Championship: Sharp and Backhouse players of the week
Featherstone Rovers full-back Will Sharp and York City Knights second-row Ryan Backhouse have been voted Championship Players of the Week.
Both players had key roles in their side’s important wins over Halifax and Hunslet Hawks respectively.
Every week each coach in both the Kingstone Press Championship and Championship One is contacted to help decide the awards.
Kingstone Press Player of the Week – Will Sharp (Featherstone Rovers)
Featherstone Rovers player Will Sharp made a successful switch in positions to help his side to a crucial 20-4 Kingstone Press Championship win at Halifax.
In a game promoted as the “£250,000 match” due to the importance of finishing second this season, Sharp produced an influential performance in both attack and defence.
Rovers coach Andy Hay said: “When I told Will that he would be playing full-back on Tuesday he was very excited about it and he took that into the game.
“He plays with a lot of passion and a smile on his face, and he did a real good job for us.
“He’s played fullback before but not for a while, and there was probably a few question marks when I named him there.
“But he fully repaid my faith and had probably his best game of the season, not only in attack but in saving a certain try in defence as well.”
Kingstone Press Championship One Player of the Week – Ryan Backhouse (York City Knights)
Second-row Ryan Backhouse made an immediate impact after his introduction midway through the first half of York City Knights’ 20-18 win against Hunslet Hawks.
Backhouse broke free and fed James Ford for the Knights’ first try of the game, after Liam Hood had put Hunslet in front.
York coach Gary Thornton said: “Ryan did 55 minutes for us, produced the turning point when James Ford scored, and made a host of clean breaks on the left edge throughout the game.
“He’s played really well over the last two weeks, and he’s getting better and better. He’s progressing week by week.
“He’s a skilful player who creates a lot of tries from offloads in the tackle. He’s not the biggest, but he’s got good footwork at the line, and strength to go with it. His decision-making is also very good.”
Kingstone Press Performance of the Week – Featherstone Rovers
Featherstone Rovers leapfrogged Halifax in the race for second place in the Kingstone Press Championship with a comprehensive first half performance in a 20-4 win.
The game had been billed as the “£250,000 match” given the difference in prize money between second and third place, but Halifax saw themselves 20-0 down after just 21 minutes.
Rovers coach Andy Hay said: “I thought we were very clinical and composed in that first half.
“There was a lot of pressure piled on the game, the players and the team, and there’d been some remarks about our performance at Leigh from outsiders as well.
“But the players didn’t let it affect them and stuck to their task.
“We played at a difference pace to Halifax in the first half and they struggled to deal with it, and definitely we were the best we’ve been all year.”
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Kingstone Press Try of the Week – Colton Roche (York City Knights)
Prop Colton Roche scored the match-winning try six minutes from time to put York City Knights in pole position to finish top of Kingstone Press Championship One.
The Knights were trailing against rivals Hunslet Hawks until Roche stepped forward and powered his way to the line.
Knights coach Gary Thornton said: “Colton’s been excellent for us. He took a while to settle in, but now he’s got his fitness and game-speed up, he’s been a great addition for us.
“He took the ball about 15 or 20 metres away from the Hunslet line, and used all his strength to carry three or four defenders over with him.
“For a big fella he’s got some terrific pace, and he uses it really well at the line.”
Kingstone Press Championship Team of the Week
1 Will Sharp (Featherstone Rovers)
2 Dale Morton (Dewsbury Rams)
3 Chris Taylor (Whitehaven)
4 Ian Hardman (Featherstone Rovers)
5 Misi Taulapapa (Sheffield Eagles)
6 Danny Jones (Keighley Cougars)
7 Carl Forber (Workington Town)
8 Ben Davies (Barrow Raiders)
9 Karl Ashall (North Wales Crusaders)
10 Anthony Bate (Leigh Centurions)
11 Matt Sarsfield (Leigh Centurions)
12 Shane Grady (Dewsbury Rams)
13 Steve Snitch (Doncaster)
Kingstone Press Championship One Team of the Week
1 Jordan Meads (Gateshead Thunder)
2 James Saltonstall (York City Knights)
3 David Cookson (Oldham)
4 Mufaro Mvududu (London Skolars)
5 Ilies Macani (London Skolars)
6 Steven Roper (Oldham)
7 Benn Hardcastle (Gateshead Thunder)
8 RIchard Moore (Hunslet Hawks)
9 Connor Farrer (South Wales Scorpions)
10 Lee Fewlass (Gateshead Thunder)
11 Josh Crowley (Oldham)
12 Ryan Backhouse (York City Knights)
13 Harrison Elliott (South Wales Scorpions)