Featherstone 20 London Broncos 10: Dominant second-half display consolidates Rovers’ impetus for Shield semi-final

Gareth Moore
Gareth Moore
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FEATHERSTONE warmed up for next Sunday’s Championship Shield home semi-final against Workington with a dominant second-half display.

Trailing 4-0 at half-time, they looked in danger of suffering their second home defeat against London this season but they turned the game round.

Experienced half-backs Paul Cooke and Gareth Moore, and loose-forward Jack Bussey were key contributors to Featherstone’s sixth win in seven games. Rovers, who lost Jack Ormondroyd in the warm-up with a back injury, dominated the first-half territorially but were unable to crack London’s solid defence.

The Broncos took an eighth-minute lead with a well-worked try from ex-Featherstone centre Ben Hellewell.

Rovers centre Paul Sykes and London winger Iliess Macani both had efforts ruled out for forward passes and Featherstone’s Sam Day and Ben Blackmore were held up over the line.

London missed a glorious chance to increase their lead early in the second period when Elliot Kear fumbled the ball over the try line.

Featherstone made the most of the let-off by grabbing a 51st minute lead when Andy Ellis, Cooke, Moore and Thomas Minns created the opening for Will Sharp to cross and Sykes added a touchline goal.

The home side tightened their grip by adding three tries in eight minutes. Good work by Cooke, Sykes and Ian Hardman saw Blackmore score before Will Milner plunged over from Cooke’s pass.

Cooke then set up a try for Jack Coventry that Sykes goaled to put Rovers 20-4 up.

London’s only reply came three minutes from time with a spectacular 55-yard individual effort from Macani.

Before the kick-off, the RFL’s chief executive Nigel Wood officially opened Featherstone’s two new stands that were transported from Scarborough and rebuilt by volunteers.

Featherstone: Hardman; Blackmore, Sykes, Minns, Sharp; Cooke, Moore; Baldwinson, Ellis, Coventry, Spears, Snitch, Bussey. Subs: Day, Milner, Cooper, Knowles-Tagg.

London: Morris; Williams, Hellewell, Kear, Macani; Pointer, Keyes; Riley, Cunningham; Dollapi, Harrison, Garside, Davis. Subs: Henderson, Adebiyi, Walker, Everett.

Referee: Chris Campbell (Widnes).

Attendance: 1,587.