Late burst of points secures home tie for Featherstone

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Featherstone Rovers secured home advantage for the Betfred Championship Shield final when they produced a strong finish to win 34-18 at Swinton Lions.

John Duffy’s men trailed
16-12 at the break and looked in danger of defeat when locked at 18-18 with Misi Taulapapa sent to the sin-bin, but scored three tries in the last 12 minutes to seal victory and earn home advantage in the Shield final after Leigh lost to Batley.

Rovers made a good start with back rower John Davies going over for his 50th career try in his 200th career game to open the scoring after 10 minutes. Ian Hardman added the conversion.

But back came the Lions after Davies was yellow-carded for a high tackle on Rob Fairclough. With their extra man Swinton took full advantage as their back-rower Andy Thornley forced his way over for an unconverted try, with Ryan Gray and Craig Mullen quickly following suit, Jack Hansen converting the latter.

Fev reduced their arrears when Taulapapa crossed the line and Hardman tagged on the extras before Fairclough landed a penalty to give Lions a 16-12 lead at the break.

Fairclough added another penalty after the restart, but Fev half-back Anthony Thackeray came up with a fine piece of play, dancing his way over to reduce the arrears.

With Hardman converting the scores were level. Solid defence held them out further until Taulapapa was sin-binned along with Swinton’s Fairclough.

With 12 minutes left it was still all to play for before Fev nudged ahead as hooker Danny Maskill got over and Rovers finally showed their superiority to go further in front with Thackeray sending Connor Farrell in, both tries converted by Hardman, before Josh Hardcastle dotted down to complete the scoring.

Swinton Lions: Fell; Butt, Lloyd, Mullen, Gray; Fairclough, J Hansen; Austin, Waterworth, Hall, Thornley, Shelford, H Hansen. Subs: Worrall, Jones, Ganson, Billsborough.

Featherstone Rovers: Hardman; Whylie, Taulapapa, Hardcastle, Robinson; Thackeray, Wildie; Cooper, Maskill, Brooks, Farrell, Davies, Lockwood. Subs: Carlile, Tagg, Ridyard.

Referee: Tom Grant (RFL).

Attendance: 606.