Rovers beat Halifax to set up top-four decider against Bradford

Anthony Thackeray scored the match-winning try for Rovers at Halifax. Picture: Bob Nunn.
Anthony Thackeray scored the match-winning try for Rovers at Halifax. Picture: Bob Nunn.

Featherstone Rovers will clinch a Championship top-four place if they win next Sunday’s home game against Bradford Bulls in their final fixture of the regular season.

Rovers followed their impressive 34-6 win at Batley by avenging two defeats against Halifax this season with Sunday’s crucial 24-20 victory at The Shay.

Featherstone are one point ahead of Halifax and level on points with Bradford who climbed to fourth place by trouncing Oldham 44-12.

Third-placed Batley Bulldogs, who visit Swinton next Sunday, are one point ahead of Rovers and Bradford.

Trailing 14-12 at half-time, Rovers came out on top at Halifax thanks to Anthony Thackeray’s 67th minute match-winning try.

Featherstone’s Ian Hardman and Halifax’s Jacob Fairbank were sin-binned after an 18th minute flare up which resulted in Steve Tyrer kicking a penalty goal to put the home side ahead.

Rovers then took charge with two tries in three minutes.

Andy Ellis scooted over from acting before before Leeds Rhinos’ dual registered winger Ashton Golding darted over, with Kyle Briggs converting the first try to give them a 10-2 lead.

Halifax, who trounced Rovers 37-0 at Blackpool’s Summer Bash and pipped them 20-19 at Big Fellas Stadium earlier this season. cut the gap to two points when Thackeray fumbled Scott Murrell’s last tackle kick and Connor Robinson pounced for a touchdown that Tyrer goaled.

Briggs kicked a penalty to put Rovers 12-8 ahead but Golding knocked on from the re-start and Halifax capitalised when Ben Johnston grabbed a try that Tyrer improved to edge them in front at the break.

Misi Taulapapa forced his way over for a 53rd minute try to put Rovers back ahead but the game then swung back Halifax’s way when Mitch Calahane went over beneath the posts and Murrell added the extras.

Feaherstone bounced back once more when Jack Ormondroyd put in Thackeray for his vital score and Briggs converted to give them a four-point lead which they held onto in a nail-biting finish.

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

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

Referee: James Child.