Featherstone clinch top-four place with six-try win at Oldham

Josh Hardcastle scored his 15th try this season in Featherstone's win at Oldham. Picture: Rob Hare.
Josh Hardcastle scored his 15th try this season in Featherstone's win at Oldham. Picture: Rob Hare.

FEATHERSTONE Rovers have booked their place in the Middle 8s Qualifiers for a second successive year.

They are guaranteed a Kingstone Press Championship top-four finish with two matches of the regular season remaining after Sunday’s 32-14 victory over Oldham at Bower Fold.

Rovers are five points clear of fifth-placed Toulouse and three points ahead of Halifax, the team immediately below them in the table.

Rovers, with new signing Daniel Igbinedion making his debut from the bench, led 16-4 at the break on their way to completing a hat-trick of wins over relegation-threatened Oldham this year.

They survived four consecutive sets near their own try line in the early stages before taking charge with two tries in three minutes.

They broke the deadlock in the 13th minute when the club’s leading try scorer Josh Hardcastle went over for his 15th touchdown this season and Ian Hardman added the first of his four goals from six kicks.

They quickly struck again when Michael Knowles put in Chris Ulugia at the corner.

Featherstone’s domination continued when James Lockwood powered over from close-range for a 22nd minute try.

Oldham’s only first-half points came when Matthew Wilkinson scored 10 minutes later to cut the half-time gap to 12 points but the Roughyeds soon fell further behind in the second-half when Scott Turner scooped up a loose ball to cross near the corner.

Debutant Igbinedion made two try-saving tackles to foil Oldham before Rovers sealed victory when Luke Briscoe marked his return from injury by diving over from Hardman’s neat pass in 61st minute.

Anthony Thackeray darted over for Featherstone’s sixth try three minutes from time.

Oldham’s second-half try scorers were Sadiq Adebiyi and George Tyson, with Dave Hewitt adding one conversion.

Featherstone host Halifax at LD Nutrition Stadium next Sunday before visiting Toulouse in their final league fixture on July 22.

They remain one point behind second-placed London Broncos,

Oldham: Nield; Clay, Tyson, Pearce-Paul, Williams; Wood, Hewitt; Mason, Hughes, Burke, Thompson, Langtree, Adamson. Subs: Ward, Wilkinson, Davies, Adebiyi.

Featherstone Rovers: Hardman; Turner, Ulugia, Hardcastle, Briscoe; Thackeray, Wildie; Bostock, Carlile, Griffin, Davies, Knowles, Lockwood. Subs: Moore, Igbindion, Baldwinson, Ormondroyd.

Referee: Nick Bennett.