FEATHERSTONE Rovers staged a magnificent second-half display to beat Halifax 32-20 in Thursday’s Co-operative Championship game.
Trailing 20-12 at half-time, Rovers scored 20 unanswered second-half points to avenge last season’s Grand Final defeat.
Rovers were playing their second game in five days and Halifax were supposedly the fresher team after being without a match last weekend but that wasn’t apparent in the second period.
Andy Bostock scored two second-half tries as Featherstone finished the stronger side to condemn Halifax to their second league defeat.
Former Castleford Tigers and Leeds Rhinos half-back Jonny Hepworth made his Rovers debut from the bench after completing his commitments with Rotherham Titans RUFC.
Featherstone also welcomed back Iain Morrison after being out with a broken finger.
Rovers trailed at half-time after failing to convert territorial advtantage into points in the first-half.
Halifax survived early Featherstone pressure before taking a seventh minute lead after punishing a knock on from Stuart Dickens. Ben Black’s kick caught out Rovers as Ian Hardman failed to knock the ball dead and Sean Penkywicz pounced for a try.
Rovers were level four minutes later when Liam Finn’s well-timed pass sent Tony Tonks charging over from 15 metres out.
Featherstone substitute prop Dave Williams sustained a broken nose shortly after going on and while he was still groggy Halifax exploited a gap when Bob Beswick burst clear and put in Rob Worrincy.
Danny Jones’s second goal put Fax 12-6 up but Rovers squared matters again in the 25th minute when Dickens forced his way over from close range and Finn added his second goal.
The swung back Halifax’s way three minutes later when Black’s clever kick set up a try for Paul White who quickly struck again to bag his second touchdown from Miles Greenwood’s pass.
Rovers enjoyed a sustained spell of pressure shortly before half-time but Halifax managed to hold out to lead 20-12 at the break.
Early in the second-half Rovers took charge with a four-try burst.
Finn and Hepworth made the opening for Powell’s second try before they levelled in the 52nd minute when Finn’s kick to the corner was gathered by Tommy Saxton who sent in Bostock.
Featherstone went ahead for the first time when Andy Kain burrowed his way over from close range and they soon increased their lead when Saxton sent Bostock charging through for his second touchdown.
Finn made a superb try-saving tackle on Jones as Halifax tried to get back in the game.
Morrison’s storming midfield run eased eased pressure on Rovers who finished comfortably winners.
Scorers - Halifax: tries White (2), Worrincy, Penkywicz; goals Jones (2). Featherstone: tries Bostock (two), Powell, Tonks, Kain, Dickens; goals Finn (4).
Halifax: Fieldhouse; White, Goddard, Paterson, Worrincy; Jones, Black; Gannon, Penkywicz, Aizue, Chandler, Bannister, Barlow. Subs: Greenwood, Beswick, Watene, Fairbank.
Featherstone: Hardman; Powell, Smeaton, Bostock, Saxton; Kain, Finn; Tonks, Kaye, Dickens, Grayshon, Spears, Worthington. Subs: Dee, Morrison, Hepworth, Williams.
Referee: Ronnie Laughton.