Swinton Lions 13 Featherstone Rovers 30: Rovers eventually find top gear to maintain win record

Matty Wildie got the breakthrough for Rovers at Swinton.
Matty Wildie got the breakthrough for Rovers at Swinton.
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Featherstone Rovers maintained their 100 per cent record in the Championship with Sunday’s 30-13 win over Swinton Lions at Heywood Road, Sale.

Rovers recovered from 7-6 down at half-time to bag their fourth straight victory and their third on the road, following wins at Halifax and Batley.

Ash Handley was among the tryscorers for Feathestone at Swinton.

Ash Handley was among the tryscorers for Feathestone at Swinton.

Matty Wildie, Andy Bostock, Jason Walton and Ash Handley scored tries and Michael Knowles kicked seven goals as Featherstone inflicted Swinton’s third successive home defeat this year. Rovers were the first to threaten with Chris Ulugia being bundled into touch near the corner. Knowles was then denied a try when the referee ruled there had been a knock on in the build up.

At the other end, Knowles and Ulugia made a vital double tackle to prevent Swinton’s Shaun Robinson from scoring.

There was a lengthy stoppage because of an injury to Featherstone’s Brad Tagg who was replaced by Leeds Rhinos’ dual-registered forward Brett Delaney. The Lions finally broke the deadlock in the 18th minute when Andy Thornley went over.

Chris Atkin kicked a penalty goal six minutes later to make it 6-0. Rovers full-back Ian Hardman was halted just short after a 35-yard run and Anthony Thackeray then put in Handley at the corner but the effort was disallowed for a forward pass.

Wildie eventually made the breakthrough Featherstone were seeking when he darted over from 25 yards out.

Knowles failed with the conversion but he was on target with a penalty kick three minutes later to level the scores.

Swinton edged 7-6 ahead on the stroke of half-time with an Atkin drop goal but Rovers took control in the second-half.

Frankie Mariano made a superb break before Knowles kicked a 56th minute penalty to nose the visitors 8-7 ahead.

Keal Carlile was then held up over the line and Mariano went close before Walton was adjudged to have knocked on over the line.

But Featherstone’s pressure told when Bostock crashed over beneath the posts on the final tackle and Knowles added the easy conversion to give Rovers a 14-7 advantage with 18 minutes remaining. Knowles edged them further ahead with a penalty goal before Swinton were reduced to 12 men in the 66th minute when Conner Dwyer was sin-binned after they had been given a team warning.

Rovers sealed victory four minutes from time when Ulugia and Thackeray paved the way for Walton to cross and Knowles converted.

Swinton’s Thornley scored his second try and Atkin added the extras but Featherstone had the final say with a penalty goal by Knowles and last minute try from Handley that Knowles converted from the touchline.

Swinton Lions: Murphy, Robinson, White, Thornley, Davies, Gore, Atkin, Bracek, Kenny, Navarette, Dwyer, Davies, Lever. Subs: Barlow, Bate, Waterworth, Austin.

Featherstone Rovers: Hardman, Briscoe, Walton, Ulugia, Handley, Thackeray, Wildie, Bostock, Carlile, Baldwinson, Knowles, Davies, Tagg. Subs: Delaney, Mullally, Mariano, Moore.

New Featherstone Rovers coach, John Duffy. PIC: James Hardisty

New boss Duffy told to turn on the style by Featherstone Rovers chairman Campbell