Unstoppable Featherstone Rovers sweep aside Barrow Raiders after eleven-try thrashing

Featherstone Rovers swept aside Barrow Raiders at the Millennium Stadium to make it 13 wins out of 13 in the Championship - on a day in which they scored their 12,000th try.
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Hometown-boy Luke Briscoe grabbed the landmark effort in a dominant first half for Fev which also included tries from Craig Hall, Caleb Aekins, Gareth Gale and McKenzie Yei.

More tries followed in the second half from Chris Hankinson, home debutant Arama Hau, Jack Bussey and the exceptional Tomas Lacans, as well as a double from Connor Jones, as Fev cruised to a 64-6 triumph.

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Strugglers Barrow, who have climbed away from the danger zone following two wins in their previous three outings, including a 32-16 success over local rivals Whitehaven at the Summer Bash last weekend, made an encouraging start in West Yorkshire with three consecutive sets.

The Millennium Stadium, home of Featherstone RoversThe Millennium Stadium, home of Featherstone Rovers
The Millennium Stadium, home of Featherstone Rovers

Danny Langtree broke from his own half after some great work by Ellis Archer, while Ryan Johnson produced two enticing grubber kicks which Fev, defending on their own try line for the opening moments, managed to deal with.

Slowly, but surely, the runaway leaders found their groove and asserted their own pressure, with Barrow having to defend two goal-line drop outs.

And the pressure told after 12 minutes with Hall going over after being played in by Lacans, who was involved throughout.

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The lead was doubled two minutes later. Despite being on the last tackle of the set, Fev showed immaculate composure and handling to move the ball quickly to the right - Lacans was in the heart of the action - before Briscoe stepped inside to notch the club’s 12,000th try in their history. It seems like they’ve scored half of them in 2023. And a fitting moment for the Featherstone-born winger. Who else to get the milestone try?

Barrow had a rare chance to get on the scoreboard following an interception but Lacans got back well to prevent any danger.

Raiders centre Shane Toal then somehow denied Briscoe a 12,001st try for the Rovers, knocking the ball out of the winger’s hands just before he got to the try line.

They didn’t have to wait long, however, as Hau, making his first home appearance since signing last month from Gold Coast Titans, off-loaded to Aekins who went over.

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Hall then broke through the middle, kicking the ball delicately forward but he couldn’t add to the seemingly ever-growing tally. The home side then tried working it to the right with Lacans finding Bussey but he was stopped in his tracks. However, Fev moved it to the left where Gale leapt over a diving tackle and touched down for his 19th try of the Championship season, now level with Halifax’s Lachlan Walmsley who scored his 19th try of the campaign yesterday in the Panthers’ 28-22 defeat at Toulouse.

Substitutes Daniel Smith and Yei then combined with the latter touching down for the home side’s fifth try of the afternoon.

The 30-0 scoreline at half-time was the largest lead Fev had established at the interval since round two, when they were comfortably in front against another Cumbrian side, Whitehaven, 36-4. They went on to win that one 76-4 - their biggest win of the season.

They got close to matching it here. But they were made to work hard for it after Barrow, just like they did in the first half, started the second period the brightest.

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Johnson thought he was over but the pass into him from Andrew Bulman was forward. But a delightful looping pass out wide by Langtree found winger Luke Broadbent, who darted over on the far side.

Barrow’s joy was short-lived as Hankinson regained the 30-point cushion when he found a gap to go over moments later. It was the start of another onslaught as Fev ran in try, after try.

A Jonathan Ford grubber kick enabled Hau to pounce for a try on his home debut. What a moment for the 19-year-old Australian.

Lacans then produced an inch-perfect pass to allow Bussey to dart over before Lacans turned to the boot to cause chaos – his high bomb was caught expertly by Briscoe who turned inside to find Jones, who did the rest.

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Lacans capped a superb performance with a try of his own - Featherstone’s tenth try on a glorious summer’s afternoon, and their tenth different try scorer.

There was still time for Jones to grab his second after the hooter was sounded as Fev eased to a big win. And with Sheffield Eagles suffering a surprising setback at home to Whitehaven, the 64-6 victory extends Rovers’ lead at the top of the table to eight points.

Featherstone: Aekins, Briscoe, Hall, Hankinson, Gale, Ford, Lacans, Lockwood, Wildie, Moors, Hau, Bussey, Cozza

Interchanges: Jones, Smith, Yei, Davies

Tries: Hall, Briscoe, Aekins, Gale, Yei, Hankinson, Hau, Bussey, Jones (2), Lacans

Conversions: Hall (10)

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Barrow: Cresswell, Bulman, Corkill, Toal, Broadbent, Archer, Johnston, Gillam, Wood, Iaria, Langtree, Stack, Wells

Interchanges: Saunders, Emslie, Worthington, Brooks

Tries: Broadbent

Conversions: Archer