Halifax 4 Featherstone 20: Crookes hat-trick sees Rovers set to cash-in

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Jason Crookes scored a first-half hat-trick as Featherstone assumed pole position in the race to finish as runners up in the Championship – and claim the £450,000 prize money.

Andy Hay’s side moved two points clear of their rivals, who may now have to settle for a £200,000 cheque, with two games of the regular season remaining after a commanding display at the Shay.

Featherstone could hardly have made a better start as Andy Kain and Ben Blackmoore combined to send Crookes over for the opening try in the fourth minute.

And Crookes was in again, this time after Ian Hardman had tapped a Kain kick into his arms.

The visitors were rampant and after Halifax had been penalised, they got the ball to Sean Pick to score their third try.

Crookes completed his hat-trick, sent over by Hardman after Halifax had been penalised.

The home side showed little in attack before the break, Luke Ambler going closest when he was held a yard short of the line.

Halifax had to score first after the break – and they did. The problem for them was that it was not until the 59th minute when Ryan Fieldhouse intercepted an Andy Bostock pass, for a Ben Johnston try.

But that was as good as it got for Karl Harrison’s men who ran out of ideas as quickly as they did time. And Featherstone might have added a fifth try in the closing minutes but Hardman was held over the line.

Halifax: Fieldhouse; Potts, Cowling, Tyrer, Saxton; Murrell, Brown; Tonks, Kaye, Ambler, Adamson, Divorty, Bracek. Substitutes: Mennell, Johnston, Casey, Spencer

Featherstone Rovers: Hardman; Sharp, Blackmore, Crookes; Kain, Moore; Crossley, Ellis, Bussey, Annakin, Pick, Lockwood. Substitutes: James, Hirst, Bostock, Teasdale.

Referee: G Stokes (RFL).