Injuries cripple Fax as they slip to defeat at Rovers

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Halifax will play Dewsbury at the Shay next weekend in the Championship play offs after a frustrating 34-16 reverse at Featherstone.

The scoreline tells only half the story, with Scott Murrell’s hugely energetic side leading 16-12 until the 55th minute, despite losing winger Tommy Saxton before the game and full back Ryan Fieldhouse inside the opening two minutes.

Saxton had left the warm up early, but the first indication anything was amiss when Robinson’s promotion to the starting line up was announced as the game kicked off.

Things got considerably worse when Fieldhouse was clobbered round the head by Ben Blackmore and limped off, leaving Murrell’s side with a makeshift backfield packed with forwards.

Back rowers Adam Robinson and Dane Manning filled in at centre, with another back rower, Callum Casey, and centre Danny Cowling on the wings as Gareth Potts took over Fieldhouse’s place at full back.

The visitors took some time to adjust and it was hardly a surprise when Rovers spread the play wide and back rower Tim Spears took Jason Crooke’s pass to touchdown, Gareth Moore converting.

Fax, playing down the slope, dug in admirably and levelled when their former Rovers hooker Ben Kaye ploughed over from dummy half, Murrell converting.

And they took an improbable 10-6 lead when hooker Keith Holden backed up a great break from Ross Divorty, although the final pass looked improbably forward.

That lead stretched to 16-10 when Potts pounced on Murrell’s grubber kick, the player coach converting.

But Rovers closed to 16-12 at the break when replacement Luke Teasdale dived in from close range and Gareth Moore added the extras.

Fax worked hard to maintain that advantage early in the second half and, for a time, it looked like they might be able to frustrate Rovers.

In the end though, a couple of ill timed penalties allowed Moore to dance over and then immediately a penalty against Luke Adamson created the position for Kyle Trout to touchdown.

At 24-16, the visitors never really looked like having the firepower to mount a serious comeback, although the late tries from Crookes - after he finally got the better of a doggedly impressive Casey - and Matt James were perhaps harsh.

Featherstone: Sharp; Blackmore, Worthington, Hardman, Crookes; Kain, Moore; Crossley, Ellis, James, Pick, Spears, Lockwood. Subs: Teasdale, Bussey, Trout, Hirst

Halifax: Fieldhouse; Potts, Cowling, Casey, Saxton; Murrell, Mennell; Brooks, Kaye, Ambler, Manning, Divorty, Adamson. Subs: Tonks, Robinson, Holden, Spencer

Referee: George Stokes Halifax will play Dewsbury at the Shay next weekend after a frustrating 34-16 reverse at Featherstone.

The scoreline tells only half the story, with Scott Murrell’s side leading 16-12 until the 55th minute, despite losing winger Tommy Saxton before the game and full back Ryan Fieldhouse inside the opening two minutes.

Saxton had left the warm up early, but the first indication anything was amiss when Robinson’s promotion to the starting line up was announced as the game kicked off.

Things got considerably worse when Fieldhouse was clobbered round the head by Ben Blackmore and limped off, leaving Murrell’s side with a makeshift backfield packed with forwards.

Back rowers Adam Robinson and Dane Manning filled in at centre, with another back rower, Callum Casey, and centre Danny Cowling on the wings as Gareth Potts took over Fieldhouse’s place at full back.

The visitors took some time to adjust and it was hardly a surprise when Rovers spread the play wide and back rower Tim Spears took Jason Crooke’s pass to touchdown, Gareth Moore converting.

Fax, playing down the slope, dug in admirably and levelled when their former Rovers hooker Ben Kaye ploughed over from dummy half, Murrell converting.

And they took an improbable 10-6 lead when hooker Keith Holden backed up a great break from Ross Divorty, although the final pass looked improbably forward.

That lead stretched to 16-10 when Potts pounced on Murrell’s grubber kick, the player coach converting.

But Rovers closed to 16-12 at the break when replacement Luke Teasdale dived in from close range and Gareth Moore added the extras.

Fax worked hard to maintain that advantage early in the second half and, for a time, it looked like they might be able to frustrate Rovers.

In the end though, a couple of ill timed penalties allowed Moore to dance over and then immediately a penalty against Luke Adamson created the position for Kyle Trout to touchdown.

At 24-16, the visitors never really looked like having the firepower to mount a serious comeback, although the late tries from Crookes - after he finally got the better of a doggedly impressive Casey - and Matt James were perhaps harsh.

Featherstone: Sharp; Blackmore, Worthington, Hardman, Crookes; Kain, Moore; Crossley, Ellis, James, Pick, Spears, Lockwood. Subs: Teasdale, Bussey, Trout, Hirst

Halifax: Fieldhouse; Potts, Cowling, Casey, Saxton; Murrell, Mennell; Brooks, Kaye, Ambler, Manning, Divorty, Adamson. Subs: Tonks, Robinson, Holden, Spencer

Referee: George Stokes