FEATHERSTONE Rovers missed a chance to climb above London Broncos to second in the Kingstone Press Championship when they lost to them for the second time in four weeks.
Rovers, aiming to avenge last month’s 42-16 hammering at the Summer Bash, were sunk by three late tries after leading 12-0 midway through the first half and 24-16 in the second period.
The Broncos consolidated second spot with their 10th straight win with three touchdowns in the final seven minutes by Kieran Dixon, Elliot Kear and Alex Walker.
Featherstone, playing their third game in 10 days, took an 11th minute lead when Leeds Rhinos dual-registered prop Jordan Baldwinson forced his way over from Keal Carlile’s pass and Ian Hardman added the first of his five goals.
Rovers, fielding the same team that beat Swinton 36-2 in midweek, doubled their lead eight minutes later when Matty Wildie sent Misi Taulapapa diving over at the corner. Featherstone knocked on from the re-start and London capitalised with Matty Gee’s try and the first of Dixon’s four goals.
They cut the gap to four points when Hardman failed to deal with William Barthau’s high kick and Walker pounced for the first of his two tries, with Dixon missing the easy conversion. Rovers swiftly replied when Frankie Mariano went over out wide but the Broncos cut the gap to 18-16 shortly before half-time. Walker was held up over the line before Barthau ghosted through for a try.
The Broncos suffered a setback three minutes into the second-half when they lost injured Barthau.
Rovers forced two goalline drop-outs and their pressure was rewarded when Andy Bostock powered over.
London reduced the deficit to two points in the 60th minute with a superb solo effort from Jarrod Sammut.
The Broncos had a let-off two minutes later when Rovers winger Kyran Johnson raced clear but referee Jack Smith ruled the pass was forward.
Carlile was held up over the line as Featherstone continued to press but Dixon then intercepted a pass and raced 85 yards for a crucial 73rd minute try.
The Broncos sealed victory when Kear crossed at the corner and Jay Pitts put in Walker for his second. Wildie scored a late try for Featherstone whose only consolation was that top-four rivals Toulouse and Halifax also lost.
London Broncos: Walker; Williams, Kear, Channing, Dixon; Sammut, Barthau; Evans, Ackers, Ioane, Pitts, Hellewell, Gee. Subs: Pewhairangi, Offerdahl, Roqica, Battye.
Featherstone Rovers: Hardman; Johnson, Ulugia, Hardcastle, Taulapapa; Thackeray, Wildie; Baldwinson, Carlile, Griffin, Walton, Mariano, Walters. Subs: Davies, Moore, Bostock, Ormondroyd.
Referee: Jack Smith (RFL).