Rovers notch first win under new coach Sharp

Matt James scored the last of Featherstone's eight tries in Sunday's 42-30 win against Whitehaven. Picture: Carol Austerberry.
Matt James scored the last of Featherstone's eight tries in Sunday's 42-30 win against Whitehaven. Picture: Carol Austerberry.

Featherstone Rovers ended a four-match losing run with Sunday’s 42-30 victory over Whitehaven at Big Fellas Stadium in their opening Championship Shield fixture.

It was their first win under new head coach Jon Sharp and gave them revenge for a 29-0 home defeat against Whitehaven in the final game of the regular season.

Inspired by half-backs Paul Cooke and Gareth Moore, they built a commanding 42-6 lead but Whitehaven made the game look closer than it was by scoring three tries in the last eight minutes.

The Cumbrians took a fifth minute lead when Ted Chapelhow scored the first of his two tries but Rovers hit back to lead 32-6 at half-time.

Alex Foster went over from Steve Snitch’s long pass top open their account before Moore sent in Jordan Baldwinson for his first try for Rovers to launch a burst of five tries in 14 minutes.

Cooke put in half-back partner Moore whose neat kick then created a try for Will Sharp.

Jamie Cording capitalised on Cooke’s clever kick to score and Moore grabbed his second as Featherstone finished the first-half firmly in command..

They quickly increased their lead in the second period when Ian Hardman’s long pass put in Kyran Johnson at the corner and Matt James powered over from Cooke’s pass, with Paul Sykes adding his fifth goal.

Grant sparked Whitehaven’s revival when he intercepted Moore’s pass and raced 75 yards for a try.

The Cumbrians added 18 late points.

Gore hacked on loose ball for Chapelhow to score his second, Chris Taylor crossed after Sharp fumbled Gore’s high kick and, in the dying seconds, Ed Chamberlain went over from 25 yards out and kicked his fifth conversion.

Featherstone Rovers: Hardman; Johnson, Sykes, Foster, Sharp; Cooke, Moore; Baldwinson, Ellis, Bussey, Cording, Snitch, Spears. Subs: James, Teasdale, Ormondroyd, Knowles-Tagg.

Whitehaven: Taylor; Burns, Wilde, Chamberlain, Calvert; Aiye, Gore; T Chapelhow, Newton, Davies, McAvoy, Hepi, Brooks. Subs: Fox, Quinn, T Coyle, Ancely.

Referee: Chris Kendall (RFL).

Attendance: 1,107.