Championship Shield/League One: Injury-hit Rovers lead race to host final after seeing off main rivals Leigh

Anthony Thackeray made Rovers tick in the win over Leigh. PIC: Dec Hayes
Anthony Thackeray made Rovers tick in the win over Leigh. PIC: Dec Hayes
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Featherstone’s hopes of a home clash in the Championship Shield final received a huge boost with victory over Leigh, despite having just 14 fit players available.

A strong first-half showing from the home side proved decisive. Rovers leapfrogged Leigh into first place and know that if they win their remaining games against, Sheffield, Dewsbury, Swinton and Barrow they will host this year’s Championship Shield final.

Johnny Campbell scored a hat-trick of tries in Batley's win at Barrow. PIC: Paul Butterfield

Johnny Campbell scored a hat-trick of tries in Batley's win at Barrow. PIC: Paul Butterfield

Rovers were first on the board through a Josh Hardcastle’s try. With 25 minutes gone, John Davies, shunted in at centre due to a lack of numbers, put Rovers farther in front.

Just before the interval, a superb piece of individual play from Anthony Thackeray increased the host’s advantage.

The ball was moved at pace along the attacking line to Thackeray who sold a dummy before nipping round the defender and stretching out to plant the ball down. Proceedings took a sour turn at the very end of the half when Ilias Bergal and Hardcastle were sin-binned.

Leigh responded 20 minutes into the second half when Matty Dawson-Jones went over in the right corner. Rovers weathered a five-minute onslaught from the Centurions before the game descended into a real battle as both sides conceded possession with soft penalties and errors. But victory was sealed when Taulapapa intercepted the ball and fed the supporting Matty Wildie who finished in the corner.

Also in the Championship Shield, Johnny Campbell bagged a hat-trick in Batley Bulldogs’ 36-16 victory at Barrow Raiders. And in League One, Hunslet ran out comfortable 48-12 victors over visiting London Skolars.