Fax’s unbeaten run is ended by Rovers

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Halifax’s unbeaten start to the year was ended as Karl Harrison’s Championship leaders slipped to a 40-18 loss at three-time Grand Finalists Featherstone in front of a crowd officially recorded as 3,686.

Fax led Daryl Powell’s side 12-10 at half time, but were undone by a brace of quick tries from Andy Kain and Johnny Hepworth, both converted by Liam Finn, in the first four minutes of the second half.

That put Rovers 22-12 ahead and the visitors never really looked like recovering as James Lockwood, Finn and Greg Worthington ran in further tries to cancel out a late consolation score from Fax winger Rob Worrincy.

Even in the first half though, Fax had looked marginally off the pace in a top quality contest, with a series of unforced errors and a stream of penalties - Rovers topped that statistic 8-4 at the break and 14-7 at the final whistle - meaning their attacking game never really got going.

Substitute forward Sam Barlow was particularly culpable, with one first tackle offload just before half time - after Fax had scored their second try through centre Ben Heaton - giving Rovers the platform to close the gap to two points through Wakefield loanee Frankie Mariano.

Fax had taken the early lead after a brutal series of opening exchanges, with back rower Dane Manning - who was comfortably the visitors’ best player on the day - bursting through from 30 metres and rounding Ian Hardman to score.

Steve Tyrer kicked the conversion, but Rovers levelled on 14 minutes when hooker Andy Ellis dummied his way over to close to 6-4.

Fax had their chances to extend their lead, Anthony Thackeray going particularly close, before Heaton produced a tremendous catch from a Scott Murrell kick to score his side’s second.

That was as good as it got though.

Rovers: Hardman; Sharp, Hepworth, Worthington, Saxton; Kain, Finn; England, Ellis, Crossley, Lockwood, Spears, Dale. Subs: Bostock, Bryan, Bussey, Mariano

Halifax: Fieldhouse; Worrincy, Tyrer, Heaton, Paterson; Murrell, Thackeray; Tonks, Handforth, Ambler, Manning, Divorty, Adamson. Subs: C. Ashall, Bracek, Barlow, Casey

Referee: George Stokes