Featherstone Rovers 36 Toulouse Olympique 18: Early-season fitness is driving Rovers to triumph

Double try scorer, Luke Briscoe. PIC: Tony Johnson
Double try scorer, Luke Briscoe. PIC: Tony Johnson
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FEATHERSTONE recovered from 14-8 down early in the second half to maintain their 100 per cent record in the Betfred Championship.

Their fitness again told in a strong finish like it did in their opening-day victory over Halifax.

Form kicker, Martyn Ridyard. PIC: Tony Johnson

Form kicker, Martyn Ridyard. PIC: Tony Johnson

Winger Luke Briscoe bagged two tries, half-back Martyn Ridyard kicked six goals and impressive Mitch Clark scored his first try for the club as Rovers inflicted Toulouse’s first defeat.

Featherstone did well to survive early Toulouse pressure before Ridyard put them ahead with a sixth-minute penalty goal.

Toulouse’s Charles Bouzinac went close and Briscoe then missed a chance when he lost the ball near the try line.

The French side, who completed a league double over Featherstone last season, scored the opening try after 18 minutes when half-backs William Barthau and Robin made the opening for Paul Marcon to race over for the first of his two touchdowns and Mark Kheirallah converted. Six minutes later, Toulouse substitute Tyla Hepi was sin-binned and Rovers soon capitalised on the extra man.

Mitch Clark, scored his first try for Featherstone. PIC: Tony Johnson

Mitch Clark, scored his first try for Featherstone. PIC: Tony Johnson

Briscoe dived in at the corner but he was ruled to have been in touch but the wing man made no mistake in the 30th minute when Tom Holmes sent him over to level the scores.

Ridyard edged Rovers back in front with a penalty goal and Toulouse then had a let-off when Ridyard touched down Anthony Thackeray’s kick but the effort was disallowed for off-side.

The game swung back Toulouse’s way two minutes before half-time when Barthau created a try for Rhys Curran to put the visitors 10-8 up.

Featherstone fell farther behind three minutes into the second half when Marcon bagged his second try after great work by Kheirallah but they swiftly replied when Thackeray went in from Holmes’s pass to cut the gap to two points.

Featherstone took control with two tries in two minutes, with Holmes putting in Clark – signed on loan from Castleford Tigers – and John Davies, with Ridyard adding both conversions. They sealed victory 13 minutes from time when Josh Hardcastle scored from Thackeray’s superb pass.

Leeds Rhinos dual registered centre Ash Handley nearly scored from Ridyard’s kick before Briscoe darted in for his second.

Toulouse had the last word with three minutes remaining when Gavin Marguerite crossed at the corner.

Featherstone Rovers: Thackeray; Briscoe, Hardcastle, Handley, Taulapapa; Ridyard, Holmes; Wheeldon, Carlile, Moore, Farrell, Davies, Lockwood. Subs: Wildie, Knowles, Hock, Clark.

Toulouse Olympique: Kheirallah; Marcon, Marguerite, Ader, Maurel; Barthau, Robin; Puech, Bouzinac, Canet, Curran, Mika, Marion. Subs: Kriouache, Bentley, Hepi, Pettybourne.

Referee: Scott Mikalauskas (RFL).

Attendance: 2,033.

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