Featherstone Rovers 42 Leigh Centurions 10: Rovers overcome Leigh to lift Championship Shield

Featherstone Rovers
Featherstone Rovers

Featherstone Rovers produced a spirited second-half performance to win the Championship Shield at the LD Nutrition Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Featherstone led by just two points at the interval after a scrappy first 40 minutes that was littered with penalties and errors.

Rovers head coach John Duffy.

Rovers head coach John Duffy.

But John Duffy's men rallied in the second half and crossed six times to extend their winning run to nine games and claim this year's Championship Shield.

Missing the suspended Anthony Thackeray and John Davies, Rovers drafted Muizz Mustapha, James Barraclough and Tyler Dupree, from the Leeds Rhinos academy, into their 17-man squad.

Leigh named seven players from Super League academies in their line-up, after the RFL had granted special dispensation to both clubs to register additional players prior to the contest.

Featherstone struggled to get to grips in the opening stages and fell behind through an early Matthew Dawson-Jones effort.

On the last tackle, Drew Hutchison dabbed the ball in behind the Rovers defensive line for Dawson-Jones to gather and ground.

Playing up the hill at the LD Nutrition Stadium, Rovers required a smart piece of individual play from Keal Carlile to draw level.

The number nine picked the ball from acting half and burrowed over despite the attempts of several Leigh defenders to hold him up.

That proved to be his last significant action, however, as he hobbled from the field with injury soon after.

The hosts continued to push and after back-to-back penalties, Ian Hardman kicked a penalty goal to put Rovers in front for the first time.

Tempers flared on more than one occasion in a feisty encounter. The referee spoke to both captains after two incidents but failed to produce a card.

The first card was shown when Kevin Larroyer was sent to the sin bin for a cynical trip on Dakota Whylie, who was on his way to begin a 20-metre restart.

After the half-time interval, Featherstone outclassed Leigh to seal a comfortable win.

Leeds Rhinos academy player Dupree stormed onto a short ball and crashed through the tackles to extend the lead on 45 minutes.

Hardman, playing his last game for Featherstone, kicked his third goal from three attempts to complete the score.

It got better for Rovers when Martyn Ridyard's pass to Harry Newman was taken cleanly by the centre who strolled over to increase the advantage.

Leigh hit back immediately as Jack Owens dived over on the right for the away side's second, and last, try of the afternoon.

Rovers weren't phased by the setback and responded in kind when Ridyard sent Connor Farrell over on the right.

They increased their lead just moments later as Hardman drew the defenders before feeding Shaun Robinson who finished acrobatically in the corner.

Robinson added another after Newman had broke clear before being held back, the centre managed to turn and pass the ball to the supporting Robinson who waltzed over between the posts.

Newman then turned from provider to scorer as he dotted down between the posts after an unbelievable run.

A miserable afternoon was capped for Leigh when Jamie Acton was yellow carded for a late tackle with four minutes remaining.

Rovers: Hardman, Whylie, Taulapapa, Newman, Robinson, Ridyard, Wildie, Cooper, Maskill, Brooks, Farrell, Hardcastle, Lockwood. Subs: Carlile, Dupree, Mustapha, Barraclough.

Centurions: Owens, Brown, Dawson-Jones, Grant, Bailey, Barran, Hutchison, Acton, O'Neill, Blagbrough, Larroyer, Gregson, Byrne. Subs: Kilner, Johnson, Follin, Cox.

Referee: John McMullen