ESL Round 23 wrap up

Results in from Round 23.

Friday's games:

Halifax 12-54 Huddersfield

Halifax have been relegated from the Tetley's Super League following their defeat to Huddersfield at The Shay.

Tony Anderson's side have not recorded a single point, with their one win of the season counting for nothing after they were deducted two points by the Rugby Football League for a salary cap breach.

Huddersfield Giants' stand-off Stanley Gene scored a second-half hat trick to keep his side in with a chance of a top-six finish.

The home side were one of the founder members of the new league when it started in 1996, but their eight season stay in the top flight ended in a heavy 10-try defeat.

The home side got off to the best possible start tonight when Lee Finnerty went over after four minutes.

But a rapid burst of three tries in five minutes by the visitors quickly broke demoralised Halifax's resistance.

Darren Fleary, the competition's leading try scorer Brandon Costin and Julian Bailey put the visitors in control.

Impressive youngster Paul White went over for his second try in only his third start for the Giants and when Jarrod O'Doherty touched down on the stroke of half-time it was all over for Halifax.

Giants winger Hefin O'Hare piled on the agony with the next try before Gene got in on the act with his treble, the second a superb solo effort.

Steve McNamara kicked five goals and Jamie Bloem two, to seal the fate of his former club.

Halifax (12) 12 Tries: Greenwood, Finnerty Goals: Finn (2) Huddersfield (32) 54 Tries: O'Doherty, O Hare (2), Bailey, Fleary, Gene (3), Costin, White Goals: Bloem (2), McNamara (5)

Leeds 24-24 Wigan

Two tries in stoppage time enabled Leeds to snatch an amazing draw in a thriller at Headingley.

A failed conversion attempt by Rhinos captain Kevin Sinfield left the scores deadlocked at 24-24 for the second time in three months.

The Rhinos were staring at a second successive home defeat after two tries from second-rower Danny Tickle helped Wigan to a 24-14 lead with 10 minutes to go.

But impressive forward Matt Adamson crashed over on 80 minutes and Sinfield landed his fourth goal to bring his side to within four points.

Super sub Danny McGuire then won a 60-metre race to Andrew Dunemann's superbly-judged kick to tie the scores with his second try but Sinfield fell short with the conversion.

Leeds edged the first 40 minutes but the Warriors dominated the second half despite the sin-binning of centre Martin Aspinwall.

Earlier, Great Britain centre Keith Senior produced two touches of class to help Leeds to a tenuous half-time lead, scoring one try and creating another.

The game was held up for five minutes after Leeds centre Chris McKenna was knocked out trying to tackle Wigan skipper Andrew Farrell in what appeared to be an accidental collision.

But Leeds appeared to recover from the blow when Senior pounced on 12 minutes for his 10th try of the season which Sinfield converted.

Wigan, who fought back for a 24-24 draw at Headingley in May, pulled themselves level through winger Brian Carney and Farrell landed the touchline goal.

Senior then carved out an opening for substitute winger McGuire and former Wigan forward Dave Furner was on hand to finish off with the try.

Tickle went over for the Warriors' second try and Farrell's second goal tied the scores for a second time before a Sinfield penalty made it 14-12.

Leeds had a chance to extend their lead within two minutes of the restart but Sinfield was off-target for the first time with the penalty.

Danny Tickle went over for his second try and Farrell's third successful conversion made it 18-14 and Gareth Hock's try, converted by Robinson made it 24-14.

Wigan looked on course to win but Adamson and McGuire ensured that it was Leeds who had the final say.

Leeds (14) 24 Tries: Reardon, Deacon (2), Vainikolo, Radford Goals: Sinfield (4) Wigan (12) 24 Tries: Carney, Tickle (2), Hock Goals: Robinson, Farrell (3)

St Helens 26-10 Castleford Tigers

Injury-ravaged St Helens made it nine Super League wins in a row with a hard-earned victory over the Castleford Tigers at Knowsley Road.

Despite having 10 regulars out through injury and having three teenage debutants on the bench they were still too strong for the faltering Tigers.

Castleford have now won just two of their last 11 matches and their slim play-off hopes look to be fading fast.

The Tigers got off to a good start when Mitch Healey's excellent pass allowed Tom Saxton to touch down after just eight minutes and Healey converted to make it 6-2.

Saints regained the lead when John Stankevitch crossed for Saints' first try of the night and Sean Long again goaled.

Twelve minutes before half-time Paul Newlove made a try-scoring return after injury when he dived over and Long's third goal gave his side a 14-6 half-time advantage.

Castleford's hopes were not helped when they had Wayne Bartrim sin-binned at the end of the first half.

They fell further behind midway through the second half when Jason Hooper was first to react to a loose ball to score and Long kicked a superb touchline conversion to stretch the lead.

Winger Waine Pryce gave the visitors hope of a comeback when he sprinted 80 metres for a superb solo try to cut the deficit to just 10 points with 15 minutes still remaining.

But despite some anxious moments Saints made sure of victory when Ade Gardner sprinted 60 metres to touch down in the corner in the final minute and Long kicked his fifth goal from five attempts to seal the win. St Helens (14) 26 Tries: Hooper, Newlove, Gardner, Stankevitch Goals: Long (5) Castleford (6) 10 Tries: Saxton, Pryce Goal: Healey

Saturday's game:

Bradford 36-22 Hull

Lesley Vainikolo grabbed a hat-trick of tries to help Bradford overcome a lively Hull outfit and consolidate their position at the top of Super League.

Vainikolo and substitute Lee Gilmour both touched down twice in a thrilling second-half rally as the Bulls fought back from 22-12 down.

The result takes Bradford three points clear of Leeds with five games of the regular season left and further damages Hull's play-off hopes after five defeats in their last six matches.

Hull made a flying start thanks to hooker Andy Last's try after just 69 seconds, but Bradford soon found their feet.

Vainikolo powered his way over at the corner from acting half-back for his first try and six minutes later Paul Anderson charged over from close range.

The Bulls went into the game without goalkicking scrum-half Paul Deacon because of a hamstring injury and his absence began to look costly when Lee Radford and James Lowes both missed shots at goal.

Radford managed to convert Anderson's try and also put over a penalty after Hull prop Craig Greenhill was pulled up for interference in the tackle.

But Hull refused to be intimidated and they hit back with two further tries to regain the lead.

Colin Best took Paul Cooke's pass to claim his 18th Super League try and, after left winger Gareth Raynor had a touchdown disallowed for offside, Greenhill put scrum-half Richard Horne over with a great offload.

Cooke found his range with two conversions and Hull extended their lead six minutes into the second half when Raynor took Richie Barnett's pass to squeeze over and Cooke landed a magnificent touchline goal.

Bradford were in danger of suffering a fourth home defeat of the season at that stage but acting captain Lowes sparked the fightback when he got Gilmour over with a flat pass for a 57th-minute try.

The former Wigan second rower added a second, courtesy of a 40-metre run, and Vainikolo forced his way over in the 66th and 77th minutes to complete a hat-trick.

Substitute forward Jamie Langley added a try as the Bulls piled on the agony and their victory margin would have been even greater had ex-Hull man Radford not missed with four of his eight kicks.

Bradford (12) 36 Tries: Vainikolo 3, Anderson, Gilmour 2, Langley Goals: Radford (4) Hull (16) 22 Tries: Last, Best, R. Horne, Raynor Goals: Cooke (3)

Sunday's games:

Widnes 30-28 Wakefield

Widnes survived an outstanding fightback from second-bottom Wakefield at the Halton Stadium to keep their hopes of a top-six finish alive.

Jules O'Neill anchored the home side's efforts with two tries and five goals but Jamie Rooney did even better for the Wildcats with a hat-trick of tries and six goals to register a personal tally of 24 points.

Wakefield took the lead after six minutes with the first of Rooney's goals before O'Neill's solo effort in the 10th minute gave the initiative to the Vikings.

O'Neill added the conversion and then scored his second try from dummy-half to make it 12-2.

Rooney responded with his first touchdown for Wakefield and his conversion and penalty cut the gap to 12-10.

Widnes went ahead 18-10 at the break when veteran forward Anthony Farrell stepped inside Steve Snitch with O'Neill converting.

Widnes looked to have secured the game with two tries early in the second half. Andy Hay went over from Ryan Sheridan's pass before Farrell scored his second to make it 30-10.

But Wakefield rallied with substitute Mark Field going over and Rooney scoring his second try of the game cut the gap to 30-22.

Rooney completed his hat-trick nine minutes from time to cut the arrears to two points but his side could not find the killer blow.

Widnes (18) 30 Tries: J O'Neill 2, Farrell 2, Hay Goals: J O'Neill 5 Wakefield (10) 28 Tries: Rooney 3, M Field Goals: Rooney 6

London 19-12 Warrington

London Broncos boosted their play-off hopes with only their second home win of the season at Griffin Park.

The Broncos moved into seventh place ahead of Warrington with a determined performance.

The hosts got off to a great start when Nigel Roy went over after just three minutes following god work from Dennis Moran and Rob Purdham.

Chris Thorman knocked over three penalties to extend the Broncos' lead.

The Wolves finally got on the scoreboard after 31 minutes when Wood crossed for the try after going through three tackles.

Another Thorman penalty on 38 minutes reasserted the Broncos' authority ahead of half time.

After the break, Jim Dymock sent Paul Sykes into the corner but the Broncos failed to kill off the Wolves.

London endured long periods of pressure on their line but the Wolves wasted several chances through poor handling.

With nine minutes to go, Graham Appo crossed from close range and added the conversion to bring his side within six points of London.

But Thorman made the game safe for the Broncos, kicking a 20m drop goal five minutes from time.

London 14 19 Tries: Roy, Sykes Goals: Thorman 5 Drop Goal: Appo 2 Warrington (6)12 Tries: N Wood, Appo Goals: Rooney 6

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