Featherstone Rovers end 38-year wait to return to Wembley Stadium

JAMES WEBSTER hailed an "outstanding" display from injury-hit Featherstone Rovers as they booked their place in the 1895 Cup final.

Monday, 7th June 2021, 9:33 am
Updated Monday, 7th June 2021, 9:34 am
WEMBLEY BOUND: Featherstone Rovers booked their spot in the 1895 Cup final after beating Widnes Vikings on Sunday. Picture: Dec Hayes Photography.

A 24-18 victory over Widnes VIkings saw Rovers earn their spot at Wembley in what will be their first appearance at the stadium for almost four decades.

Featherstone will take on York City Knights on July 17 in the curtain raiser to the Challenge Cup final which will be contested by Castleford Tigers and St Helens.

Webster's side led 16-0 against the Vikings after 12 minutes thanks to two tries from Brad Day and one from Craig Kopczak.

WEMBLEY BOUND: Featherstone Rovers booked their spot in the 1895 Cup final after beating Widnes Vikings on Sunday. Picture: Dec Hayes Photography.

However, Steve Tyrer and Adam Lawton hit back to reduce the deficit to four points before Frankie Halton scored the hosts' fourth try of the game following a magnificent break from Nu Brown.

Lawton scored his second just before the hour mark to add more tension to the contest. Craig Hall kicked a penalty goal to give Featherstone a six-point lead, which they held onto as they booked their place at Wembley.

"When you look at Widnes' squad, they are littered with stars who have been there and done that at the highest level," he said.

"It is always easy for a coach to say this but when you look at the people we had sat in the stands - they were at full tilt but we had seven or eight people out.

"For us to get out there and win against a good side was outstanding."

He added: "It is not very often you get the chance to go to Wembley. It is a fantastic experience.

"We just had to find a way to win today. I knew it was going to be hard but I was confident we could do it.

"We started exceptionally well. We gave them a couple of chances and it was a real ding-dong from then."

Rovers had just 19 players available for selection against Widnes after starting the season with 31 players in their squad.

Webster revealed he may need to look at signing some new faces to freshen the squad up ahead of next month's final.

"We only had 19 players left. We started with 31," said Webster.

"It is more than we had last week. We might need to freshen our squad up a little bit at the moment with some loan signings.

"But it is really hard to find those at the moment."