Rovers edge out Batley to bag first win

Half-back Kyle Briggs won Featherstone's man of the match award against Batley.
Half-back Kyle Briggs won Featherstone's man of the match award against Batley.

Featherstone Rovers survived a late Batley Bulldogs onslaught to collect their first Championship points this season with a 14-12 victory at Big Fellas Stadium on Sunday.

Kyle Briggs kicked three goals, including a crucial 42nd minute penalty, as Rovers achieved what coach Jon Sharp described as an “ugly win.”

Batley coach John Kear felt “five crucial decisions” went against his team as they narrowly failed to repeat the previous week’s victory against Leigh.

The Bulldogs, who had centre Shaun Squires stretchered off in the first-half with a knee injury, took an eighth minute lead when Dave Scott crossed from Cain Southernwood’s pass and Pat Walker converted.

Rovers, who fielded Leeds Rhinos dual-registered players Ash Handley, Mitch Achurch and Jordan Baldwinson for the second successive game, squared matters with Handley’s first try for the club when he capitalised on Anthony Thackeray’s well-judged kick.

They snatched the lead three minutes later with when Briggs put in Taulapapa and Briggs added his second goal.

Two minutes into the second-half, Rovers man of the match Briggs kicked an easy penalty goal to make it 14-6,

Featherstone had a let-off when Batley substitute Alister Leek forced his way over but referee Mike Woodhead disallowed the effort after consulting with a touch judge.

The Bulldogs then reduced the deficit to two points in the 59th minute when Adam Gledhill’s neat kick to the corner saw Wayne Reittie grab a try that Walker goaled from the touchline.

Rovers defended superbly to cling onto their slender lead in the closing stages.

Featherstone Rovers: Craven; Handley, Channing, Hardman, Turner; Briggs, Thackeray; Griffin, Davies, Bostock, Achurch, Spears, Taulapapa. Subs (used): Ormondroyd, Tagg, Baldwinson. Sub (not used): Day

Batley Bulldogs: Scott; Reittie, Ulagia, Squires, Ainscough; Southernwood, Brambani; Hirst, Blake, Brown, Bretherton, Chandler, Walker. Subs (used): Rowe, Gledhill, Lillycrop, Leek.

Referee: Mike Woodhead.

Attendance: 2,103.