Halifax coach Karl Harrison said his side were “a bounce of the ball” away from taking the win in yesterday’s Championship showdown at Featherstone.
Fax went down 28-20 at Post Office Road as Rovers, beaten on the opening day at Dewsbury, drew level on points with Harrison’s team, who host 2013 Grand Finalists Batley next weekend.
But the home side needed three late tries to overhaul their visitors, who clawed their way back from 12-0 down to lead 20-12 midway through the second half.
In the end, the game pivoted on a cut out pass from Luke Adamson on half way that was called forward by referee Matthew Thomason, giving Rovers the field position they had been denied for long periods.
“I thought it was a good game, to be fair; both teams went at it from the off and we’re bitterly disappointed not to come away with the win,” said Harrison, who left out full back Ryan Fieldhouse, with Gareth Potts taking the number one shirt.
“We just got a little bit loose and one pass that didn’t need to be made changed the momentum of the game.
“It wasn’t the right option from Adamson, all we needed to do was get to the kick, but they’re the decisions players make in the heat of the game..
“If it goes to hand, we possibly score a try, but we weren’t chasing the game.
“We didn’t touch the ball for six sets after that, by which time we were already behind on the scoreboard.
“The positive is that we weren’t too far away from one of the best teams in the competition.
“On another day, we get the bounce of the ball, we get a those decisions late in the game, and we win.
“It’s as close as that.
“I’ve got a young team in there, a talented team, and they are going to get better.”
Harrison fielded a much changed line up, with half back Simon Brown starting the game on the bench as the visitors opted for forward power - the outstanding Andy Bracek, who played 70 minutes, starting at loose forward - to combat Rovers’ giant front rowers Steve Crossley and Keegan Hirst.
“We tried to take a bit of heat off Simon Brown and started big with three props and Scott Murrell in the halves,” said Harrison, who was indebted to a second dazzling solo score in as many games from young half back Ben Johnston.
“We struggled a little bit in that first 15 minutes, but we stuck together and battled back.
“Johnston scored another terrific try and after that we were the dominant team until that last 15 minutes.
“I thought Brown was good for us when he came on.”