Featherstone Rovers had to dig deep to come out on top against Halifax at MBi Shay. Last year’s fourth-placed side beat their fellow West Yorkshire counterparts 32-26 thanks to a late Kyle Briggs try.
The visitors were 16-10 up at the interval and they got the first try of the game through Luke Briscoe on the six minute mark. Hardman couldn’t convert but he had a chance to make amends just a few moments later when Josh Hardcastle touched down for a try on his competitive debut. However, Hardman was off target once again which left the Rovers with a slender eight point lead despite a good start. Featherstone kept the pressure on their opponents and a third try came calling when Ash Handley benefited from an 80 metre break by Luke Briscoe. Hardman added the extras. Jacob Fairbank responded for Halifax soon after to get the hosts on the board and Steve Tyrer converted. Hardman extended Rovers’ lead to ten points with a penalty goal six minutes from the break but Halifax managed to make it a one score game going into the second half thanks to a Rob Worrincy try.
Whatever Fax coach Richard Marshall said to his men at half-time had worked a treat by the 48th minute as the hosts hit the front with converted tries from Adam Tangata and Scott Murrell. It was always going to be a close game and Hardcastle made sure Halifax weren’t going too far in front, the debutant bagged his second try on 50 minutes. Hardman missed the conversion, with Featherstone losing 22-20. Fax were dealt a blow a few minutes later when Mitch Cahalane was sin-binned for a high shot on Chris Ulugia. Two penalty goals in quick succession from Briggs put Featherstone 24-22 up in the final quarter. The topsy-turvy match continued when Tyrer touched down to send Halifax back in front with 13 minutes remaining. The conversion was unsuccessful and the lead stood at two points, which was soon relinquished when Briggs kicked his third penalty of the game. The biggest play of the game occurred in the next set and, once again, Briggs was at the heart of it. After Thackeray launched a monster bomb into the air, the former Sheffield man picked up the pieces before diving over the line. The conversion was successful and the visitors managed to hold out for a great opening day win.