Featherstone Rovers 52 Keighley Cougars 10: Substitute Kain delivers hat-trick to stretch Featherstone’s advantage after Keighley win

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FEATHERSTONE moved four points clear at the top of the Championship with their sixth straight victory.

Andy Kain scored three tries, James Lockwood and Tom Hodson each bagged two and Liam Finn kicked six goals as unbeaten Rovers stayed on course to lift the League Leaders’ Shield for the fourth year running.

Keighley, without a win in their last 11 games since August, never looked like causing an upset and trailed 26-0 at half-time.

To compound their misery, player-coach Paul March was sent off two minutes from time for dissent.

The Cougars gave debuts to Castleford Tigers dual registration full-back Richard Owen and Dewsbury’s on-loan Elliott Cosgrove.

Owen was soon busily involved as Keighley did well to survive an early Rovers onslaught.

Featherstone suffered a setback when stand-off Kyle Briggs limped off after eight minutes but his replacement Kain made an immediate impact by scoring with his first touch from a scrum.

Rovers soon increased their lead when Kain and Jonny Hepworth linked to put in Hodson at the corner.

The Cougars rallied strongly but they wasted an excellent attacking position when Owen fumbled a pass from Danny Jones 10 metres from the try line.

Keighley’s Richie Barnett was then halted just short near the corner before Charlie Martin had an effort ruled out by video referee Ian Smith after Rovers failed to deal with Chis Leatherbarrow’s crossfield kick.

After failing to score in their best spell of the half, the Cougars then conceded two tries in three minutes. Andy Bostock bulldozed his way over after Matt James was held up over the line and Kain’s clever kick set up Hodson’s second touchdown.

Rovers struck again shortly before half-time when Finn sent Steve Crossley powering over and Finn added his third goal.

The Cougars were soon under the cosh again in the second-half and fell further behind when Lockwood went over from close-range in the 43rd minute.

Keighley battled back and finally got a look in four minutes later when Danny Jones made the opening for Ben Sagar to cross.

But their revival was shortlived because Lockwood soon went over for his second score from Finn’s pass and Kain darted in for his second touchdown.

The Cougars kept plugging away and were rewarded when Paul White scored by capitalising on a neat kick from Jones who added a touchline conversion.

But Rovers finished the game on top with Hepworth and Kain scoring late tries.

Featherstone Rovers: Hepworth; Hodson, Hardman, Hellewell, Saxton; Briggs, Finn; England, Ellis, James, Lockwood, Bussey, Dale. Substitutes: Crossley, Bostock, Spears, Kain.

Keighley Cougars: Owen; Barnett, Sagar, Cosgrove, White; Jones, Leatherbarrow; Shickell, Feather, Rawlins, Pursglove, Martin, Walker. Substitutes: March, Law, Jodie Sheriffe, Chandler.

Referee: C Leatherbarrow (St Helens).