Halifax 26 Featherstone Rovers 32: Rovers pip Halifax in see-saw tussle at the Shay

Kyle Briggs - scored 12 vital points for Featherstone against Halifax.
Kyle Briggs - scored 12 vital points for Featherstone against Halifax.
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Substitute Kyle Briggs scored 12 points as Featherstone Rovers pipped Halifax 32-26 in a thrilling Kingstone Press Championship opener at the Shay.

Halifax hit back from 14-0 down early in the second quarter to lead 22-16 soon after the break, but Briggs booted three penalties and then converted his own late try to get Rovers off to a winning start.

Rovers had seemed on course for a comfortable success when they ran in three tries in the opening 23 minutes.

Josh Hardcastle and Luke Briscoe crossed before Ash Handley completed a stunning long-range touchdown, following Briscoe’s break from near his own line.

Ian Hardman converted the third try, but Halifax’s fightback began on 27 minutes when Ben Kaye’s grubber kick rebounded off a post and Jacob Fairbank touched down.

Steve Tyrer converted and though Hardman kicked a penalty, Halifax scored three tries in seven minutes either side of the break to go 22-16 ahead.

Rob Worrincy’s well-taken try on the final play of the half made it 16-10 and Adam Tangata and Scott Murrell went over soon afterwards as Rovers’ defence fell apart.

Tyrer converted both, but Hardcastle scored his second try from a Matty Wildie pass and Halifax were reduced to 12 men when Mitch Cahalane was sin-binned for a high tackle on Chris Ulugia.

Briggs came off the bench to level the scores with a penalty goal after a break by Andrew Bostock and then James Saltonstall was penalised in possession for dissent and Briggs struck again to edge Rovers back in front with 19 minutes left.

Cahalane returned to set up field position for Tyrer to go over from Conor Robinson’s pass, but the centre could not convert and Halifax opted not to go for goal with a penalty following a brawl, which was placed on report by referee James Child.

With eight minutes left Worrincy knocked on near his own line and in the resulting set Cahalane was penalised for interference and Briggs kicked the goal to equalise again.

In the next set Thackery’s high kick eluded the Rovers defence and bounced kindly for Briggs, who reacted quickly to touch down and then boot the conversion to seal a dramatic win.

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