Halifax 20 Featherstone 24: Rovers victory boosts hopes finishing in the top four

Misi Taulapapa.
Misi Taulapapa.
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Featherstone Rovers put themselves in the driving seat for a top four Championship finish with a superb 24-20 win at Halifax that almost certainly ended their hosts’ chances.

Jon Sharp’s side, winners at Batley last weekend, recovered from a 14-12 interval deficit to dominate the second half at the Shay with a near error free performance. With defences holding firm, Halifax opened the scoring in the 19th minute, Steve Tyrer kicking a penalty after Fairbank and Rovers’ Ian Hardman had been sin binned after a scuffle at the ruck.

But it was Rovers hit back with two tries. Hooker Andy Ellis got the first with a trademark twist over from dummy half, with winger Ashton Golding grabbing the second on the right and Kyle Briggs adding a single conversion for a 10-2 advantage.

The home side cut the deficit when hooker Connor Robinson claimed Scott Murrell’s grubber kick and Tyrer cut the deficit to 10-8 with the conversion.

Rovers moved 12-8 up just before half time when they opted to kick a penalty, but when Golding lost the ball from the restart, the home side punished them, Simon Grix slipping Ben Johnston over.

Tyrer converted for a 14-12 interval lead, which Rovers cancelled out with a Briggs penalty five minutes into the second half.

The visitors then retook the lead when Misi Taulapapa wriggled over on the left, although Briggs’ missed the conversion. Halifax hit back when Mitch Cahalane crashed over under the posts, Scott Murrell converting. But a dropped ball from Will Sharp, the former Rovers winger, gave Featherstone another attacking chance and the former Halifax half back Anthony Thackeray took advantage, Briggs’ goal making it 24-20.

Halifax threw everything at their visitors in the last 10 minutes, but never really looked like snatching a win they would have scarcely deserved.

Halifax: Johnston; Sharp, Heaton, Tyrer, Saltonstall; G. Moore, Murrell; Cahalane, Robinson, Tangata, Grix, Sarsfield, Fairbank. Subs: Ambler, R. Moore, B. Moore, Boyle

Featherstone: Hardman; Golding, Channing, Tagg, Taulapapa; Briggs, Thackeray; Bostock, Ellis, Baldwinson, Snitch, Davies, Ormondroyd. Subs: Griffin, Spears, Cooper, Mullally.

Referee: James Child (RFL).