Rovers reach Shield final with nine-try spree

Ben Blackmore was one of nine Featherstone players on the scoresheet. Picture: Carol Austerberry
Ben Blackmore was one of nine Featherstone players on the scoresheet. Picture: Carol Austerberry

Centre Paul Sykes piled up 20 points with a try and eight goals as Featherstone eased through to next Sunday’s Championship Shield final at Widnes.

Table-toppers Rovers face third-placed London Broncos in the final after beating Workington Town 52-14 in today’s semi-final at Big Fellas Stadium.

Nine players scored tries in Featherstone’s fourth win this season against Workington but Rovers didn’t have things all their own way against depleted Town, who had only three substitutes.

Leading 28-4 at the break, Rovers saw their lead cut to 14 points before they ran out easy winners by scoring 24 points in the last 11 minutes.

Gareth Moore sent in half-back partner Will Milner and full-back Ian Hardman for Featherstone’s first two tries.

Excellent play Jack Bussey, Moore, Milner and Hardman set up a try for Ben Blackmore before Sykes went in from Milner’s clever pass.

Workington opened their account with a 37th minute touchdown from Jarrad Stack but Rovers were firmly in command at the break after Moore’s kick created Bradley Knowles-Tagg’s first try at senior level.

Workington, without five players who jetted to Las Vegas on a pre-arranged holiday, battled back in the second period.

Jarrod Sammut scored the first of his two tries after Theerapol Ritson made a great run.

Featherstone created several clear-cut chances but their finishing let them down before Sammut scored his second from his own high kick.

Rovers regained their scoring touch in the closing stages.

Andy Ellis went over from acting half to spark a late scoring burst.

Superb work by Jordan Baldwinson and Bussey saw Moore go over, Tim Spears crossed from Milner’s pass and Thomas Minns scored in the final minute.

Featherstone Rovers: Hardman; Blackmore, Sykes, Minns, Sharp; Milner, Moore; Baldwinson, Ellis, James, Spears, Snitch, Bussey. Subs: Johnson, Knowles-Tagg, Coventry, Ormondroyd.

Workington Town: Murphy; Ritson, Akehurst, Whiteley, Olstrum; Sammut, Forber; Coward, Doran, Walker, Stack, Szostak, McAvoy. Subs: Lucock, Scholey, Rooney.

Referee: Mike Woodhead (St Helens).

Attendance: 1,233.