Featherstone’s fightback is not enough to deny Halifax victory
HALIFAX kept themselves in the race for a top-four Championship finish with two tries in the final five minutes snatching a 24-18 win over rivals Featherstone Rovers at Bloomfield Road.
Richard Marshall’s side were in control at the break when they led 14-0, but Rovers turned the contest on its head in the opening 18 minutes of the second half, scoring three tries to go 18-14 ahead.
But Ben Johnston struck five minutes from time, after some magic from Quentin Laulu-Togagae, to restore their advantage and then Scott Murrell pounced to seal the win.
Fax took the lead, hooker Ben Kaye poking a short kick out of dummy half and Murrell collecting the ball to touch down.
Steve Tyrer kicked the conversion for a 6-0 lead and with Featherstone consistently undermining their own efforts with a steady flow of penalties, it was no real surprise when Fax added to their tally.
Johnston shifted the ball to the left and QLT found Tyrer with a short pass that gave him enough room to round Josh Hardcastle on his way to the corner.
The centre converted and Tyrer added a penalty to lead 14-0.
The second half started with Dan Fleming sparking a melee by slapping Mitch Clark, the upshot being both players in the sin bin and a Rovers penalty. Rovers finally got on the board when Gareth Hock rumbled over, Hardman kicking the conversion, and with 25 minutes remaining the game was back in the melting pot when Anthony Thackeray danced over, Hardman’s conversion leaving Fax clinging to a 14-12 lead.
And when Matty Wildie stepped out of Tangata’s tackle to touch down, Hardman kicked Rovers 18-14 ahead with 22 minutes remaining.
Fax worked their way back into contention, despite losing Tyrer to the sin bin for a trip with 13 minutes remaining, and might have at least been level when QLT ghosted through, only to be called back for a forward pass.
But when QLT slipped through a gap brilliantly with five minutes to go, Johnston drifted up on the inside to take the scoring pass, Shane Grady kicking the crucial conversion.
Murrell sealed things in the final minute with a scrappy close range kick and chase that sealed a crucial victory.
SCOTT MURRELL: Scored the match-winning try for Halifax against Featherstone Rovers.