Leigh 18 Featherstone Rovers 34: ‘Togetherness’ got us through says delighted coach Ryan Carr

FEATHERSTONE Rovers head coach Ryan Carr hailed his side’s “togetherness” after their superb Championship elimination play-off win stunned big-spending Leigh Centurions.

Rovers Ash Golding leaps on try-scorer Alex Sutcliffe at Leigh.    Picture: Dec Hayes
Rovers Ash Golding leaps on try-scorer Alex Sutcliffe at Leigh. Picture: Dec Hayes

With tries from Alex Sutcliffe (2), Callum McLelland, Dane Chisholm and Josh Walters, Featherstone produced a clinical performance to end their rivals’ season. Rovers had finished fifth, just behind Leigh in the table, but they proved too strong and resilient for their star-studded opponents who had ex-England stand-off Kevin Brown in their ranks.

Young centre Alex Sutcliffe, on dual-registration from Leeds Rhinos, crossed twice in the first half and James Harrison delivered a quality solo try as Rovers built up a 14-4 interval lead.

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However, it was their defensive prowess that essentially then got them home and set up a qualifying play-off at York City Knights on Saturday.

Featherstone were missing star hooker Cameron King but Carr said: “I’m super proud of the way this group continues to turn up for each other. We’ve gone through a year where when you look back on it, not many people gave us a chance.

“The way they turn up for each other I could not be prouder as a coach of every single player.

“If one word sums up tonight it is together.”

Dual-registration Leeds stand-off McLelland kicked wonderfully well and Ash Golding was in fine form at full-back as Featherstone out-manoeuvred their opponents.

Two tries in three minutes from Walters and Chisholm just after the hour proved decisive for Carr’s side who had got through a mountain of defensive work when protecting a slender 20-14 lead.

McLelland had also shown his quality with a classy individual effort and Leigh – who scored tries via Junior Sa’u, Tom Spencer, Stefan Marsh and Toby Adamson in what became Mickey Higham’s final game – had no answer.

Leigh Centurions: Brierley; Higson, Thornley, Sa’u, Marsh; Brown, Woods; Douglas, Higham, Brooks, T Adamson, Thompson, L Adamson. Substitutes: Hood, Cator, Clark, Spencer.

Featherstone Rovers: Golding; Johnson, Hardcastle, Sutcliffe, Carey; McLelland, Chisholm; Davies, Jones, Makatoa, Day, Walters, Lockwood. Substitutes: Cooper, Harrison, Ender, Albert.

Referee: G Hewer (Workington).