Featherstone Rovers gave their best performance so far in the Super 8s Qualifiers but they fell just short in a 32-24 defeat against Hull Kingston Rovers at Big Fellas Stadium on Sunday.
It was a match part-timers Featherstone should have won after they looked the better side for much of the game.
After conceding 62 points to both Leeds and Huddersfield and 70 points against Salford, depleted Rovers restored any lost pride by giving a vastly improved display in their final home fixture of the season.
They were unlucky to be 16-12 down at half-time after leading 12-4.
And they battled back superbly from 32-12 behind in the second-half to give Super League Hull KR a huge scare in the closing stages.
Josh Walters put Featherstone ahead in the ninth minute, with Kyle Briggs adding the first of his three goals.
The visitors replied with a try from Josh Mantellato but James Duckworth’s try restored Featherstone’s six-point advantage.
Shaun Lunt grabbed Hull KR’s second try and Mantellato then scored his second on the stroke of half-time by capitalising on a defensive howler by Featherstone’s Danny Craven and Duckworth who collided trying to catch a kick.
The Robins went further ahead in the second-half with two tries from former Featherstone Thomas Minns and one by James Greenwood but Featherstone were far from finished.
Misi Taulapapa scored two tries in two minutes to take his season’s tally to 16 and give him a clear lead in the race to be the club’s top try scorer this year.
Briggs and Craven added conversions to cut the deficit to eight points but Hull KR survived a late onslsaught to hold out for victory.
Rovers visit London Broncos in their final Super 8s fixture next Sunday.
Featherstone Rovers: Craven; Duckworth, Hardman, Taulapapa, Briscoe; Briggs, Thackeray; Griffin, Ellis, Baldwinson, Walters, Davies, Tagg. Subs: Day, Spears, Snitch, Cooper.
Hull KR: Cockayne; Sio, Minns, Thornley, Mantellato; Campese, Marsh; Tilse, Lunt, Allgood, Blair, Greenwood, Donaldson. Subs: Walker, Peacock, Horne, Jubb.
Referee: Gareth Hewer.