Flying winger Luke Briscoe equalled the tries in successive matches record for Featherstone Rovers, but ended on the losing side as visitors Toronto Wolfpack went away with a 24-16 victory at the LD Nutrition Stadium.
Briscoe maintained his run of scoring with two of Rovers’ three tries and equalled Paul Newlove’s club record of tries in 10 successive games, but could not prevent Featherstone from suffering their first home defeat of the season.
The result saw the Wolfpack leapfrog Rovers into second place in the Betfred Championship with tries from former Castleford player Ryan Brierley, Featherstone-born Richard Whiting (two) and recent big signing Gareth O’Brien ensuring they head to league leaders Toulouse on Monday with a chance to top the table after the Easter games.
Rovers, for who Misi Taulapapa also crossed for a try and Martyn Ridyard kicked two goals, kept going and produced a strong finish without quite looking like beating their big spending opponents once the visitors had gone in front.
Featherstone initially led with a Ridyard penalty on six minutes before Brierley’s try and goal put Wolfpack in front.
Ridyard kicked a second goal for the hosts, but Whiting went over for Wolfpack. His second try plus a conversion from Brierley made it 16-4 at half-time.
Rovers started the second half better and were back in the contest when Briscoe touched down wide out, but the conversion could not be added and Toronto took their lead to 10 points with Brierley landing a penalty.
When full-back O’Brien raced over in the 59th minute and Brierley kicked his fourth goal it was an uphill battle for Featherstone as they trailed 24-6.
They kept plugging away, however, and were rewarded when Misi Taulapapa scored wide out after collecting Harry Newman’s looping pass.
The next set saw the ball spread out wide again on the other flank and Briscoe touched down in the corner for the home team’s third try.
It was too late to alter the result, although Featherstone could be proud of the effort they showed against strong opponents with several big names in their line-up and a number of ex-Featherstone players.
Scorers - Featherstone: Tries Briscoe (two), Taulapapa; goals Ridyard 2. Toronto: Tries Brierley, Whiting (two), O’Brien; goals Brierley 4.
Featherstone Rovers: Hardman; Briscoe, Hardcastle, Newman, Taulapapa; Ridyard, Holmes; Hock, Carlile, Knowles, Farrell, Davies, Lockwood. Subs: Wildie, Cooper, Brooks, Mariano.
Toronto Wolfpack: O’Brien; Pownall, Stanley, Worthington, Kay; McCrone, Brierley; Emmitt, Ackers, Sims, Bussey, Whiting, Hopkins. Subs: Maitua, Wallace, Sidlow, Buchanan.
Referee: Marcus Griffiths.