Kingstone Press Championship review: Rovers move back to second

Action from Halifax vs Featherstone
Action from Halifax vs Featherstone
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Winger Jason Crookes scored a hat-trick of tries to help Featherstone leapfrog Halifax into second place in the Kingstone Press Championship with a 20-4 victory over their west Yorkshire rivals in front of a 3,032 crowd at The Shay.

Halifax’s first defeat in 10 matches, in a contest dubbed the £250,000 showdown to highlight the difference in funding for clubs finishing second and third in the table, means they trail Rovers by two points with two matches left of the regular season.

Featherstone never looked back after racing into a 20-0 lead after 22 minutes. Crookes, who joined the club from Hull in June, scored twice in the first 14 minutes and Shaun Pick also touched down, with Gareth Moore kicking two conversions.

Halifax rallied after the break and scored a try through Ben Johnson but they need Featherstone to slip up in their remaining home games against Sheffield Eagles and Keighley if they are to get back in the hunt for the lucrative runners-up spot.

Table-toppers Leigh, who secured the league leaders’ shield with their win over Featherstone a week ago, ran in 11 tries in a 62-6 rout of relegated Swinton at Leigh Sports Village.

Tom Armstrong and Gregg McNally both touched down twice, Ryan Brierley took his tally of tries for the season to 36 and Martyn Ridyard contributed 22 points with a try and nine goals.

Swinton trailed 56-0 when Andy Ackers scored a consolation try three minutes from the end, with Mick Nanyn adding the goal.

Batley are favourites to become the fifth relegated club after suffering a dramatic 16-14 home defeat by Dewsbury in the Heavy Woollen derby.

John Kear’s men were plunged into the drop zone after being docked three points during the week for fielding an ineligible player in their recent win over Sheffield and Sunday’s defeat leaves them three points from safety with just two matches left.

The Bulldogs led 12-0 thanks to tries either side of half-time from wingers Wayne Reittie and Alex Brown, who scored again seven minutes from the end to restore their lead.

Scott Hale and Joel Farrell scored tries that kept Dewsbury in the hunt and they clinched the win when former London Broncos centre Shane Grady went over three minutes from the end.

Former Wigan and Bradford winger Shaun Ainscough scored his second try two minutes from time to secure Whitehaven what could prove to be a crucial a bonus point in their 36-28 defeat at Sheffield.

The Eagles were never seriously troubled after racing into an 18-0 lead inside 14 minutes thanks to tries from Matt Garside, Kyle Briggs and Menzie Yere.

Quentin Laulu-Togagae (42, 70) got two in the second half and Pat Walker also touched down for the home side, with Dominic Bramabani kicking six goals.

Whitehaven, who climbed out of the relegation zone courtesy of Batley’s points deduction, got back in bonus point range thanks to tries from Ainscough, Jessie-Joe Parker, Jordan Burns and Cain Southernwood, who also kicked four goals.

Doncaster clawed back the three points they were docked for breaking the rules on dual-registration with a 22-16 win at relegated Rochdale.

Former Wakefield forward Steve Snitch scored a try in each half and others came from Tom Hodgson and Stewart Sanderson , who also kicked three goals.

Veteran centre Stuart Littler scored two second-half tries, adding to Lewis Sheridan’s first-half effort, to provide Hornets with some consolation.

North Wales Crusaders coach Anthony Murray enjoyed his first win as the Wrexham club ended Keighley’s three-match winning run with a 30-18 triumph at Cougar Park.

Stephen Wild, Rob Massam, Scott Turner, Toby Adamson and Jonno Smith scored Crusaders’ tries and Tommy Johnson kicked five goals.

Josh Lynam, Danny Jones and Paul White scored tries for the Cougars, with Jones kicking three goals.

Carl Forber scored half of Workington’s points with two tries and four goals in their 32-18 win over wooden spoonists Barrow.

Peter Lupton, John Patrick, Marc Shackley and Connor Farrell were Town’s other tryscorers while Dalton Grant, Ryan Shaw and Ben Davies scored tries for Bobbie Goulding’s Raiders.