Rugby League: Rovers revival reaps reward

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The Independent Online
Featherstone Rovers 26

Warrington 10

FEATHERSTONE Rovers' ambitious summer investments paid a dividend in the second half at Post Office Road as Daniel Divet and Mark Aston dented Warrington's championship pretensions.

When a small town club like Featherstone spend big money they need to get their calculations right and their supporters so far this season had seen little evidence of that. But both the French second row forward, Divet, signed from Hull, and the scrum-half, Aston, enticed from Sheffield Eagles, proved a point yesterday.

Aston made the break and threw the dummy that set up Divet for the try that, with Martin Pearson's conversion, put Rovers ahead for the first time early in the second half.

It was Divet who put the game beyond Warrington's reach seven minutes from time, capitalising on a strong run from Rovers' less trumpeted French signing, Frederic Banquet, to force his way over from close range.

Aston, who had also found his form with his kicking game, emphasised his value to his new club by providing the pass from which Gary H Price extended Featherstone's lead before the end.

It took a remarkable turnaround to bring Featherstone their badly needed first win of the season. Early in the game, they had looked to be on their way to a thrashing.

A spectacular long pass from Greg Mackey put Jonathan Davies over for a try before Featherstone had settled down. A fine conversion from wide out and a penalty from a similar position by Davies built a valuable eight-point lead. But Warrington failed to take advantage of their good start, the Post Office Road slope, or a monopoly of early opportunities.

Their lack of discipline also contributed to their eventual downfall. Two unnecessary penalties allowed Pearson to reduce the deficit to four points by half-time and two more kicks after Divet's first try put Featherstone on the way to victory.

A long-range penalty by Davies gave Warrington hope of avoiding their first defeat of the season, but their best chance had disappeared a few minutes earlier when a touchdown by Kevin Ellis was disallowed for offside.

Featherstone Rovers: Gibson; Banquet, Currier, Roparti, Butt; Pearson, Aston; Maloy (Casey, 77; Roebuck, 79), Gunn, Casey (G S Price, 56), Divet, G H Price, Tuuta.

Warrington: Penny (Thursfield, 75); Forster, Bateman, Davies, Rudd; Ellis, Mackey; Chambers (Hilton, 27), Thursfield (Bennett, 60), McGuire, Cullen (Chambers, 65), Sanderson, Shelford.

Referee: R Connolly (Wigan).