Featherstone Rovers 20 Halifax 4: Rovers post early top-four statement of intent

Featherstone try scorer, Ian Hardman. PIC: Tony Johnson
Featherstone try scorer, Ian Hardman. PIC: Tony Johnson
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fev began the new season the same way they started and ended last year’s campaign by beating Betfred Championship top-four rivals Halifax.

Rovers bossed the first half and shot ahead with two early tries but Halifax clawed their way back to be only four points adrift at the break. The home side sealed victory in the final quarter. Mitch Clark, a loan signing from Castleford Tigers and son of former Featherstone hooker Trevor Clark, made his Rovers debut from the bench.

Halifax's Ed Barber takes on the Rovers defence. PIC: Tony Johnson

Halifax's Ed Barber takes on the Rovers defence. PIC: Tony Johnson

Castleford dual-registered players Jy Hitchcox and Alex Foster faced their old club along with other ex-Featherstone players Will Sharp and Ben Kaye.

Playing down the slope, Rovers took a fifth-minute lead when captain Ian Hardman put in Luke Briscoe at the corner.

The 11th minute when veteran Misi Taulapapa made the opening for former Swinton Lions winger Shaun Robinson to dive over in style on his competitive Rovers debut.

Martin Ridyard put in an excellent 40-20 as Featherstone’s domination continued with them enjoying the lion’s share of the possession. After starting badly, Halifax cut the gap to 8-4 when Ben Heaton scored shortly before half-time after capitalising on a neat kick by Murrell whose conversion attempt struck a post.

Rovers' Scott Wheeldon, Luke Cooper and Richard Moore swarm over Fax full-back, Will Sharp. PIC: Tony Johnson

Rovers' Scott Wheeldon, Luke Cooper and Richard Moore swarm over Fax full-back, Will Sharp. PIC: Tony Johnson

After the break Featherstone lost injured Robinson following an incident that was put on report by referee Gareth Hewer. Rovers struck in the 63rd minute when classy half-back Ridyard, a close-season signing from Leigh Centurions, exchanged passes with Farrell to dart over, and made sure of victory 10 minutes later when Ridyard’s long pass put in Thackeray, with Ridyard adding both conversions.

Featherstone Rovers: Hardman; Briscoe, Hardcastle, Taulapapa, Robinson; Ridyard, Holmes; Cooper, Carlile, Wheeldon, Farrell, Davies, Moore. Subs: Thackeray, Hock, Mariano, Clark.

Halifax: Sharp; Heaton, Woodburn-Hall, Tyrer, Hitchcox; Murrell, Johnston; Maher, Kaye, Morris, Barber, Grix, Fairbank. Subs: Fleming, Douglas, Moore, Foster.

Referee: Gareth Hewer (Whitehaven).

Attendance: 2,743.

Connor Farrell.  Picture Tony Johnson.

Injured Featherstone Rovers forward Farrell facing lengthy lay-off