A review of the latest action in the Betfred Super League as Hull KR beat rock-bottom Widnes.
Thursday, July 12
- Huddersfield 20-12 Wigan
- Warrington 22-22 Catalans
Friday, July 13
- Hull 18-34 St Helens
- Leeds 20-20 Wakefield
- Salford 6-24 Castleford
Saturday, July 14
- Widnes 24-26 Hull KR
Veteran half-back Danny McGuire pulled the strings as Hull KR kept their slim hopes of making the top eight alive with a 26-24 victory over rock-bottom Widnes.
The history books are getting rewritten on a weekly basis at the Halton Stadium as Widnes slipped to a 14th consecutive Super League defeat, while Rovers made it seven points from eight and three wins on the bounce.
Francis Cummins' side pushed Rovers all the way with youngster Owen Buckley scoring a double to top off a spirited second-half fightback, however it was the evergreen McGuire's experience, game management and organisation that got them over the line.
Widnes dragged themselves back into the contest after a feeble first period and should have kicked on after drawing level at 14-14 following tries from rookie full-back Olly Ashall-Bott and half-back Danny Craven.
But Rovers hit the afterburners and Adam Quinlan restored order with a super solo score and then Liam Salter crashed over for the game-winning try, despite two well-taken efforts from Buckley.
The Vikings failed to impress in a first half that was dominated by the Robins and the powers of inspirational leaders McGuire and Shaun Lunt.
After taking an early 2-0 lead through Krisnan Inu's penalty, the Vikings had a golden opportunity to take control after former Widnes second-rower Danny Tickle was sent to the sin bin for a late shot.
But ex-Widnes academy product Chris Atkin levelled things up with a penalty and then KR jumped into gear as McGuire created an opening for James Donaldson to burst over as the visitors caught Widnes on the last tackle.
The Vikings thought they had scored immediately after that effort as Chris Houston powered through but Rovers hooker Lunt pulled off a try-saving tackle to deny the Australian.
At 8-2 Widnes were far from out of it at the break but they were also never truly in it as they lacked the energy and guile to work Rovers over.
Things went from bad to worse after the restart as four minutes in Tickle turned the tables on his old club by crashing over after a disguised pass from Atkin.
Tickle added the conversion from in front but Rovers soon found themselves pegged back as Ashall-Bott sprinted in from 30 metres, rounding Quinlan to touch down.
The try encouraged the Vikings and they raised their game and were soon rewarded with another four-pointer from Craven.
However, that confidence was short-lived as on the next set Quinlan struck, finishing off a sweeping move involving McGuire and Lunt.
Widnes got one back from Buckley as he impressively caught Craven's kick to the corner to put them within two points at 18-20.
Inu had a kick to draw level but the Kiwi pulled his shot wide.
Salter gave Rovers breathing space 12 minutes from time as Widnes succumbed to the heat.
There was still time for another converted try for the Vikings as Buckley crossed in the final minute but it was in vain as Charly Runciman came up with an error after the restart which extinguished any hope of getting a result.
Super League champions Leeds are on the brink of a relegation scrap after Wakefield staged a late fightback to earn a 20-20 draw and deny Kevin Sinfield a winning return to Headingley.
The Rhinos were on course for their first victory since April after opening up a 20-12 lead, but Kyle Wood's try and a penalty from Ryan Hampshire snatched a vital point for Trinity.
Wakefield remain three points clear of ninth-placed Leeds with only two games to play, leaving new Rhinos director of rugby Sinfield facing up to a battle for survival in the Qualifiers.
Ryan Hall opened the scoring after a blistering start by Leeds and they responded to Bill Tupou's superb 70-metre solo effort with quickfire tries from Richie Myler and Ash Handley.
But Justin Horo crossed before the break and the Rhinos had only Liam Sutcliffe's fourth goal to show for their second-half efforts as their winless Super League run stretched to nine matches.
The Rhinos had already had a Mitch Garbutt try ruled out when Hall strolled over out wide on five minutes after good work by Joel Moon - back at stand-off after a brief return to centre in the heavy defeat by Castleford - and Myler created the space.
But Wakefield halted Leeds' early momentum and made the hosts defend multiple sets on their own tryline.
The Rhinos eventually cracked as Tupou first used power to break the defensive line and then guile to beat full-back Jack Walker on his way to the line.
Wakefield had a foothold in the game after a shaky start, but they undid their good work in the space of just three minutes.
Tyler Randell's loose pass from acting-half was kicked ahead and touched down by Myler before Handley went over for his 10th try of the Super League season after Trinity were again caught short on their right edge.
Sutcliffe added his third goal from out wide to give the Rhinos a 12-point cushion, but that was halved by Horo's converted effort after he took advantage of soft defence to crash over.
Rain greeted the players as they returned to the field for the second half and Leeds initially struggled with the greasy conditions, with two mistakes from high kicks giving Wakefield perfect field position.
But the visitors were unable to take advantage and fell further behind when Sutcliffe made no mistake from a 40-metre penalty.
Brad Dwyer - standing in for the injured Matt Parcell - came close to capping an impressive performance with a try as Leeds tried to end Wakefield's comeback hopes.
The hooker then produced a try-saving tackle to deny Max Jowitt, but Wood broke the Rhinos' stubborn resistance and set up a nervy finish when he touched down Jacob Miller's grubber kick.
Hampshire's penalty after a high tackle by Brett Ferres made it 20-20 and Miller came agonisingly close to winning it for Wakefield when his drop goal hit the inside of the right-hand post and bounced back.
St Helens took full advantage of Wigan's slip-up to move eight points clear at the top of Betfred Super League following a hard-fought 34-18 victory at Hull FC.
The Warriors fell to a 20-12 defeat at in-form Huddersfield on Thursday evening and Justin Holbrook's men took the opportunity to extend their lead at the summit at the KCOM Stadium.
Bureta Faraimo put Hull ahead with the opening set but the league leaders worked their way back into the match through Tommy Makinson and Ben Barba to move 10-8 ahead at the break, despite the home winger's second score.
The Black and Whites regained the lead when Jansin Turgut and Albert Kelly crossed to move Hull 18-10 in front, but Saints came roaring back with 24 unanswered points as Jonny Lomax (two), Barba, Adam Swift and Luke Thompson all scored to seal a great comeback victory and the Steve Prescott Cup.
Defeat leaves Hull's top-four ambitions in doubt ahead of the Super 8's next month.
The hosts got off to a rapid start and crossed inside the first minute following great improvisation from Kelly and Jake Connor.
Stand-off Kelly jinked his way across the Saints defence to create an overlap on the right edge before finding Connor, who instantly flicked the ball to Faraimo to twist his way past Barba and power over the line.
However, the league leaders soon found themselves level when Barba made amends for his earlier error to slip Makinson through to dive into the corner with their first meaningful attack following a flat start from the away side.
And, it was not long before the mercurial full-back put St Helens ahead for the first time when he sliced through the home defence after Jack Logan spilled a Danny Richardson high ball, with the half-back landing the touchline extras.
England international Connor was carried off through injury but his absence did not affect Hull's right edge as Faraimo took a stunning catch to keep Kelly's long pass in field before sneaking in the corner to reduce the gap to two points at half-time.
Hull found themselves back in front after 48 minutes through Turgut after he picked out Kelly flat pass ahead of the onrushing Regan Grace to stretch over in the corner.
And the home side improved their advantage five minutes later when a flowing move saw Hull move upfield before Kelly earned a deserved try by trucking over Barba for an 18-10 lead.
But Saints are top for a reason and they hit back almost immediately as they overloaded on the left edge, with Faraimo went down with an injury, for Barba to stroll in his second score of the match.
Holbrook's side were soon back in front with 20 minutes left to play as Jonny Lomax darted over from close range, with Richardson tagging the extras to nudge the visitors 20-18 ahead.
However, Saints hit their stride with three further tries to end Hull's resistance and condemn the hosts to just their second defeat of the season.
Saints hit the left edge once more as Hull players scrambled to recover as Lomax sold two players with dummies to cross for his second try before Swift and Thompson each scored in the corner to earn a thrilling triumph.
Castleford Tigers scored 18 second-half points without reply to claim a 24-6 victory at struggling Salford Red Devils and climb to third in Betfred Super League.
Jake Webster scored two tries for Daryl Powell's side who have lost just one of their last seven matches.
Injury-hit Salford battled hard and frustrated Castleford for long periods, especially in the first half which ended 6-6.
Castleford opened the scoring in the 17th minute when Greg Eden's kick on the last tackle bounced kindly for Grant Millington and the ball was worked to the right edge via Quentin Laula-Togagae for Jake Webster to score a try which Paul McShane converted.
Salford, who came into the game with just one win from their last eight, went close to an immediate response but forward Ryan Lannon was held up over the Castleford tryline as he tried to ground the ball.
Six minutes before half-time, the home side got off the mark when winger Jake Bibby was quickest to react to a kick to the corner by Ed Chamberlain, launching himself full length to ground the ball before it rolled dead on the slippery surface.
It was the fourth-consecutive game where Bibby has scored a try, while Chamberlain levelled the scores with a superb conversion off the touchline.
Beaten 52-22 at Hull KR in their last outing, Salford produced some determined defence at the end of the first half, withstanding an intense spell of Tigers pressure and denying Mitch Clark a try by holding him up over the line.
The Red Devils almost created another try in the early moments of the second half when Robert Lui's kick to the corner just evaded the chasing Bibby.
But Castleford took control of the game with two converted tries in quick succession. In the 48th minute, centre Michael Shenton cut infield from close range to evade Bibby's tackle and touchdown.
Then Webster scored his second try of the night from close range moments later with McShane's goal giving Castleford an 18-6 lead.
There was some concern for the Tigers when Joe Wardle had to be helped off the pitch with 19 minutes remaining.
But they were able to seal the win with nine minutes left - winger Kieran Gill sliding in at the corner from Laulu-Togagae's long pass. McShane again converted brilliantly from the touchline to seal victory.
Huddersfield took another giant step towards Super League safety with a hugely-impressive 20-12 win over second-placed Wigan at the John Smith's Stadium.
Left winger Darnell McIntosh scored two tries for the second successive week to earn his side's man of the match award as the Giants cruised to a seventh win in their last eight matches to climb to sixth in the table.
It was Huddersfield's first win over Wigan in 12 attempts and would have been even more emphatic but for an off day with the boot by Danny Brough, who missed with all four conversion attempts.
However, Brough managed a couple of penalties and brought his game management skills to the fore to help his side tighten their grip in the second half, especially while down to 12 men with the sin-binning of Michael Lawrence.
Wigan, who gave a debut to Kinshasa-born prop Samy Kibula, scored first and last but in between were outplayed by more enthusiastic and determined opponents fighting for their Super League lives.
The visitors took the lead in fortuitous fashion, full-back Sam Tomkins regathering the ball from winger Liam Marshall's kick and touching down despite a knock-on in the build-up missed by both touchjudge James Child and referee Gareth Hewer.
Tomkins converted his own try to make it 6-0 but Wigan were well off the pace for most of the first half and inventive Huddersfield deservedly led 12-6 at the break.
McIntosh leapt above his opposite number Tom Davies to to pluck the ball out of the air from Lee Gaskell's high kick to grab his first try and hooker Adam O'Brien squeezed a pass out of the tackle to get second rower Alex Mellor over.
Brough was unable to convert either try but punished Wigan's indiscipline with two penalty goals to kick his side into a six-point interval lead, which they extended within two minutes of the re-start.
The Giants were gifted possession from a knock-on by replacement full-back Morgan Escare inside his own 20-metre area and, from the resultant scrum, recalled full-back Jake Mamo worked McIntosh over for his second try.
Brough was again off target with his conversion attempt but the home side continued to look the more lively team.
Wigan could make little headway against stubborn opponents and failed to make use of a 40-20 kick by Josh Woods or the sin-binning of Lawrence for preventing the stand-off from taking a quick tap.
The Giants not only defended superbly while down to 12 men but increased their lead when captain Leroy Cudjoe touched down Brough's grubber kick.
Wigan lost their composure as they chased the game but had the consolation of wrapping up the scoring when Tomkins got Davies over for their second try six minutes from the end and kicked the conversion.
Warrington and Catalans Dragons fought out a 22-22 draw in a thrilling Super League encounter at the Halliwell Jones stadium.
In torrential rain for the majority of the game, both sides scored three tries but it was the boots of respective scrum-halves Tyrone Roberts and Josh Drinkwater which proved decisive.
Both landed five conversions - but both were also wide of the target with late drop goal attempts in a frantic finale, while Josh Charnley's last-gasp effort three minutes from time was ruled out by the video referee for a knock on.
Warrington's tries came from Charnley, Bryson Goodwin and Harvey Livett, while the Dragons replied with tries by Tony Gigot, Michael Mcllorum and Benjamin Jullien.
The Wolves made two changes from the side that suffered a 13-12 defeat at Wigan with Livett and Bem Pomeroy coming in for Mitch Brown and Dom Crosby, while the Dragons named the same 17 that won 35-18 at Wakefield.
It was the Dragons who were quick out of the blocks and were ahead after just four minutes when, straight from a scrum 20 metres out from the Warrington line, Samisoni Langi and Gigot combined to send Jullien over for the opening try which Drinkwater converted.
After that early setback the Wolves gradually worked their way into the game and were rewarded with their first try on 15 minutes when Goodwin touched down Kevin Brown's grubber kick. Roberts converted to level matters at 6-6.
A Drinkwater penalty edged the visitors two points ahead before the Wolves struck with two tries in four minutes.
Firstly, a superb Ratchford break saw the full-back send Charnley clear down the wing to score.
That was quickly followed by more good work by Ratchford who kicked ahead on the last tackle as the Wolves kept the ball alive. Livett won the race to touch down and with Roberts adding a further conversion the Wolves looked to have wrestled control of the game at 16-8.
But an error straight from the kick off when Joe Philbin dropped Tom Lineham's psss gifted possession back to the visitors and they took full advantage when Mcllorum crashed over from close range. Drinkwater kicked his third goal to cut the lead to two points at 16-14.
A Roberts penalty edged the Wolves four points clear before three minutes before half-time, Drinkwater's kick was touched down by Gigot and Drinkwater again goaled to give the French side a 20-18 advantage at the break.
Roberts booted over two early second half penalty to edge Warrington back in front at 22-20 with torrential rain turning the game into something of a war of attrition in the difficult conditions.
Catalans were reduced to 12-men with 12 minutes remaining when Michael Simon was sin-binned after a flare up with Charnley, but Warrington failed to make their extra man tell and it was the Catalans and Drinkwater who kept his nerve to land a penalty and level it up again at 22-22 with 10 minutes remaining.
In a busy finale Roberts, Drinkwater and Charnley all fired drop goal attempts wide while Charnley's late effort was ruled out by the video referee for a knock on.