Rochdale Hornets v Featherstone Rovers
Sunday 7th May 2017, 15:00pm
Championship - Round: 13
Stats over last 5 encounters
FLATCAPPERS ARE IN TOWN
Alan Kilshaw’s men begin May with the visit of high flying Featherstone Rovers who will be on the lookout for revenge following their defeat to Rochdale Hornets back in March.
It was a resolute performance from the visitors as they were forced to defend for the majority of the contest before a late penalty from Lewis Palfrey snatched the two points.
There was a hint of irony in the winning play coming from a penalty as the Hornets were on the wrong end of a 15-6 penalty count.
The first score of the contest also came from Palfrey’s boot, as he knocked over an early two pointer, before Danny Yates was sin binned for a professional foul which was later deemed the wrong decision.
From the resulting penalty Michael Knowles levelled the scores before Rob Massam’s break lead to Danny Bridge crossing the whitewash to make it 8-2.
Chris Ulugia hit back in the second half moments before Gavin Bennion was denied a try by an offside call, and when Anthony Thackeray landed a field-goal with 12 minutes left on the clock the home side looked to have clinched the win.
It wasn’t to be though as Josh Crowley broke down the left edge and the covering defender held on too long, with the Hornets skipper keeping his nerve to send the penalty sailing over for a hard-fought 10-9 triumph.
That day marks Rochdale’s last victory as they have drawn one and lost seven, but they gained a lot of positives from their last outing away to Hull KR where they went down 24-16 against the league leaders.
Featherstone currently sit in third position in the Championship table and are just four points off the top, with Toulouse Olympique ahead on points difference.
Since their loss to the Hornets, Rovers have won five of their seven league fixtures with their only defeats coming to the two sides above them in the table.
Jon Sharp’s side may have picked up a 25-14 victory at home to Sheffield Eagles in their previous run-out, however their head coach cut a frustrated figure in his post-match press conference.
He claimed that his men gave him a ‘headache’ as they didn’t respect the ball with a poor completion rate of 45%.
They might have one eye on their Challenge Cup tie with Halifax which is being shown live on Sky Sports on Thursday night, but with top four aspirations they won’t be able to afford to take any games lightly.
Jo Taira will come back into contention for the home side following a one-match suspension each to boost the Hornets’ forward pack, while Samir Tahraoui remains banned.
Ryan Maneely will be unavailable again after a small operation and Jono Smith is a doubt following a knee injury.
Jay Lobwein is back after his loan spell and could feature, while Kevin Penny has been made available after his return from injury.