A four-try display by centre Thomas Minns was in vain for Featherstone Rovers as their Championship top-four hopes ended with Sunday’s 38-28 defeat against Sheffield Eagles at Doncaster’s Keepmoat Stadium.
Rovers are four points adrift of fourth placed Halifax ahead of their final match of the regular season at home to Whitehaven next Saturday.
Minns put Rovers ahead with an eighth minute try after Paul Cooke was halted just short.
Paul Sykes converted and then went over himself eight minutes later to give Featherstone an ideal start.
The Eagles hit back with three tries in nine minutes before half-time to snatch an 18-10 lead.
Michael Knowles started the fightback by scoring from a Kyle Briggs grubber kick.
Sheffield, playing their 1,000th game, then went ahead when Dominic Brambani sent in Dane Straugheir and they struck again when Rob Worrincy crossed and Briggs added his third goal.
Menzie Yere’s 42nd minute try put the Eagles further in front but Rovers cut the gap when Will Sharp’s 75 yard run paved the way for Reni Maitua’s touchdown that Sykes goaled.
Sykes’ high kick then set up Minns’ second score to put Featherstone only two points behind.
The game swung back Sheffield’s way with Worrincy’s second try after a mix up in the Rovers defence but Minns went in for his hat-trick to reduce the deficit to 26-24.
The Eagles regained trhe initiative with Yere’s second try but again Featherstone bounced back, with Minns grabbing his fourth seven minutes from time.
Ex-Rover Sam Smeaton got the clinching try three minutes later to put the game beyond his old team’s reach.
Sheffield Eagles: Langley; Turner, Yere, Smeaton, Worrincy; Briggs, Brambani; Thorpe, Carlile, Stringer, Knowles, Straugheir, Taulapapa. Subs: Battye, Davey, Davies, Tonks.
Featherstone Rovers: Sharp; Blackmore, Hardman, Minns, Hitchcox; Cooke, Sykes; Baldwinson, Ellis, Wood, Cording, Maitua, Bussey. Subs: Spears, James, Ormondroyd, Teasdale.