Hunslet Hawks 8 Featherstone Rovers 46: Featherstone crowned winners again as Hunslet suffer relegation

Players celebrate at full time.
Players celebrate at full time.
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Featherstone Rovers, inspired by livewire scrum-half Liam Finn, took the Kingstone Press Championship leaders’ crown for a fourth successive season and sentenced Hunslet 
to relegation.

Finn had been set to join Halifax but Rovers have persuaded him to stay and there was ample evidence of his quality as he collected 18 points with seven goals and a try.

Rovers, who gave a workmanlike performance, seized an 11th-minute lead when James Lockwood burst on to a Finn’s pass to power over the line. Then Finn was again the provider for his half-back partner Andy Kain, who broke through Andy Yates’s tackle to score.

Hunslet were staring down the barrel and Finn pulled the trigger with a clever kick which Andy Bostock gathered to send Matty Dale in for the third try.

Richard Moore, Hunslet’s dual-registered forward, made a couple of storming breaks in the first half but Rovers defended their line stoically and Matt James’s try left Hunslet’s hopes of a bonus point looking decidedly slim.

The Hawks had Tommy Haughey, one of six former Rovers players in the home ranks, stretchered off soon after the interval, but winger Lee Mapals chased a kick from David March to score in the corner for their first points.

Rovers, though, slipped back into gear with further tries from Will Sharp, Andy Kain, Jack Bussey and Finn, leaving Hawks winger Waine Pryce the consolation of scoring his 149th career try before his retirement.

Barrow’s win over Keighley confirmed the Hawks’ relegation.

Hunslet Hawks: S Kain, Pryce, Brickwood, Welham, Mapals, Coyle, Watson, Yates, March, Houston, Oakes, Haughey, Moore. Substitutes: Menzies, Haley, Davies, Ansell.

Featherstone Rovers: Hepworth, Sharp, Mellars, Hardman, Saxton, A Kain, Finn, Crossley, Bussey, Bryan, Spears, Lockwood, Dale. Substitutes: Ellis, Bostock, Barlow, James.

Referee: M Thomason (Warrington).