ESL Roundup

Huddersfield (8) 28 Tries: Grayshon, Evans, St Hilaire & White Goals: Costin (6) Salford (10) 22 Tries: Littler (2), Rutgerson & Caine Goals: Charles (3) Salford set the early pace but it was Huddersfield who lasted the distance. The Reds went in front when Stuart Littler broke clear for the first of two tries which sandwiched a Sean Rutgerson score.

But the Giants stayed in contact with tries from John Grayshon and Brandon Costin's accuracy with the boot.

Tries from James Evans and Marcus St Hilaire edged the Giants ahead, but after Chris Charles levelled with a penalty Paul White crossed for the win.

Huddersfield coach John Sharp praised his side's never-say-die spirit that culminated with White's score two minutes from time.

"We never gave in, we battled hard. That epitomises the spirit we have at this club," Sharp said.

Sharp paid tribute to the "very special players" who were leaving, including Brandon Costin and Julian Bailey.

"We're losing people who mean a lot to us. We'll look to sign players but I don't favour of mass recruitment."

Salford coach Karl Harrison was left fuming at referre Russell Smith who he accused of playing to the home crowd.

"There were infringements by Huddersfield at every tackle, but nothing was done about it."

But Harrison also praised his side for the dedication they had shown during the final game of the season which saw them avoid relegation.

"They played hard and put in enormous effort but they got nothing for it,"said Harrison.

---------- Huddersfield: Reilly, Donlan, Evans, Costin, St Hilaire, Gene, March, Fleary, Penkywicz, Gannon, Bailey, Nero, Jones. Replacements: O'Hare, Morrison, Grayshon, White. Salford: Beverley, Caine, Littler, McAvoy, Stewart, McGuinness, Fitzpatrick, Coley, Alker, Rutgerson, Shipway, Johnson, Charles. Replacements: Baldwin, Haggerty, Clough, Hartley. ********

Hull: 20 (8) Tries: Whiting (2), Barnett Jr, Lupton, Best

Widnes: 18 (12) Tries: Frame, Whitaker, Fa-alogo Goals: O'Neill (3) A late score by Colin Best gave Hull FC a narrow victory over Widnes, who still preserved their Super League status thanks to Castleford's home defeat. The hosts opened the scoring after 12 minutes when a Widnes punt was charged down for Richard Whiting to score.

Vikings hit back with a controversial penalty try and they edged ahead before half-time through Matt Whitaker.

Following a solo try from Peter Lupton, Widnes kicked their way ahead again only for Best to steal the victory.

Widnes coaching advisor Frank Endacott hit out at the Vikings for the manner of their defeat despite his side staying up.

"Relief is not the word, we didn't win but the objective was reached and we're ready now for next year.

"Too many stupid mistakes cost us the win, but it was always going to be a close game.

"We had good body vibes in the changing room though, so we knew that we'd go close," he said.

Hull director of rugby Shaun McRae paid tribute to his injury-hit side for their win.

"It was patchy," he said: "We did some very good things and, to be fair, we did a fair amount of experimentation.

"But five tries to three means we deserved to win. It was a great effort, considering we had 11 players missing from our first-choice 17." ******** Leeds 42 (16) Tries: Senior, Calderwood (2), Walker, Lauiti'iti (2), Diskin (2) Goals: Sinfield (5) London 14 (4) Tries: Purdham, Sampson, Moran Goals: Budworth Leeds rounded off their first title for 32 years with a resounding win over London Broncos to claim the League Leaders Shield on Friday. On a night of celebrations, Mark Calderwood, Matt Diskin and Ali Lauiti'iti all grabbed braces.

Chev Walker and Keith Senior also crossed for the Rhinos, who finished the season unbeaten at home.

London added to the excitement with Dennis Moran, Rob Purdham and Paul Sampson all touching down. ---------- Leeds: Mathers, Calderwood, Walker, Senior, Cummins, Sinfield, Dunemann, Bailey, Diskin, Adamson, McKenna, Jones-Buchanan, Furner. Replacements: McDonald, McDermott, Lauiti'iti, Burrow.

London: Lucky Luisi, Greenwood, Roy, O'Halloran, Sampson, Sykes, Moran, Trindall, Budworth, Stephenson, Purdham, Toshack, Dymock. Replacements: Stringer, Jackson, Wells, Adebisi. ********* Bradford 64 (28) Tries: Hape (2), Reardon (3), Vainikolo (3), Peacock, Withers, Deacon Goals: Deacon (10) St Helens 24 (10) Tries: Stankevitch, Bennett, Feaunati, Gardner Goals: Long (4)

Hat-tricks from Lesley Vainikolo and Stuart Reardon helped reigning champions Bradford crush St Helens. In an 11-try rout, Shontayne Hape (2), Michael Withers, Paul Deacon and Jamie Peacock also crossed.

The result earns them a week off and a trip to Leeds in the qualifying semi-final of the Grand Final Series.

Mike Bennett, Dom Feaunati, John Stankevitch and Ade Gardner crossed for St Helens who will now face Wigan next weekend for a place at Old Trafford.

Vainikolo's fifth treble of the season took him past Leeds stand-off Danny McGuire and set a new Super League record of 36 tries.

"I'm delighted for Les and I'm very pleased for ourselves," said Bulls coach Brian Noble.

"Les was strong and quick and I thought he was really hungry for work."

St Helens coach Ian St Helens coach Ian Millward was delighted by the display of the returning Sean Long.

Long made his comeback after a three-month suspension for betting against his own side.

"I thought he was fantastic," said Millward. "He looked sharp. I was very happy with him."

Noble agreed, adding: "I thought he looked very sharp and very fresh."

Bradford: Withers, Reardon, L. Pryce, Hape, Vainikolo, Harris, Deacon, Vagana, Paul, Fielden, Swann, Peacock, Radford.

Replacements: Johnson, Pratt, Moore, Parker.

St Helens: Wellens, Gardner, Talau, Viane, Hardman, J. Roby, Long, Mason, Higham, Fa'asavalu, Joynt, Stankevitch, Wilkin.

Replacements: Bennett, Graham, Feaunati, Bracek. ********** Wigan: (6) 21 Tries: Farrell, Aspinwall, Tickle, Brown Goals: Farrell, Tickle Drop goals:Lam

Warrington: (6) 16 Tries: Guisset, Grose, Cardiss Goals: Briers 2

Wigan secured home advantage for next week's Super League play-off against St Helens with victory over Warrington. A try from Kevin Brown gave the home side the points after trailing 16-12 with just 10 minutes left of the match.

Wolves scored first through Jerome Guisset's close-range effort before Wigan skipper Andy Farrell levelled.

Tries from Brent Grose and Daryl Cardiss gave the visitors the lead after winger Martin Aspinwall's effort for Wigan, but it proved not enough.

Wigan coach Denis Betts paid tribute to Andy Farrell and Kris Radlinski for their part in the win.

"Faz has a bout of flu but he wanted to play, he was begging to play. He scored a real captain's try to get us back into it too," said Betts.

"Kris lost a tooth tonight - well half a tooth - but his performance was what we've come to expect from one of the world's best full backs.

"If you need a fullback to defend your line, I'd take Rads every time."

Warrington coach Paul Cullen bemoaned his side's inability to hang on to a lead, but insisted his side were getting close to becoming the finished article.

"I'm delighted with the way we've operated all season. We are one mistake from winning the big games," he said.

"Wigan were gone, out of it, there for the taking, and we let them back into it. That has dogged us all season. But the glass is still half full."

Cullen also refused to be drawn on predicting a winner of the Super League Grand Final next month.

When asked did he think Wigan would feature in the end-of-season mix-up, Cullen snapped: "Not my concern". ------- Wigan: Radlinski, Dallas, Brown, Wild, Aspinwall, Orr, Lam, O'Connor, M. Smith, C. Smith, Farrell, Tickle, O'Loughlin. Replacements: Hodgson, Cassidy, Robinson, Hock.

Warrington: Cardiss, Faa'fili, Grose, Westwood, Gaskell, Briers, N. Wood, Lima, Clarke, Hilton, Sibbit, P. Wood, Forshaw. Replacements: Gleeson, Hulse, Guisset, Leikvoll. ********

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