With just three games left until the split into the Middle and Lower eights round twenty-one of the Kingstone Press Championship could prove to be the crucial weekend in deciding who will play where, as we enter August.
The biggest game of the round was undoubtedly in Toulouse where the fourth placed home side welcomed fifth placed Halifax in what many saw as a Middle Eights decider.
Elsewhere, Hull KR were at Bradford, there was a heavy woollen derby at Batley, the Eagles were in London, Featherstone were looking to cement their play-off place at Oldham and Rochdale entertained Swinton.
All eyes were on the south of France for Saturday evenings game featuring the teams either side of the split. It was a nervous affair with so much at stake and Toulouse took the lead early through Boyer but Tyrer and Tangata both scored unconverted tries before the interval for an 8-4 lead. Tyrer extended the lead by two points with a penalty on fifty before Kheirallah reduced the arrears to 8-10 on fifty-three. The game hung in the balance until a Johnston try for Halifax on seventy-four which was converted by Tyrer for a 16-8 which lifts 'Fax two points clear of Toulouse and into a middle eights spot with two games remaining. With both sides still having games to play against runaway leaders Hull KR everything is still in the balance.
Hull KR maintained their impressive charge back to Super League with a 42-10 win over the Bradford Bulls. Kirk had given the home side a 4-0 lead but Fleming and Carney put the visitors 12-4 ahead before the on-loan Aston scored a converted try to edge the Bulls back within two. Addy scored just before the break to give his side an 18-10 lead at the break. The second half was one-way scoring traffic with Addy scoring two to complete his hat-trick, along with tries from Clarkson and Mulhern and a total of eight Ellis goals to seal the comfortable win.
Featherstone Rovers secured their middle eights berth with a steady win over Oldham. Hardcastle, Ulugia and Lockwood saw Rovers to a 14-0 lead before Wilkinson opened Oldham's account just before the break. Turner and Briscoe had made it 26-4 before Adebiyi scored a converted try to get Oldham into double figures. Thackeray added another for Featherstone before a final try of the game from Tyson for Oldham gave a final score of 32-14.
The London Broncos are now also confirmed in the Middle Eights after a comprehensive home win over the Sheffield Eagles at the Trailfinders. Sammut, Harrison and Hellewell had all scored for London for 18-0 before Fozard and James got on the score sheet for the Eagles. Pewhairangi scored just before the break for the home side and they went I to the interval with a 24-10 lead. Hellewell added a second just after the restart before Marginet scored for Sheffield and on the hour mark it was 30-16. Then London put their foot on the gas and with tries from Hellewell (two more to complete a four try haul), a second from Pewhairangi and an Ackers try, they accelerated to a 52-16 win.
The Batley Bulldogs won the heavy woollen derby by 36-20 despite trailing 8-6 at the break. Dewsbury tries from Ward and Brown were answered with a converted Manning try, but most of the scoring action came in the second half. Morton had extended the Rams lead to 14-6 before unanswered Bulldogs tries from Crookes, Reittie (2), Brambani and Farrell pushed the home side 36-14 ahead. A late Moore consolation reduced the arrears to sixteen points.
Rochdale and Swinton are jostling for position in the lower reaches of the table and played out an entertaining 33-28 game with the Hornets emerging the victors. Yates put the home side ahead before tries from Atkin and Butt put the visitors 12-6 ahead. Maneely levelled the scores but a second Atkin try gave the Lions a 16-12 interval lead. Crowley and Eccleston edged Rochdale ahead before Atkin completed his hat-trick for a 26-24 lead. Smith put te Hornets back into the lead on the hour mark before an Atkin penalty again levelled the scores at 28-28. Foster kicked a drop goal on seventy-three for a one point Rochdale lead and Massam put the game to safety for a 33-28 win.