Featherstone Rovers 14 Batley Bulldogs 12: Briggs pulls strings as Rovers fend off Bulldogs

KYLE Briggs led Featherstone to their first win of the season.

Monday, 15th February 2016, 5:00 am
Jon Sharp

Stand-off Briggs set up a try for Misi Taulapapa and landed three goals from three kicks as Rovers pipped Batley, who narrowly failed to repeat the previous week’s surprise victory over Leigh.

Featherstone led 12-6 at half-time and survived a late onslaught from the Bulldogs, who had centre Shaun Squires stretchered off in the first half with a knee injury.

Dave Scott put Batley ahead in the eighth minute when he went over from Cain Southernwood’s pass and Pat Walker converted.

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Rovers, who fielded Leeds Rhinos dual-registered players Ash Handley, Mitch Achurch and Jordan Baldwinson for the second successive game, levelled with Handley’s first try for the club when he capitalised on Anthony Thackeray’s kick.

Featherstone snatched the lead three minutes later with when Taulapapa crossed and Briggs added his second goal.

Two minutes into the second half, Briggs kicked an easy penalty goal which proved crucial.

Batley substitute Alister Leek forced his way over but referee Mike Woodhead disallowed the effort after consulting with a touch judge.

The Bulldogs then reduced the deficit to two points in the 59th minute when Adam Gledhill’s clever kick to the corner saw Wayne Reittie grab a try that Walker goaled from the touchline.

Bulldogs centre Chris Ulugia was foiled by Ian Hardman’s superb tackle and Briggs made an excellent catch near his own try line from Dom Brambani’s kick as Rovers clung onto their slender lead in the closing stages.

Featherstone coach Jon Sharp described it as an “ugly win”. Batley coach John Kear felt that “five crucial decisions” went against his team.

Featherstone Rovers: Craven; Handley, Channing, Hardman, Turner; Briggs, Thackeray; Griffin, Davies, Bostock, Achurch, Spears, Taulapapa. Subs (used): Ormondroyd, Tagg, Baldwinson. Sub (not used): Day

Batley Bulldogs: Scott; Reittie, Ulagia, Squires, Ainscough; Southernwood, Brambani; Hirst, Blake, Brown, Bretherton, Chandler, Walker. Subs (used): Rowe, Gledhill, Lillycrop, Leek.

Referee: Mike Woodhead (St Helens).

Attendance: 2,103.