Rugby League: Rovers give hope to new coach Ward

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Featherstone Rovers 14 Halifax 22 Featherstone could not welcome David Ward with a victory but their new coach will have drawn some encouragement from a second-half display that showed a considerable improvement on their recent form, writes Dave Hadfield.

As an introduction to the realities of life at Post Office Road, Ward would have found his first 40 minutes instructive. Despite an abundance of possession and position, Featherstone went in 10 points behind because they were opened up too easily by a Halifax side continuing their own good form under Steve Simms, their new coach.

Wayne Parker found a hole to run through for their first try and John Fieldhouse set up Graeme Hallas for the second.

Halifax were looking sharp enough not to require any extra help, but Rovers gave them some when Iva Ropati's dropped ball allowed John Schuster to slide over. In between, Featherstone claimed a try when Carl Gibson dived across the line.

Halifax squandered chances to put the game beyond doubt early in the second half, and it was Featherstone who got the first points through Aston's second goal.

Within a minute, Danny Divet held up his pass for Graham Southernwood to score, and Aston's conversion put Featherstone just two points behind.

Rovers were finally sunk six minutes from time with the First Test referee, Graham Annesley, controversially allowing a try from Mark Preston after the ball seemed to come forward from Simon Baldwin.

Featherstone Rovers: Gibson; Banquet, Currier, Ropati, Butt; Nixon, Aston; Molloy, G Southernwood (Ellis, 75), G S Price, Divet (O'Brien, 75), G H Price, Roebuck.

Halifax: Hampson (Smith, 40); Bentley, Schuster, Hallas, Preston; Hagan, Parker; Harrison, R Southernwood, Fieldhouse, Harland (Round, 55), Round (Baldwin, 27), Divorty.

Referee: G Annesley (Sydney).

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