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Featherstone Rovers 22-23 Halifax (aet)

Featherstone (12) 22
Tries: Briggs, Hardaker 2, Dale Goals: Briggs 3

Halifax (4) 23
Tries: Worrincy, Bannister, Black, Branighan
Goals: Paterson 3 Drop Goal: Black

Championship play-offs

Halifax stunned Featherstone Rovers as they came from 22-4 down to claim the Championship Grand Final with Ben Black's stunning golden-point winner.

Fax were made to endure 'Feath, wind and fire' before Black slotted the winning drop goal just into extra time.

Rovers looked on course, responding to an early Fax try with four unanswered ones of their own, either side of a 45-minute delay to a chip pan fire.

But, after three more Fax tries took it to extra time, cool Black then won it.

The game had looked to be all but over when Featherstone opened up a 22-4 lead after 53 minutes thanks to a second try from teenage winger Zak Hardaker.

But underdogs Halifax roared back to level and send the game into extra-time.

Veteran former Leeds stand-off Graham Holroyd, in his last game, had already been off target with two drop-goal attempts to break the deadlock in normal time.

In what could have been an even more dramatic climax, up against his old Leeds team-mate, Rovers coach Daryl Powell, his second effort drifted just wide almost with the last kick.

But, when it got down to sudden death in extra time, less than two minutes in, his half-back partner Black had more luck to land the 'golden point' and complete the most unlikely of fightbacks.

After leading the Championship table almost all season, Powell's Featherstone had finished six points ahead of Halifax.

And Fax, beaten finalists in 2009, had three times been on the wrong end of defeats to Feath, losing 42-4 at Post Office Road in April, 26-16 at The Shay in June, before then suffering another 46-16 hammering when the two sides last met on 9 September in the qualifying semi-final.

But, reaching last year's Championship final, when they lost 26-18 to Barrow at the Halliwell Jones, was the highest Halifax have reached since losing their place in Super League in 2003 - and they were fully motivated to go one better.

That was certainly how it looked when Fax had the satisfaction of scoring the first - and the best - try when winger Rob Worrincy, the fastest man outside Super League, went the full length of the field after 19 minutes to open the scoring.

But stand-off Kyle Briggs equalised for Rovers eight minutes later. And, undaunted by the outbreak of fire in the West Stand 32 minutes into the game, which caused Fax fans to be evacuated and a 45-minute hold-up, Rovers took a firm grip.

Hardaker scored his first try, again converted by Briggs, for a 12-4 interval lead before forward Matty Dale added another four minutes into the second half.

Then came Hardaker's second try - and Halifax looked destined to finish runners-up for the second straight year.

But scrum-half Black, man of the match in Halifax's defeat by Barrow in last year's final, sparked the amazing fightback.

He scored Fax's second try on 55 minutes before sending centre Luke Branighan over for another four minutes later.

Substitute Stephen Bannister then grabbed a fourth try six minutes from the end before Lee Paterson tied the scores at 22-22 with his third successful kick.

But that was only the start of the dramatic finale, Black stealing the £100,000 prize for Halifax as his boot secured the most dramatic of victories.


Featherstone: Hardman, Hardaker, Smeaton, Welham, Saxton, Briggs, Finn, Tonks, Kaye, Dickens, Spears, Field, Dale.
Replacements: Divorty, Manning, Grayshon, Kain.

Halifax: Royston, Paterson, Branighan, Nash, Worrincy, Holroyd, Black, Cherryholme, Beswick, Aizue, Larder, Wrench, Barlow.
Replacements: Penkywicz, Watene, Maloney, Bannister.

Referee: Robert Hicks (Oldham).

Attendance: 9,443.



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see also
Championship play-offs round-up
19 Sep 10 |  Rugby League
Championship play-offs round-up
12 Sep 10 |  Rugby League
Championship play-offs round-up
05 Sep 10 |  Rugby League
Championship round-up - week 23
27 Aug 10 |  Rugby League
Championship round-up - week 22
19 Aug 10 |  Rugby League
Championship round-up - week 21
15 Aug 10 |  Rugby League
Championship preview - week 19
05 Aug 10 |  Rugby League
Championship round-up - week 18
02 Aug 10 |  Rugby League
Championship round-up - week 17
26 Jul 10 |  Rugby League
Championship round-up - week 16
04 Jul 10 |  Rugby League
Championship round-up - week 15
27 Jun 10 |  Rugby League
Championship round-up - week 14
14 Jun 10 |  Rugby League
Championship round-up - week 13
30 May 10 |  Rugby League
Championship round-up - week 12
23 May 10 |  Rugby League
Championship round-up - week 11
16 May 10 |  Rugby League
Championship round-up - week 10
09 May 10 |  Rugby League


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