RELEGATION candidates Featherstone Lions paid dear for a dreadful start in Saturday’s 36-24 defeat at bottom team Blackbrook in National Conference League Division One.
Lions were 24-0 down after 28 minutes. It wrecked their chances of winning a vital match in their bid to avoid the drop.
From the outset, Blackbrook looked the more determined and enthusiastic side.
Their flying start gave them a decisive advantage over Lions whose defence was non existent at times.
Featherstone were the first to threaten.
Scott Wilson was inches away from scoring after Harry McAllister made an excellent break.
However, Blackbrook then scored a converted try in their first attack.
Featherstone’s Joe Powell made a good take from a high kick as the home side pressed again.
When play switched to the other end, Danny Glassell’s break saw Tom Wandless held on the try line.
Blackbrook then scored two quick tries to stretch their lead to 18-0.
Despite hard work from Lions trio Glassell, Chris Bingham and Wilson, Blackbrook scored again after capitalising on weak tackling.
After Lions had an effort ruled out at the corner, they finally opened their account.
Glassell made a good clearing run before Wilson and Ian Jackson combined to send in Powell who finished well.
On the stroke of half-time, a high kick from Jake Perkins led to Glassell going over in the corner to reduce the deficit to 24-8.
The fightback continued in the second-half when Perkins latched onto a loose ball to race 45 yards for a try that Jackson improved to cut the gap to 10 points.
Lions, who were handiccapped by poor refereeing decisions, then conceded a game-breaking try that virtually ended their chances.
Blackbrook nearly scored again but Glassell rescued Lions with a superb tackle when their defence was split wide open. Glassell then sent in Steve Lawrie for a try but the home side sealed victory with their sixth touchdown and sixth goal.
Featherstone completed the scoring when Glassell bagged his second with a solo effort and Jackson kicked his second goal.
Best for Lions were Glassell, Bingham and Davi Garahan.
Coach Jamie Rooney will be looking for a big improvement whenions host title-chasers Hunslet Club Parkside on Saturday.
Lock Lane stayed on course for the Division One play-offs with a 19-14 victory at Hull Dockers.
Lane’s Jacob Crossland scored two tries and kicked three goals including a drop goal. Connor Land and Harley Axe also crossed.
Lane host Milford Marlins on Saturday.
Cutsyke Raiders and Upton will compete in the Pennine League’s Championship Division when the new season kicks off this Saturday.
Each team in the Championship will play each other once in an 11-fixture format.
The division will then be split in two to make a Division One top six and Division One lower six. All points from previous matches will be deleted and sides will play each other home and away.
The other sides in the Championship are Queens, Ovenden, Illingworth, Siddal, Newsome, Ossett, King Cross, Brighouse, Sharlston and Hunslet Parkside.
Teams in Division Two East are Methley Royals, Lock Lane, Featherstone Lions, Allerton Bywater, Kinsley Raiders, Kippax, Brotherton, Upton A, Moorends, Selby Warriors and Dearne Valley.
Division Two Central comprises Wyke, Birkenshaw, Queensbury, Clayton, Oulton, Woodhouse, Wortley, Swillington, Beeston, Wakefield City and Eastmoor Dragons. Eleven teams in Division Two West include Hanging Heaton and Silsden.
This Saturday’s fixtures involving local teams are:
Championship: Upton v Ovenden; Hunslet Club Parkside v Cutsyke Raiders.
Division Two East: Kinsley Raiders v Lock Lane; Kippax v Featherstone Lions.
Division Two Central: Queensbury v Swillington.