It was knock-out football as the Betfred Championship Play-Offs arrived at Leigh Sports Village, where fifth placed Featherstone Rovers met the Leigh Centurions for the priviledge of a semi-final encounter against the York City Knight next weekend.

Both sides were without some key players as they went into a nerve-wracking sudden death battle. The last time that they met was in West Yorkshire when Rovers secured a 24-20 win but when Rovers visited the LSV in February it was the home side who took the win with a 29-20 victory.

Leigh were big favourites with the bookies but this was knockout football, anything could happen.

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With Whitehaven already promoted to the Betfred Championship for 2020 it was time to find out who would be joining them to replace the relegated Rochdale and Barrow.

Fourth placed Doncaster were up against third placed Newcastle for the chance to travel to Oldham next weekend to secure a place in the League One play off final.

Both encounters between these two sides during the regular league season were close affairs with honours shared with one win apiece. The margins were just six points and a single drop goal so there was plenty of promise of a close game.

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While the loser of todays Betfred Championship play off match between Toulouse Olympique XIII and the York City Knights would get a second bite of the cherry, the winners would go to Toronto knowing that a victory would see them into the Championship Play Off Final and a 50:50 chance of making Super League.

Just one league point separated these two teams at the end of twenty-seven regular rounds but Toulouse won both encounters in 2019, albeit by close scorelines. Both sides came into the game with just one defeat each in their last nine outings and despite the weather conditions favouring the home side the stage was set for a battle royal between two sides who wanted to earn that trip to Toronto.

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The drinks were being poured in the last chance saloon and the fat lady was going through her scales as Wakefield Trinity welcomed the London Broncos for the last game of the regular Super League season. It would be a devastating Friday 13th for one of four sides, and both of tonights opponents were in the mix.

While the maths were far from simple, a win for either side guaranteed them safety and a 2020 season playing the Super League. Wakefield would be safe, even if they sustain a loss, providing one of either Huddersfield (v. The Catalans Dragons) or Hull KR (v. Salford Red Devils) also lost their game tonight.

It was bound to be a nerve tingling night for the supporters of all four clubs in danger of the drop.

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Wigan secured second spot and a home play-off tie when the Tigers came to town. The visitors needed a win to secure fifth and their own play-off participation – while knowing that they hadn't secured a victory, or scored a try, in either of their last two visits to the DW stadium, including last season's play-off semi. But it was Castleford who opened the scoring in this encounter. Awarded a penalty in the eighth minute, after Wigan were caught with hands in the ruck, Gareth Ellis went for the two and duly slotted the ball over. Unfortunately for the visiting fans, it was the last time the black and amber team troubled the scoreboard operator until the 80th minute.
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There can have been fewer more important, or more significant, matches in 2019 than tonights' clash between Hull KR and the London Broncos. A win for the home side would guarantee them Super League in 2020, but an away victory would send the relegation battle into the last weekend of the season.

KR had Craig Hall, Mitch Garbutt and Matt Parcell back to bolster their chances in an experienced side who have been in this position before. The Broncos had Daniel Hindmarsh in for Mark Iaone and know how to win when the pressure is on.

Hull KR were strong favourites with the bookies to do the business and get the crucial two points, but London have sprung plenty of surprises in 2019.

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All that stood between Hull FC and a guaranteed play off place was a win at the Castleford Tigers as they travelled to West Yorkshire in the opening round twenty-six game. FC came into the game two points ahead of the Tigers and daren't contemplate a loss which would see Castleford go above them on points difference with just one round remaining.

The home side had Matt Cook back in the side for the first time since July, while the visitors welcomed back Albert Kelly and Ratu Naulago.

On paper it really was too close to call, and would depend on which Hull FC side had made the journey, the one that beat Castleford the last time they met, or the one which crashed to struggling Huddersfield Giants last time out.

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Round twenty-six of the Betfred Championship was where the top five was finally decided, and where Barrow were confirmed as making the drop into Championship One for 2020, alongside the long relegated Rochdale Hornets.

The top two sides, Toulouse and Toronto, both had Saturday evening home matches against bottom of the table opposition in Dewsbury and Barrow, while the game of the round was undoubtedly at third placed Leigh on Sunday afternoon where fourth placed York City Knights were the visitors.

Elsewhere Sheffield were at Odsal to play Bradford, Halifax had a home game against Rochdale, Featherstone were at Batley and Widnes hosted Swinton.

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After the Huddersfield Giants surprised the black and white side of Hull last night, the quest of the red and white side became instantly more urgent and more important as they travelled to the south of France to take on a Catalans Dragons side who were looking to make the most of last nights losses for Castleford and Hull FC to increase their chances of a play-off place.

While still unlikley, a win for the Dragons would lift them level on points with the Tigers and within two points of the final play-off spot, a loss for Hull KR could see them drop to the bottom of the table on points difference, having played a game more than the London Broncos.

It was a game where both sides had everything to play for in front of a good crowd at the Stade Gilbert Brutus.

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For minor premiers St Helens the Friday night round twenty-seven game against the Castleford Tigers was all about getting back on the bike after last weeks massive disappointment at Wembley, where they arrived as favourites and were totally outplayed.

For Castleford Tigers the game was all about a massive two points in their quest to be part of the 2019 play-off series. A win would lift the visitors into fifth place and a win by more than twenty-two points would lift them into third.

Saints were without Lachlan Coote and Dominique Peyroux while Cory Aston and Tuoyo Egodo were omitted from Daryl Powells side.

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