Halifax Panthers v Featherstone Rovers Match report by Daniel Crossfield (a dedicated flatcapper watching from home)

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Halifax Panthers   v Featherstone Rovers Betfred Championship Round 8  (Sunday 30th  May  2021)

This was a West Yorkshire derby in the Betfred Championship on Bank Holiday weekend, and an added incentive for Halifax was only their fans were allowed in for this one, but Rovers fans could watch on the big screen at the Millennium Stadium and it was also live on the OurLeague platform.

It was 6th placed Halifax Panthers against 2nd placed Featherstone Rovers, it was two in-form teams, and it’s always a tough game for either team to win, could Halifax make it 4 wins from 7 or would Rovers make it 7 wins from 7? It was a warm day too which usually equates to low scoring matches.

It was played at The Shay in Halifax.

After five minutes, the first chance went to Halifax as Tangata nearly got over the line, then Rovers knocked on.

Six minutes later, Rovers had 3 sets of six in a row and on the 3rd set, Kopczak was held up.

Penalty for Halifax

Just before the half hour, Halifax had the chance to score the first points of the game from a penalty, and Robinson successfully kicked it to give Halifax a 2-0 lead.

Just after the half hour,  Russell got held up over the line, then Woodburn-Hall dummied and got the ball over the line, but the referee didn’t give it for some reason.

1st Featherstone try and 1st of the game

Two minutes later, Rovers got another set of 6 after a set restart and Brown spun and  got over the line, successful conversion by Chisholm.

After 37 minutes, Halifax broke and they got to the last tackle in the set, they kicked it and the ball went  backwards and ended in Featherstone hands, Halifax were unlucky not to score.

Halftime score:  Halifax Panthers 2-6 Featherstone Rovers

It was an attritional first half perhaps understandably with the warm sun beating down on the players,  would the same happen in the 2nd half?

2nd Rovers try

Two minutes into the 2nd half and Featherstone sparked into life as just moments  after Halifax broke wth Robinson and Garside, there was a cutout pass out wide  by Robinson and Hall intercepted and raced 85metres to score under the posts, successful conversion by Chisholm,  it was a superb try.

After 47 minutes, Brown threw the dummy and offloaded to a onrushing Rovers player, but it was a forward pass.

3rd Rovers try

Four minutes later, Featherstone went two scores ahead and it was a soft try for Halifax to concede as  they were expecting the kick, but Gale picked the ball up and ran towards the line for his 9th try of the season, unsuccessful conversion by Chisholm, did Rovers have this in the bag?

Sin-bin for Davies of Featherstone

After 57 minutes, there was a shoulder-charge by Davies on a Halifax man and the shoulder-charge is not allowed anymore, so Davies got sent to the sin-bin for 10 minutes.  A sin bin is where the player who gets a yellow card sits on the side of the pitch for 10 minutes before being allowed back on, would this help Halifax?

1st Halifax try

Two minutes later, Halifax took advantage of their one man advantage as Moore put Springer through a gap, and Springer offloaded to Tangata who spun out of the attempted tackle to score over the line, successful conversion by Harris and it was a 8 point game with 20 minutes left.

After 67 minutes, Jones broke for Featherstone and found Gale who lost the ball after good work from Hewitt.

Ruled out try for Rovers

With seven minutes remaining, the ball went through hands between Chisholm and Brown who passed wide to Gale who thought he’d scored to wrap the game up, but the referee judged him to be in touch.

The last action was after 75 minutes as Chisholm went for a drop goal for Rovers but missed it.

Fulltime score:  Halifax Panthers 8-16 Featherstone Rovers

So it was a ground out win for Featherstone  at a ground where they’ve had some success at down the years. 

It means despite Toulouse not playing this weekend, Featherstone remained in 2nd due to Toulouse having a better points difference than them so far this season.

Next up for Featherstone is a 1895 Cup semi final against Widnes Vikings on Sunday 6th June with a 4pm kickoff , it’s played at Millennium Stadium and it’s on OurLeague.  The 1895 Cup is a 2nd cup competition for Championship and League 1 clubs and it’s a better chance of them getting to Wembley.

Can Rovers get to Wembley for a cup final against York or Swinton which will be the first semi final on Sunday 6th June with a 2pm kickoff.

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