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The magic of the Challenge Cup paired the favourites to win this season`s Championship, Wakefield Trinity, against the side who have flirted with promotion for the last couple of seasons but who are currently experiencing some financial difficulties, Featherstone Rovers, in a fifth-round tie to make the mouth water.

Wakefield were favourites with the bookies for the win with a ten-point handicap on the coupon, but Featherstone had home advantage on the notorious pitch at a vociferous and often hostile Post Office Road.

A sixth-round place in a hat full of Super League teams beckoned for the winner over the eighty minutes.

Conditions were akin to a winter afternoon, a leveller for both sides with ball handling and footing proving tricky from the first whistle. Neither side could establish a foothold in the game and neither had any real try scoring opportunities early in the game.

A fracas caused referee Ben Thaler to sin bin Renouf Atoni and Brad England as both sides were reduced to twelve men on twenty-two minutes.

Wakefield went close on twenty-seven, Caleb Aekins just managing to hack the ball dead in goal as a Wakefield plyer dived to ground the loose ball and a minute later Liam Hood knocked-on as he made a lunge for the line from dummy half.

On thirty-one it was the home side who took the lead after fast hands from right to left with Connor Wynne being the man on hand to take the final pass and slide over in the corner. The conversion was from the touchline, but Thomas Lacans was up to the task and added the conversion in a difficult swirling wind.

The second Rovers try came just six minutes later when Wynne picked up a bounce pass to wrong step the covering tackler and ground. Lacans was unable to add the conversion on this occasion, Featherstone into the interval with a valuable ten-point lead but with the hill to play up in the second half.

It took Wakefield seven second half minutes to get their first points of the game with the ball moved wide for Oliver Pratt to go over in the corner off an Isaiah Vagana pass. Max Jowitt pushed his kick just wide of the posts, the visitors now a converted score behind.

Wakefield’s second arrived on fifty-eight minutes when Romain Franco had an acre of space to take the pass and sprint twenty to ground in the corner. Jowitt was again just wide with the conversion, but the slope was helping Wakefield, and their fans were turning up the volume.

Wakefield were awarded a penalty on sixty-three with Mason Lino taking over the kicking duties and nailing the kick from close to the touchline. The scrum half was on target to level the scores at 10-10, Wakefield now looking favourites for the win.

Featherstone attempted a drop goal through Lacans on sixty-eight, but the ball went wide of the uprights. Entering the last five minutes it was all square, and neither side could engineer a chance of a drop goal. The game going into golden point extra time.

Wakefield won the coin toss and elected to kick down the slope in the first period.

Lacans attempted the first drop goal with three minutes of the first period on the clock but the ball ran along the ground and dead in goal. As Wakefield looked to engineer a drop goal,  Josh Griffin was unable to take a Lino pass as the ball hit his shoulder and into the hands of Gareth Gale who ran sixty-five metres to score in the corner for a massive win for the home side.

This was a traditional blood and guts cup encounter in terrible winter conditions where the slope played a major role in benefitting Featherstone in the first half and Wakefield in the second. Featherstone won after the most even of battles and will now join the Sheffield Eagles, Batley Bulldogs and the Halifax Panthers in the sixth-round draw alongside the twelve Super League sides, all sides now just three wins away from a Wembley appearance.

Featherstone Rovers: Aekins, Wacokecoke, Hardcastle, Wynne (2T), Gale, Bowes, Lacans (G), Springer, Jones, Bussey, Day, England (SB on 22), Addy. Subs: Kamano, Tomlinson, Albert, Fishwick. 18th Man: . 

Wakefield Trinity: Jowitt, Franco (T), Griffin, Pratt (T), Walmsley, Gale (T), Lino (G), Bowden, Hood, Atoni (SB on 22), Ashurst, Pitts, Doyle.  Subs: Uele, Vagana, Smith, Booth. 18th Man: Croft.

Half-Time: 10-0.

Full-Time: 10-10. Golden Point: 14-10.

Score Progression: (SB), (SB), 4-0, 6-0, 10-0 : HT: 10-4, 10-8, 10-10 :FT: 14-10 :GP.

Lead Exchanges: Featherstone – Square - Featherstone.

Referee: Ben Thaler.

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Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sun 10th Mar 2024 4:54 PM | Views : 4355 | Replies : 2 | BACK TO STORIES