Featherstone/Dewsbury: Holmes injury puts half-back Thackeray in pole position

Featherstone half-back, Anthony Thackeray.
Featherstone half-back, Anthony Thackeray.

HALF-BACK ANTHONY Thackeray has been tipped to rise to the challenge after Featherstone Rovers’ former Castleford Tigers pivot Tom Holmes was ruled out for the rest of the season.

Holmes will undergo a knee reconstruction after being hurt in the defeat to Halifax at the Summer Bash two weeks ago. With Martyn Ridyard (shoulder) also sidelined, Thackeray and Matty Wildie filled the half-back positions in yesterday’s 42-18 win at Dewsbury Rams.

Featherstone Rovers assistant coach, Jay Duffy. PIC: Featherstone Rovers RLFC

Featherstone Rovers assistant coach, Jay Duffy. PIC: Featherstone Rovers RLFC

Thackeray scored a brace of tries and provided the final pass for two more and Rovers’ assistant-coach Jay Duffy said: “Thacks has been around this league for a while and with the quality he has got he just has to back himself at times. There’s nothing better than Anthony Thackeray taking the line on. He has got the experience and the agility, he just needs to back himself and do it a little bit more.”

The win at Tetley’s Stadium ended a four-game losing run and lifted Rovers two places to third in the Betfred Championship. Dewsbury gave a good account of themselves in the second half, but Rovers made the points safe in the opening 40 minutes when they built a 24-0 lead.

Duffy said: “I thought in the first half we were really good, professional.

“In the second half there was some sloppy stuff, a couple of tries that shouldn’t have been scored, but overall we’re happy to get back to winning ways.”

Dewsbury Rams coach, Neil Kelly. PIC: Tony Johnson

Dewsbury Rams coach, Neil Kelly. PIC: Tony Johnson

Rams were unbeaten in their previous two games, but boss Neil Kelly felt they made life too easy for Rovers in the first half.

He said: “We were doing really well over the last few weeks in our control over the opposition’s possession, but I felt today – right from the first set – we didn’t have that control.

“When you are playing a team on a hot day and allowing them to pick the ball up on their line from a kick-off and work the full length of the field – maybe via a penalty – and then they get a repeat set, that kills you. I thought we got ourselves into a bit of a state of misery early on.

“They got a couple of repeat sets and we were doing too much defence.

“We were better in the second half, more competitive and showed a bit of spirit.”