Despite a fantastic 56-12 win at Myton Warriors in their final regular season game Featherstone Lions have missed out on automatic promotion in Division One of the National Conference.
The Lions could feel hard done to as they have finished level on points with York Acorn, but ended up behind them on points difference as their rivals won their last game 88-0 against Dewsbury Moor Maroons.
One more try would have given Jamie Rooney’s men the edge – it was that close – but they did all that was asked of them and now host Wigan St Patricks in the play-offs on September 21 at the Mill Pond.
Lions started well against Myton with Daniel Gilbert and Aussie Mike Wise going close. Harry McAllister did some hard yards with Davi Garahan and the visitors hit the lead as Joe Fox stormed through the home defence. Ian Jackson tagged on the conversion.
Jackson then sent Gilbert crashing over the line and added the goal.
Lions were put under some pressure and had to come up with some good scrambling defence with Keiron Redfearn doing well. Jake Perkins took a high bomb before Danny Thompson made a clever solo run and Gilbert crashed over the line for his second try, to which Jackson added the goal.
Thompson again was the provider as his clever break sent Perkins racing 50 metres for a try converted by Jackson.
After losing Fox for a spell after he took a kick in the face the hosts scored a converted try.
But with 17-year-old debutant Jacob Bryan mixing it with the niggly home pack it was not long before a skirmish started that resulted in the Lions having a man sent to the sin-bin.
With three teenagers on the bench for the Lions the home side tried to draw them into a niggly battle, but Rooney’s men kept their cool and were unlucky not to score with the last play of the half as Williamson was held on his back.
Jackson sent Lions on their way in the second half and converted his own try to make it 30-6. Fox then ploughed through the home defence for a try and Jackson added another goal.
A slack try from an acting -half kick allowed Myton to score their second converted try, but with teenagers Bryan, Josh Maiden and Jake Wood going well and Gaz Gale causing the home outfit plenty of problems with his powerful running Featherstone got back on top.
Danny Glassell, despite playing the full match with a hamstring injury, went in for a solo effort and with Jackson again tagging on the extras it was 42- 12. Wise then scored his first try for the club and Jackson goaled once more.
With Lions needing to score more points they were frustrated as the referee gave a few mystifying decisions that kept them in their own half for a spell. However, Fox showed his class with a superb break before sending Redfearn racing over.
Glassell was then held on the line before Gale went over for a well earned try to complete the scoring.
Coach Rooney will now have to get his battered and bruised outfit ready for their play-off game to come. The Lions will be looking to secure a place in the final, which will be played at Featherstone Rovers’ ground .
Team manager Keith Bell, the players, coaching staff and backroom staff thanked all the Lions fans that travelled to Myton to support them. Everyone at the club also wishes Lionesses player Charley Blackburn a healthy recovery after she dislocated her hip while playing for Featherstone Rovers ladies team at York.