Boxing Day Round up!
One of the main things all Rugby League fans really miss from the days of winter rugby is the good old Boxing Day derby games. Nowadays this tradition is a preseason friendly where, if you’re lucky, you will get to see your team’s new signings or promising youngsters showing off their talents.
In the first of this year’s festive match-ups, Leeds hosted neighbours Wakefield in a game which saw a host of players making their club debuts. Wakefield took the game to the Rhinos and tries from Johnstone and Lyne allowed them to take a 10-0 advantage into the 2nd half. The dominance carried on with Johnstone, Sio and Arundel taking the score to 26-0, until Leeds new boy Jack Ormondroyd scored on a debut to get the Rhinos on the scoreboard. Shortly after, Johnston completed his hat trick to make the final score 30-6.
Another highly anticipated game was played down the road at the Jungle between a Castleford team that have recruited well over the past few months and last season’s cup winners Hull FC. In what would be an excellent day for the Tigers, they gave an inspiring performance winning 42-10, and to add to the Tigers Christmas joys; captain, Michael Shenton, made his comeback from a season-long injury; new signings Luke Million and Tuoyo Egodo both scored on their debut; while Greg Eden romped to a hat-trick on his return and Zak Hardaker showed what he has to offer with a try in a man of the match performance. For Hull, Callum Lancaster and Jez Litten replied with some late tries to prevent the whitewash.
The following day, Warrington travelled the few miles to neighbours Widnes, without new signing and ex Chemic’s captain, Kevin Brown. With both teams playing a mixture of regular first teamers and reserves, Widnes got the 10-6 half time lead through Stefan Marsh and Ryan Ince, with Harvey Livett crossing for the Wire. In the 2nd half, neither team could make the break away, with Brand and Walsh scoring for Widnes, and Atkins and King replying for Warrington. It wasn’t until the latter stages of the game when Warrington finally pulled away from Widnes, taking the game with tries from Kay and Evans to finish 28-18.