Rovers lose out in Grand Final

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FEATHERSTONE Rovers’ season ended in disappointment when they were beaten 20-16 by Sheffield Eagles in the Co-operative Championship Grand Final at a wet Halliwell Jones Stadium.

A tight game could have gone either way, but the difficult conditions did not suit Daryl Powell’s men and they were beaten four tries to two.

There were never more than four points in it throughout, but it was the South Yorkshire side celebrating at the end.

A close first half saw Sheffield go in two points ahead at 10-8.

They opened the scoring when Menzie Yere sent winger Scott Turner over in the left corner, but after a slow start Rovers eased their way into the contest and replied on 17 minutes as Ian Hardman raced over off a nice reverse pass by Andy Kain. Finn added the conversion and with it set a new record for most points in a season for Rovers.

The Championship player of the year added a second goal with a penalty awarded for a high tackle on 25 minutes to give Featherstone an 8-4 lead.

But back came their opponents with a try out of the blue when Yere and Turner combined to send Quentin Laula-Togagae over to finish a move started in his own half. Simon Brown’s conversion nudged the Eagles two points ahead at the break.

Finn levelled the scores within three minutes of the restart with another penalty, awarded for messing about in a tackle.

The lead was then to change hands several times with Sheffield scoring tries through Dane McDonald and Misi Taulapapa either side of Jonny Hepworth’s try, converted by Finn.

Brown missed a chance to increase the 20-16 lead when he was off target with a penalty from wide out, but it did not matter as the Eagles saw out the remaining seven minutes to dash Rovers’ hopes of retaining the Championship trophy.

Scorers – Rovers: Tries Hardman, Hepworth; goals Finn 4. Eagles: Tries Turner, Togagae, McDonald, Taulapapa; goals Brown 2.

Rovers: Hardman; Ropati, Chappell, Worthington, Saxton; Kain, Finn; England, Kaye, Lockwood, Dale, Spears, Briggs. Subs: Hepworth, Bostock, Maloney, Dickens.

Eagles: Togagae; Turner, Yere, Straugheir, Taulapapa; Brown, Brambani; Howieson, Henderson, Stringer, Knowles, Scott, Szostak. Subs: Davey, McDonald, Green, Higgins.

Half-time: 8-10.

Referee: Tim Roby.

Attendance: 6,409.

For a reaction to the game and more coverage of the final, see Thursday's edition of the Pontefract & Castleford Express.