Rovers overcome injury setbacks to reach Challenge Cup quarterfinals

Scott Turner scored his 100th career try.
Scott Turner scored his 100th career try.

WINGER Scott Turner bagged two tries including the 100th of his career as Featherstone booked their place in the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup quarterfinals by beating Halifax 24-12 at LD Nutrition Stadium tonight.

Featherstone’s fifth straight win came at a cost because they lost centre Chris Ulugia and winger Luke Briscoe with injuries.

Josh Hardcastle, who replaced Ulugia, sealed victory with a 72nd minute try as Rovers repeated their league win at Halifax earlier this season.

Rovers coach Jon Sharp said: “When we lost Ulugia and Briscoe it made it difficult for us but we remained composed.”

Halifax survived early Featherstone pressure before they went ahead when Scott Murrell put in Ben Heaton for a 16th minute try that Steve Tyrer goaled.

Rovers levelled five minutes later when John Davies crashed over from Keal Carlile’s pass and Cory Aston converted.

Featherstone shrugged off the loss of Ulugia with a suspected fractured leg to take the lead when Thackeray’s long pass saw Turner score his first and Aston added the extras.

Halifax’s Rob Worrincy had an effort ruled out for a foot in touch but Rovers finished the half firmly on top.

Ian Hardman was held up over the line by ex-Rovers player Will Sharp and Thackeray’s drop goal attempt hit a post.

Thackeray had better luck with another drop kick on the stroke of half-time to put Featherstone 13-6 ahead at the break.

Knowles was twice held over the line as Halifax again came under severe pressure early in the second-half.

Halifax’s defence finally cracked when Turner produced a great finish to score at the corner but Rovers then suffered a setback with Briscoe’s ankle injury.

Halifax’s Shane Grady was sin-binned in the 55th minute for tripping Misi Taulapapa but the 12-man visitors got back in the game when Ben Johnston darted over in the 60th minute and Tyrer’s conversion cut the gap to five points.

Six minutes later, Thackeray landed his second drop goal to put the home side 18-12 up.

Man of the match Thackeray then again hit the post with another attempt before Featherstone completed the scoring with Hardcastle’s touchdown that Aston goaled.

Featherstone Rovers: Hardman; Turner, Ulugia, Taulapapa, Briscoe; Thackeray, Aston; Moore, Carlile, Cooper, Knowles, Davies, Lockwood. Subs: Tagg, Griffin, Wildie, Hardcastle.

Halifax: Sharp; Saltonstall, Woodburn-Hall, Tyrer, Worrincy; Murrell, C Robinson; Tangata, B Moore, Cahalane, Grady, Heaton, Fairbank. Subs: Morris, Boyle, Barber, Johnston.

Referee: Chris Campbell.