National Conference: Perkins squeezes through for late Lions clincher

Featherstone Lions' Danny Glassell. Picture: Jonathan Buck
Featherstone Lions' Danny Glassell. Picture: Jonathan Buck

They were not at their best, but Featherstone Lions took the points from a tough National Conference contest as they beat Pilkington Recs 32-20.

Jake Perkins sealed the win with a late try against a Recs side that on this evidence will be in the shout at the end of the season for a promotion spot in Division One.

Lions were still lacking key players through injuries and other commitments and had to work hard for the win over a big outfit that dominated around the ruck. They created some chances, however, with Andy Kain chipping the Pilks defence and picking the ball up before passing to Davi Garahan, but the effort was pulled back for a forward pass.

A stray Lions pass was latched onto by the visitors and they raced 70 metres to score the opening try.

But Featherstone got the ball straight back from the restart and after Jimmy Beckett went close Kain went solo to level the scores at 4-4.

Beckett made a couple of big hits before one of his powerful bursts saw Gaz Gale held close. Danny Glassell then swooped on Perkins’ chip to touch the ball down over the line and Ian Jackson’s conversion made it 10-4.

With Scott Wilson and Ben Brailsford working hard for the home side Beckett again and Gale went close before in-form Ben Mawson charged over for a try and Jackson converted.

Pilkington hit back when some slack marking led to a try on the stroke of half-time to make it 16-10 at the break.

The visitors started the better of the two sides in the second half and a kick through led to another converted try to level the game up.

Gale, Glassell and Jackson tried to get Lions on the attack and pocket battleship Danny Gilbert crashed through four defenders close to the line to put the hosts back ahead.

Kain was inches from getting his second try, but Lions came under pressure with Mawson, Wilson and Ricky Williams having to work hard in defence to hold Recs off.

The hosts were back in the attack, though, when a superb Beckett break and fine pass to Gale saw the speedy centre race 50 metres down the touchline for a superb try. With Jackson adding a touchline conversion they were now 26-16 ahead.

Teenager Conner Paver, who had a faultless game after being drafted into the side at the last minute, made a fine take of the ball over his line as Pilks put more pressure on.

Williams had a 25-metre tilt on the flank before the visitors chipped over the Lions defence and hacked on the ball twice to score. The conversion brought them to within six points.

Jackson and Davi Garahan then both had to make good takes from testing kicks to prevent further Pilks tries as they went all out to level the scores.

Richard Frankland put the visitors under pressure with a testing dab of the ball, which saw the Recs defender held over his own line. From the resulting drop-out Mawson and Beckett both went close before Perkins squeezed his way through for the match winning points. Jackson added the extras to complete the 32-20 win.

The Lions, who stand in second place with three wins from four, host Skirlaugh Bulls this Saturday at the Millpond Stadium with a 2.30pm kick-off.

Lock Lane were also in winning form in Division One as they came back from Bradford Dudley Hill with a 24-16 victory.

They were 16-6 in front at half-time, but the hosts hit back to level before Connor Turner’s penalty and a late try by Luke Tagg, converted by Connor Land, sealed the Castleford side’s success. Land and Craig Savage had popped over in Lane’s strong opener, Turner improving two efforts.

Lock Lane, who have won two and lost two, are back at home this Saturday when they take on Leigh Miners Rangers in the Conference (kick-off 2.30pm).