Featherstone Rovers go ten points clear at the top of the Championship after Batley Bulldogs’ loss in France
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Fev knew they could extend their lead at the summit with a win in Cumbria after Toulouse beat Batley on Saturday evening to go level in second place on 26 points.
And although the Raiders gave as good as they got in the first half to enter the break all level at 10-10, second half tries from luke Briscoe and Hau gave Rovers two more Championship points.
It appeared the result would be a foregone conclusion after Gareth Gale, the league’s second highest try scorer after Halifax Panthers’ Lachlan Walmsley, scored for the first time since Sunday, June 18, to give Fev a sixth minute lead.
And despite a Ryan Shaw penalty, Featherstone extended their lead to 10-2 after only 18 minutes when Mark Kheirallah assisted Craig Hall for an easy touch down.
Many teams in the Championship this season have been put to the sword by the runaway league leaders but they were pegged back when Shaw scored in the corner. Barrow were soon level when Bulman also got on the try sheet - but they could have had a four-point lead had Shaw converted both conversion attempts.
It didn’t take long for the visitors to regroup in the second half as Chisholm dinked a kick through the Barrow defence and Briscoe collected to finish in the corner. Hau then added to the tally in the 55th minute as Fev gained a ten-point advantage.
Barrow, only one place above bottom side Newcastle Thunder, could not find a way back into it, while Fev failed to score further points but they had already done enough to extend their lead at the top.
Their ability to extend their lead stemmed from Batley’s failure to win in Toulouse, who overtook the Bulldogs, albeit on points difference, into second place.
Craig Lingard had insisted before their trip to France that they weren’t going for a “party” and they made it a great contest in the first half, as both sides, with two tries apiece, could not be separated. But four tries without response from the home side gave them a 34-12 victory.
Ralph went under the posts to open the coring but the Bulldogs, on the back of an amazing 42-0 victory, and performance, over Halifax Panthers last Sunday, hit back through Martyn Reilly who went over from close range after great work by Alistair Leak.
Toulouse went back in front through a converted Marion try but, yet again, Batley produce an instant response courtesy of Jimmy Meadows scoring on his 50th appearance for the club.
However, Lingard’s men had no response to Toulouse in the second half, as tries from Laguerre and Stefani, as well a double from Santo sealed the win.
In Sunday’s other games, Batley’s semi-final opponents in the 1895 Cup next weekend, York Knights, produced an eye-catching result to beat Sheffield Eagles 23-18, while the Panthers recovered from their hammering against the Bulldogs to beat Newcastle 50-12.
Bradford Bulls charged back from an 18-10 half-time deficit at Whitehaven to win 18-44, while there were also away wins for London Broncos and Widnes Vikings, at Swinton Lions and Keighley Cougars respectively.