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Kingstone Press Championship Round 16 Preview – Featherstone Rovers v Halifax

This match will take place at the Big Fellas Stadium on Saturday evening, the only Championship game to take place on that day. Both sides collected wins in round 15 after losses at the inaugural Summer Bash in Blackpool.

Last Time Out

Featherstone Rovers hosted Batley Bulldogs with the former looking to keep their top four challenge on track with a win. A win is what they got, and a rather convincing one at that as they triumphed over the Bulldogs 44-16. A great first half for the Rovers put them up by 34 points to Batley’s zero. A first half hat-trick from centre Paul Sykes certainly helped matters, as did four pointers from Andy Ellis, Matt James and Jack Ormondroyd. The visitors struck back with the opening three tries of the second half as a mini-revival took place. Shaun Ainscough, Alistair Leak and Lee Mitchell all crossed the whitewash before Featherstone woke up to score the final two tries of the match. Former Bulldog Ben Blackmore touched down before Sykes completed a brilliant day at the office with his fourth try on 79 minutes.

Halifax travelled to the Zebra Claims Stadium in Cumbria to take on a Workington Town side who are currently in the lower echelons of the league alongside neighbours Whitehaven. Phil Veivers’ men didn’t show much to prove their league position wrong, Halifax overpowered them on all fronts as they won 32-6. Similar to Featherstone against Batley, Richard Marshall’s side went into the sheds at half-time with a comfortable lead. A 22-0 scoreline was built on the basis of four tries throughout the first 40 minutes. Ben Heaton and Gareth Potts scored the first two tries before Dane Manning and Ben Johnston touched down in the final eight minutes. A reply was forthcoming, but it took 49 minutes as Rhodri Lloyd added four points to Town’s meagre total. Potts completed his brace before Mitch Cahalane notched the last try of proceedings with 11 minutes remaining, a simple but good day at the office for Halifax.

Key Battle

Paul Sykes has had an indifferent start to life at Featherstone. Having been swapped from stand-off to centre numerous times, it seem that the former Wakefield man has now found his best position with a four try performance against Batley coming from the centre position. Ian Hardman was the other centre for Featherstone last week but it was Sykes who took all the plaudits. For Halifax, their in-form centre Ben Heaton managed to cross the stripe once more last weekend whilst Chris Taylor was in the other centre position against Workington. It will be interesting to see whether Sykes, and Featherstone as a whole, can carry on their respective form from last weekend against arguably a more talented outfit.

Prediction

This all West Yorkshire matchup has all the makings to be a classic as the chase for a top four position continues. Halifax will come to the Big Fellas Stadium labelling the match as a ‘must-win’ if their aspirations of a top four finish are real. However, Featherstone got the better of Halifax in the first match between the sides in 2015, despite being strengthened by a number of dual-registration signings from Wakefield, so they’ll be wanting to complete a ‘double’ with a win on home turf this Saturday – Featherstone by 12

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