Featherstone Rovers maintained the pressure on Kingstone Press Championship leaders Halifax thanks to a 16-12 victory over Batley Bulldogs at Mount Pleasant on Sunday.
It was a cracking contest and a great advert for Championship rugby between two sides who are expected to be in the play-off shake up come September.
Batley were aggrieved by a 38th minute incident when, with the scores level at 6-6, Ben Black intercepted a pass and raced down the slope.
The stand-off would have had a clear run to the line but referee Chris Leatherbarrow pulled play back and awarded Batley the scrum for a knock-on.
Featherstone took a 13th minute lead when Will Sharp showed tremendous strength to shrug off a couple of defenders on a powerful run to the line and Liam Finn added a superb touchline goal.
Batley hit back to level after 33 minutes when Black’s grubber kick hit a post and bounced up for the stand-off to regather and touch down, with Gareth Moore converting.
Black could have scored a second soon after when he was pulled back before Moore edged Batley 8-6 ahead at half-time with a 40 metre penalty goal.
Rovers, roared on by a terrific away following, hit back when Franky Mariano popped up on the left to score and Finn again landed the touchline goal.
Tim Spears extended Featherstone’s lead when he benefited from a superb break by Ian Hardman and although Finn was unable to convert, Rovers led 16-8.
Johnny Campbell looked to have been sent over on the right but was pulled back for a forward pass following fine work by Black and the Rovers defence had to be alert to push the winger into touch soon after.
Batley eventually hit back when Greg Johnson powered through several tacklers to score a 75th minute try and although Moore’s conversion attempt hit the left post and bounced out, it set up a grandstand finish.
Batley piled on the pressure late on but Rovers held out to register a vital win in the race for the league leaders shield.