Featherstone find form, Dewsbury defeated, Batley salvage a point
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The visitors weren’t at their ruthless best, yet they scored seven tries through seven different players to seal the 38-12 win – their third-consecutive away success. With Batley Bulldogs and York City Knights both dropping points, the play-off fight has become nail-bitingly close as just two points separate all three sides.
There was pre-match drama at Tetley’s Stadium in Dewsbury as both teams were forced to make last-minute changes.
James Woodburn-Hall pulled up in the warm-up and had to be replaced in the squad by Brandon Moore, with Joe Martin moving into full-back. The Rams, on other hand, brought in Jimmy Beckett for Jack Blagbrough who suffered a biceps problem. These changes didn’t impact the Panthers who arrived with plenty of confidence following their 11-man triumph over Barrow six days prior.
There was plenty of drama at Mount Pleasant where Batley Bulldogs led Whitehaven 22-12 at half-time, saw their lead overhauled to trail by four then rally at the death to salvage a point that keeps them well involved in the ‘sxi’. Super scorer Dale Morton crossed for three more tries with others going to Luke Hooley, James Meadows and Johnny Campbell.
Thunder refused to go away, however, and made it a far more even match as they started to find form in attack but were ultimately undone by that early blitz as Brian McDermott’s side put recent losses behind them.
Jack Broadbent, a recent recruit from Leeds Rhinos, ended the game with four tries for Featherstone, who led 36-12 at half-time.
A late-half try for Junior Moors gave the hosts extended breathing space but Thunder’s fightback continued after the break with the opening score.
And an acrobatic finish from Gideon Boafo gave Thunder hope with half an hour remaining but that was as close as Newcastle got and the momentum began to sway back the other way. Rovers are second on the ladder, three points adrift of leaders Leigh and three ahead of York City Knights, in third.
Also on Saturday, Hunslet were given a good run for their money in Betfred League 1 by hosts Cornwall where it finished 36-24 to the visitors who are sixth in the standings with thoughts of reeling in the play-off teams very much back at the forefront of their minds.