Featherstone Rovers 22 Leigh Centurions 4: Rovers boost hopes of home final in Championship Shield.

Featherstone head coach John Duffy.
Featherstone head coach John Duffy.

Featherstone Rovers' hopes of a home clash in the Championship Shield final received a huge boost with victory over Leigh, despite having just 14 fit players available.

A strong first-half showing from the home side proved decisive as they claimed the vital two points against their opponents from Lancashire.

Rovers celebrate scoring a try against Leigh. Pic: Dec Hayes.

Rovers celebrate scoring a try against Leigh. Pic: Dec Hayes.

Rovers leapfrogged Leigh into first place and know that if they win their remaining games against, Sheffield, Dewsbury, Swinton and Barrow - they will host this year's Championship Shield final.

After a nervy start, Featherstone were first on the board through Josh Hardcastle's try.

The centre timed his diagonal run perfectly to take the ball at pace and burst through the Leigh defence for the opening score.

With 25 minutes gone, John Davies, shunted in at centre due to a lack of numbers, put Rovers further in front.

Josh Hardcastle reaches out for the try. Pic: Dec Hayes.

Josh Hardcastle reaches out for the try. Pic: Dec Hayes.

On the last tackle, the ball was popped up to the number 12 and he gathered before twisting out of the tackle to dive over in the right corner.

Just before the interval, a superb piece of individual play from Anthony Thackeray increased the host's advantage.

The ball was moved at pace along the attacking line to Thackeray who sold a dummy before nipping round the defender and stretching out to plant the ball down.

Proceedings took a sour turn at the very end of the half when a coming together in the Leigh in-goal saw Ilias Bergal and Hardcastle sin-binned.

Leigh responded 20 minutes into the second half when Matty Dawson-Jones went over in the right corner following an initial break from Rhys Evans on the opposite touchline.

Rovers weathered a five-minute onslaught from the Centurions who were threatening for a second after several sets close to the Rovers line.

The game descended into a real battle as both sides conceded possession with soft penalties and errors.

But the victory was sealed when Misi Taulapapa intercepted the ball and fed the supporting Matty Wildie who finished in the corner, to the delight of the Featherstone supporters.

Featherstone: Hardman, Taulapapa, Hardcastle, Davies, Robinson, Thackeray, Wildie, Cooper, Carlile, Brooks, Farrell, Lockwood, Knowles. Sub: Maskill.

Leigh: Bailey, Bergal, Dawson, Cox, Evans, Reynolds, Hutchson, Richards, Higham, Mason, Larroyer, J. Walne, A. Walne. Subs: Gregson, Johnson, Blagbrough, Dezaria.

Referee: Matthew Rossleigh