GREG Worthington (pictured) bagged a hat trick of tries as Featherstone Rovers boosted their chances of finishing top of the Co-operative Championship for the second year running with Thursday’s 36-28 win at Barrow Raiders.
Rovers are now level on points at the top with Leigh Centurions with a match in hand.
Featherstone overcame injury problems as they stretched their unbeaten league run to 10 matches by bouncing back superbly from their 31-30 Northern Rail Cup semi-final defeat against Halifax.
Centre Worthington, who was originally 18th man, was called up as a late replacement when Tommy Saxton failed a fitness test shortly before the kick-off.
Rovers also lost Tim Spears after four minutes with an ankle injury and Mick Haley in the second-half with a suspected broken wrist.
Barrow twice held the lead in a see-saw first half thanks to two tries from Gregg McNally and another from captain Gary Broadbent, all goaled by ex-Rovers player Jamie Rooney.
Worthington touched down twice for Rovers and Sam Smeaton and Jon Hepworth also scored first-half tries as Daryl Powell’s men led 22-18 at the break.
Bryn Powell added another touchdown eight minutes into the second half and Worthington completed his hat-trick on the hour to put Featherstone 30-18 up.
Two tries in three minutes from winger Andy Ballard saw the Raiders cut the gap to just two points, but Featherstone half-back Liam Finn scored the deciding try 10 minutes from the end and kicked a fourth goal to wrap up Featherstone’s third win over Barrow this season.
Scorers - Barrow: tries Ballard (2), McNally (2), Broadbent; goals Rooney (4). Featherstone: tries Worthington (3), Hepworth, Powell, Finn, Smeaton; goals Finn (4).
Barrow Raiders: Broadbent; Larkin, Blackwood, Harrison, Ballard; Campbell, McNally; Thackray, Gleeson, Walker, Knowles, James, Rooney. Subs: Mossop, Ostler, Butler, Davies.
Featherstone Rovers: Hardman; Powell, Smeaton, Worthington, Hepworth; Kain, Finn; Haley, Netherton, Dickens, Grayshon, Spears, Divorty. Subs: Tonks, Gledhill, Mvududu, Bostock.
Referee: Matthew Thomason.