Battling Featherstone slip to cruel defeat

Winger Scott Turner was on the scoresheet for Featherstone. Picture: Carol Austerberry.
Winger Scott Turner was on the scoresheet for Featherstone. Picture: Carol Austerberry.

Injury-hit Featherstone slipped to a last-gasp 20-19 defeat against Kingstone Press Championship top-four rivals Halifax in Sunday’s game at Big Fellas Stadium.

Rovers looked set to maintain their perfect home record this sewson when Leeds rhinos’ dual-registered half-back Jordan Lilley’s 45-yard drop goal put them 19-18 ahead with just three minutes left.

But Halifax regained possession from the re-start and Steve Tyrer earned Halifax their third straight league win by landing his fourth goal from four kicks when Featherstone were controversially penalised for offside near their own posts.

It was cruel on Rovers and youngster Lilley who made an impressive debut.

Halifax went ahead when Ben Kaye and Jacob Fairbank sent in ex-Featherstone half-back Gareth Moore.

Lilley had an effort ruled out for a forward pass and Jamie Cording was held up over the line before Rovers levelled when Andy Ellis put in Lilley who converted his own try.

Lilley missed a penalty goal attempt on the stroke of half-time but Featherstone went in front two minutes into the second-half when Danny Craven sent in Misi Taulapapa.

Halifax stormed back with two tries in five minutes from former Rovers player Sam Smeaton.

Adam Tangata’s excellent run set up Smeaton’s first and Scott Murrell sent in the centre for his second, with Tyrer adding his third goal to give Halifax an 18-10 lead.

Rovers cut the gap to two points when Will Milner, Craven, Ian Hardman and Taulapapa made the opening for Scott Turner to score at the corner and Lilley added a touchline goal.

Lilley made it 18-18 with a penalty goal and he then edged Featherstone ahead with his one-pointer but Tyrer’s late goal gave Halifax a win that lifted them above Rovers to fifth in the table.

Featherstone Rovers: Hardman; Johnson, Tagg, Taulapapa, Turner; Craven, Lilley; Griffin, Ellis, Ormondroyd, Cording, Davies, Spears. Subs: Bostock, Milner, Cooper, Baldwinson.

Halifax: Greenwood; Eccleston, Smeaton, Tyrer, Saxton; G Moore; Murrell; Cahalane, Kaye, Ambler, Manning, Tangata, Fairbank. Subs: R Moore, Bennion, A Robinson, B Moore.

Referee: Chris Kendall (RFL).

Attendance: 2,129.