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Rovers’ top-four hopes left hanging by a thread

Ian Hardman
Ian Hardman
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Featherstone Rovers’ top-four hopes are hanging by a thread after they were narrowly beaten by London Broncos at the LD Nutrition Stadium.

John Duffy’s side now need to win their final fixture – away against Toronto Wolfpack – and hope that two of London, Halifax, Toulouse Olympique and Leigh Centurions lose next weekend.

Aaron Smith

Aaron Smith

Josh Hardcastle came closest to opening the scoring as he received the ball on the right and attempted to nip through two Broncos defenders before being hauled down millimetres before the line.

Rovers had the best chance to put the first points on the board as Ian Hardman opted to kick a penalty goal from 35 metres out but his attempt went wide from straight in front.

It took 38 minutes for the first points of the half to arrive and they came courtesy of Aaron Smith.

On his home debut, Smith took the ball from acting half-back and ducked under the tacklers to stumble over between the sticks.

Ian Hardman soon edged his side further in front as he kicked a drop goal on the stroke of half time.

The Broncos hit back 10 minutes into the second half as Kieran Dixon intercepted the ball on his own line and raced the length of the field to score.

The winger’s conversion attempt came back off the post.

London then took the lead for the first time in the game after they forced a knock on in front of the Rovers line.

From the resulting scrum, the visitors moved the ball swiftly from right to left to full-back Alex Walker who threw a dummy before squeezing through a gap and diving over for the try.

Jarrod Sammut extended the Broncos lead moments later as he took the ball 10 metres out and weaved through the Rovers defence.

With three minutes to go Gareth Hock was sin-binned for dissent as Featherstone failed to muster a response.

Featherstone Rovers: Hardman, Taulapapa, Hardcastle, Walton, Robinson, Thackeray, Carlile, Wheeldon, Davies, Cooper, Lockwood, Smith, Hock. Substitutes: Moore, Smith, Walters, Brooks.

London Broncos: Walker, Dixon, Hellewell, Kear, Williams, Pewhairangi, Cunningham, Battye, Pelissier, Evans, Pitts, Hindmarsh, Davis. Substitutes: Spencer, Ioane, Harrison, Sammut.

Referee: Jack Smith

Hunslet lost their must-win home clash with Doncaster 30-14 in Championship 1.

The hosts actually led 14-6 at the break, thanks to tries by Jack Lee and Nathan Chappell and three goals from the boot of half-back Joe Sanderson.

But Dons hit back in the second period, scoring 24 unanswered points, with full-back Jack Sanderson scoring two tries and kicking four goals to complete the win.