AN emphatic 32-6 win at Batley Bulldogs emphasised Featherstone Rovers’ top-four credentials in the Championship.
Rovers were impressive across the field, defending strongly in the face of a first-half onslaught and hitting Batley in clinical fashion on the counter-attack.
Despite playing up the slope and having Michael Knowles sin-binned early on, for a foul on Dave Scott, Rovers took a 14-0 interval lead through a brace of tries by Ian Hardman and two penalties and a conversion from Knowles.
Ash Handley’s touchdown early in the second half and a goal from the sideline by Knowles put the result beyond doubt.
Dominic Brambani marked his 300th career appearance with a try to get Batley on the scoreboard, Patch Walker converting, but Rovers finished strongly as Luke Briscoe and Keal Carlile – who both had big games – added tries and Knowles booted another penalty and conversion.
Featherstone coach Jon Sharp said: “We knew it would be really physical and we’d have to be at our best, have a good attitude in defence and be patient when we had the ball.
“I thought we did that. When we were under the pump we had a determination not to be broken.
“We had a man in the sin-bin and we still looked composed and dogged as well. I was delighted with that.”
Sharp’s opposite number Matt Diskin admitted to being “massively disappointed” with his team’s performance.
He said: “I thought Featherstone were better in every area.
“We had a lot of ball early on in the first half and we were blunt really, we were really lateral.
“That it is easy to defend against and Featherstone kept us out comfortably because we didn’t challenge them with the ball.”
Batley Bulldogs: Scott, Reittie, Smeaton, Hallett, Ainscough, Walker, Brambani, Lillycrop, Leak, Brown, Manning, Bretherton, Day. Substitutes: Davey, Maher, Chandler, Rowe.
Featherstone Rovers: Hardman, Briscoe, Walton, Ulugia, Hadley, Thackeray, Wildie, Bostock, Carlile, Baldwinson, Knowles, Davies, Tagg. Substitutes: Briggs, Hardcastle, Mariano, Moore.
Referee: G Hewer (Whitehaven).