Featherstone Lions maintained their winning run to go clear in second place of the National Conference as they completed a quick league double over Saddleworth Rangers with a 46-16 win.
After beating their opponents 40-18 the previous week Jamie Rooney’s men looked set for an even bigger win as they played some fine rugby in the first half and held a 28-6 lead at the interval.
But Rangers were the better side for parts of the second half as they did not give in and Lions were guilty of coasting as they have done before this season.
As they let their game slip at times they were also guilty of keeping the visitors going with some silly penalties conceded.
Lions started off in good shape, though, as in-form Danny Gilbert and Sam Millard drove them forward and Ian Jackson went in for a solo try that was converted by Liam Kay.
Gaz Williamson and Richard Dedicoat went close before Danny Glassell shot over and Kay’s goal made it 12-0.
Lions then held out a strong Rangers attack with Tom Carr and Danny Thompson tackling well before going back on attack with good handling seeing Kay send Williamson over for a try converted by Kay.
A lapse in defence from a flat ball led to a Rangers try and goal, but Featherstone hit back as Harry MacAllister and Williamson went close and a Kay chip on the last tackle saw Jake Perkins swoop for a try.
With subs Ben Mawson, Conner Paver and Davi Garahan grafting hard, Kev Eadie showed his class with a couple of dummies as he hared 45 metres for a try converted by Kay.
Lions were soon back on attack in the second half as Danny Thompson and Carr worked well on the flank then George Nuttall went close. Quick thinking Dedicoat sent Paver powering over the line with Kay’s goal making it 34-6.
After Thompson – who had his best game of the season – fielded a Rangers chip through a deft Kay pass sent Perkins racing 65 metres for the try of the game. Kay converted.
Lions should have at this point turned the screw, but it was Rangers who put the hosts under the cosh. Dedicoat and Paver made two try saving tackles and Keiron Redfearn made a fine pick up from a Saddleworth chip, but the visitors did score a try and goal.
Redfearn raced through on a 55-metre solo run before hitting the goal post as he went sprawling to the amusement of the Lions players and crowd.
Rangers got another try wide out, but the home team wrapped up the scoring as Glassell went over for a solo try and Kay added the extras.
Lions will be happy with the points but know they still have some tough games coming up before the end of the season, starting against local rivals Normanton Knights this Saturday at the Mill Pond Stadium. Kick-off in what is always a feisty derby is 2.30pm.