Featherstone Rovers chief expecting 'really tough' league campaign after opening-day victory

JAMES WEBSTER believes the Championship season is going to prove “really tough” after his side edged past Batley Bulldogs in their league opener last week.

Wednesday, 7th April 2021, 7:40 am
Updated Wednesday, 7th April 2021, 7:44 am
Featherstone Rovers head coach James Webster. Picture: Dec Hayes Photography.

The Bulldogs provided tricky opposition when the sides met in the Challenge Cup second round the previous week and arrived at Post Office Road looking to upset Rovers, who are among the favourites for promotion.

Webster was pleased with some areas of the display from Featherstone but admits there are things that need to improve going forward.

“It is really nice to get the league underway,” reflected Webster.

“Batley came here, dogged, well coached and gave us a massive test. I thought we were really good at some things and average at other things.

“It was a better performance than last week and I thought Batley played better than they did last week.

“It is going to be a really tough league. We need to grow as a team to achieve what we want but it is good we have started with two points.”

The first try came after 17 minutes when former Wakefield Trinity player Craig Kopczak plunged over to open the scoring.

Another of Rovers’ off-season signings, Kris Welham, was next over the whitewash as he extended the hosts lead with a four-pointer on 20 minutes.

The Bulldogs responded well to the setback, with Elliot Hall planting down two minutes later to reduce the deficit to four points.

The home side extended their advantage with two more tries before half time.

First, Frankie Halton crossed with six minutes remaining of the half before Nu Brown glided through the Batley defence for a fine try just before the interval.

Hometown talent Gareth Gale put the game out of Batley’s reach with a fine finish eight minutes into the second half.

The Bulldogs kept their hosts honest, however, as Lucas Walshaw took a high kick from Tom Gilmore to score Batley’s second try of the night.

Ex-Castleford player Junior Moors scored his first try for Featherstone moments later, crashing over from short range.

The visitors kept battling and set up a tense finish with 10 minutes remaining as Jack Logan was sent over between the posts by Ben White.

Webster added: “We go through patches in games. Patches when we are really good but then have patches when we allow the other team a foothold in the game.

“In the second half, we were decent for the first part but then completed three of our last 10 sets.

“That is not good enough but I am pleased we did some really good things and have got some try-scorers in our side.

“It was six tries to three, I am happy with that but in future I would like to keep the other side’s tries down.”