.
The bookmakers were struggling to pick between the two sides but had made Salford the slight favourites as the crowds flooded back in to St James’ Park for the second day of this years jamboree.
The culmination of the opening day of the Magic Weekend saw Castleford Tigers take on the Leeds Rhinos in a repeat of last seasons Old Trafford Grand Final.There were a number of changes for both sides since their last outings as fifth took on sixth for the honour of overnighting in fourth place ahead of Hull FC playing tomorrow afternoon.The Rhinos lost out by a solitary point when the two sides met at the end of March but the Rhinos were the victors when it counted, in last season’s Grand Final. Both sides had something to redress in front of a pretty full St James’ Park in Newcastle.
Warrington’s nine-match winning streak came crashing to an end when they met Wigan at St James Park today.
A see-sawing first half saw dominance switch between the two on-form sides.
Wary of what a second v third tie at Magic Weekend could produce, Wigan took the first opportunity to open the scoring by kicking a penalty.
But it was Warrington who crossed the try-line first, with Harvey Livett going over when the ball was moved across the field after Ryan Atkins was stopped in inches short in the opposite corner.
St Helens added weight to their title claims with a 38-18 victory over basement Super League club Widnes Vikings as the Dacia Magic Weekend proper got under way in Newcastle.
The Saints looked below par and Widnes put in a good performance that belied their league position – but the team who have led the league since round one were good value for the score, and the 20 point gap on the day.
Nevertheless, it was the Vikings who opened the scoring when Matt Whitley crossed after just five minutes, with Stefan Marsh converting.
St James Park may be hosting the Super League Dacia Magic Weekend, but proceedings got under way with a Betfred Championship round 14 tie between Toronto Wolfpack and Toulouse Olympique.
And it was the Canadian outfit who took the spoils, ending the game on the right side of a 43-30 scoreline to open up a five-point lead over second placed TO in the league.
Man of the Match Liam Kay gave an early indication of the Wolfpack’s determination to make up for last week’s ill-tempered exit from the Challenge Cup at the hands of Warrington.
Super League decamps to Newcastle for the Magic Weekend as all sides are in action over two days with matched being played at St James’ Park, the home of Newcastle United.
After a curtain raiser between Toronto Wolfpack and Toulouse Olympique XIII at 12:45 on Saturday the top flight action gets underway at 15:00 with Widnes Vikings v. St Helens. At 17:15 Wigan Warriors play the Warrington Wolves and the final game of the day kicks off at 19:30 with a 2017 Grand Final replay between the Castleford Tigers and Leeds Rhinos.
On Sunday afternoon the 13:00 fixture sees the Salford Red Devils take on the Catalans Dragons. At 15:15 Wakefield Trinity play the Huddersfield Giants and the final game of a busy weekend is between Hull KR and Hull FC at 17:30.
The draw for the quarter finals of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup took place at the conclusion of today’s sixth round game between the Warrington Wolves and Toronto Wolfpack.
The weekends survivors, including sole Championship side Leigh Centurions, awaited their fate for the games to be played over the weekend of the 2nd and 3rd of June. All games will be televised, two on SKY and two on the BBC.