Daryl Powell recalls when Featherstone Rovers stunned rivals Castleford Tigers in the Challenge Cup

IT was one of the biggest Challenge Cup shocks of the last decade and a day that won’t be forgotten by Featherstone Rovers supporters for a while yet.

Tuesday, 12th May 2020, 12:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th May 2020, 1:44 pm
Featherstone Rovers RLFC v Castleford Tigers, 2012 Challenge Cup Fourth Round. Picture: Simon Wilkinson/SWpix.com.

Castleford Tigers fans will be quicker to banish the memory of the fourth-round Cup contest between the two derby rivals at Post Office Road in April 2012 which resulted in a 23-16 triumph for Featherstone.

The match was the last competitive meeting between the sides, whose grounds are only separated by a little over five miles.

Writing in the Yorkshire Post on that day, rugby league correspondent Dave Craven described how the hosts, “shrugged off their lower division status to utterly outplay Super League opponents in a fittingly-compelling derby affair.”

Featherstone Rovers RLFC v Castleford Tigers, 2012 Challenge Cup Fourth Round. Picture: Simon Wilkinson/SWpix.com.

Castleford head coach Daryl Powell was in the opposite dugout at the time and had made Rovers one of the most dominant teams in the Championship since first taking the job in 2008.

Featherstone won three-consecutive League Leaders’ Shields between 2010 and 2012 and the Championship Grand Final in 2011 under the former Great Britain international.

The Tigers had reached the semi-final of the Challenge Cup in the previous year but were knocked out in dramatic fashion by Leeds Rhinos.

“Ian Millward was coaching Castleford then and they had had a difficult period in Super League,” Daryl Powell, who would take the top job at Wheldon Road 13 months later, recalled of the 2012 meeting.

Featherstone Rovers RLFC v Castleford Tigers, 2012 Challenge Cup Fourth Round. Picture: Simon Wilkinson/SWpix.com.

“We did a lot of research on Castleford at that time and believed we had the team to cause them some trouble.

“Castleford had some really high-quality players; Rangi Chase was playing at the top of his game at that time.

“We just played superbly as a team.

“It was a big, big win for Featherstone and a tough one for Castleford fans to take.

“It was a great day for Featherstone and it was a superb performance all-round for everyone who took the field.”

The visitors took the lead at a packed-out Post Office Road through Daryl Clark’s try but Featherstone hit back to effectively win the game with four unanswered tries in 19 minutes.

Tangi Ropati, Kyle Briggs, Ian Hardman and Greg Worthington all dotted down as Rovers built up a lead too big for their visitors to overturn

The Tigers made more of a game of it in the second half and got to within six points when Josh Griffin and Nick Youngest scored either side of a penalty goal from Liam Finn.

Featherstone had repelled four straight-sets on their own line just after the hour before celebrations could be begin when Finn slotted over a drop-goal late one.

Powell spent four full seasons at Post Office Road between 2008 and 2013 and admits the Cup triumph is, “without doubt”, one of his finest achievements at Featherstone.

“We won a few of League Leaders’ Shields when I was there as well,” he continued.

“We ran London close in the Challenge Cup also, we came pretty close to beating them.

“It was a great period, I really enjoyed my time at Featherstone.

“Both Castleford and Featherstone are traditional, community-based clubs that mean a lot to everybody that is connected to them.

“It has been a pleasure to represent both of the clubs.

“Castleford has been my team since I was a teenager, so the job at Castleford is one that I always wanted at some point in my coaching career. It has been a pleasure to have done it.”

Few Championship clubs have managed to knock out a Super League club in the Challenge Cup in recent years.

Oldham were successful against Hull KR in 2016 while Swinton Lions stunned Huddersfield Giants in 2017.

Over 4,000 fans attended Featherstone’s well-remembered victory and Powell added: “It was buzzing.

“To win a game like that and as it starts to become possible for a team who are not expected to win, then the atmosphere grows.

“Both sets of supporters are pretty vociferous so it was a special atmosphere in the ground that day.

“When we won, people were pretty happy.

“It is one of those games that you win that aren’t expected to and they end up staying with you for a long time.”