Featherstone take top spot in Shield
CHAMPIONSHIP SHIELD: Featherstone Rovers’ hopes of a home clash in the Shield final received a huge boost with a 22-4 victory over Leigh, despite having just 14 fit players available.
Rovers leapfrogged Leigh into first place and know that if they win their remaining games against Sheffield, Dewsbury, Swinton and Barrow, they will host this year’s Championship Shield final.
Featherstone were first on the board through Josh Hardcastle’s try.
With 25 minutes gone, John Davies, shunted in at centre due to a lack of numbers, put Rovers further in front.
Just before the interval, a superb piece of individual play from Anthony Thackeray increased the host’s advantage.
The ball was moved at pace along the attacking line to Thackeray who sold a dummy before nipping round the defender and stretching out to plant the ball down.
Proceedings took a sour turn at the very end of the half when a coming together in the Leigh in-goal saw Ilias Bergal and Hardcastle sin-binned.
Leigh responded 20 minutes into the second half when Matty Dawson-Jones went over in the right corner following an initial break from Rhys Evans on the opposite touchline.
Rovers weathered a fiveminute onslaught from the Centurions who were threatening for a second after several sets close to the Rovers line.
The game descended into a real battle as both sides conceded possession with soft penalties and errors.
But the victory was sealed when Taulapapa intercepted the ball and fed the supporting Matty Wildie who finished in the corner, to the delight of the Featherstone supporters.