Encouraging signs for James Webster as Featherstone Rovers finish pre-season with victory over Batley Bulldogs

JAMES WEBSTER is looking forward to a “tough and long year” after watching his Featherstone Rovers side cruise to victory over Batley Bulldogs in their final pre-season fixture.

Monday, 15th March 2021, 12:43 pm
VICTORY: Featherstone Rovers 36-16 Batley Bulldogs. Picture: Dec Hayes Photography.

Featherstone are back in competitive action for the first time in over a year when they host Bradford Bulls in the first round of the Challenge Cup on Sunday.

The win over Batley made it two victories from two in pre-season, after a 58-10 thrashing of Oldham on March 6.

Rovers got off to a flying start against Batley when Frankie Halton crashed over the line in the first minute.

VICTORY: Featherstone Rovers 36-16 Batley Bulldogs. Picture: Dec Hayes Photography.

Dale Ferguson then barged over by the uprights before Dane Chisholm scored the hosts’ third.

Elliot Hall hit back for Batley before half time but Rovers always looked in control as Liam Whitton, Jack Bussey and Dean Parata scored a try each before 61 minutes.

Chisholm and Harvey Spence both kicked three conversions apiece before Batley had a late flurry with another try from Hall and one from hooker Alistair Leak.

“It was a tough game. It was poor conditions, it was unfortunate the pitch was as heavy as it was,” reflected Webster.

VICTORY: Featherstone Rovers 36-16 Batley Bulldogs. Picture: Dec Hayes Photography.

“I thought it was a good physical battle. I was impressed with a lot of people. I am just happy we got through the game in pretty good nick and I am looking forward to what is going to be a tough and long year.”

The fixture marked a return to action for former Hull KR player Thomas Minns. The centre had not stepped onto a rugby field for over 1,000 days.

Webster added: “He told me it was two years 11 months since he played, it was great for him to get out there.

“He had some good touches but the conditions didn’t allow him to get as much clean ball as we saw last week in some better weather.

“In saying that, it is great he played half a game and got through unscathed.”

Craig Hall, Tom Holmes, Junior Moors, Kris Welham, Brett Ferres and James Harrison all missed the fixture.

Webster feels his side will look sharper once they get their more experienced players back, adding: “We will get a little bit more fluency when we get a full strength side.

“I was pleased with what I saw today.”