Featherstone Rovers 18 Wakefield Trinity Wildcats 22: Rovers run down by ‘super’ fit Wakefield

Rover's Kyran Johnson is halted by Wildcats' Tinirau Arona and Jason Walton. PIC: Tony Johnson
Rover's Kyran Johnson is halted by Wildcats' Tinirau Arona and Jason Walton. PIC: Tony Johnson

FEATHERSTONE ROVERS’ prized indoor training facilities proved their worth as Wakefield Trinity Wildcats battled back to victory at Big Fellas Stadium.

Wakefield now train at Featherstone, but the hosts showed them little hospitality early on as they went 18-6 up and were eight points in front at the break.

It stayed that way until the final quarter, but then Wakefield’s full-time fitness – gained in Rovers’ gym – finally took hold and two late tries sealed a 22-18 win. It was a hard-fought, competitive derby which will stand both teams in good stead. Rovers – with loose-forward John Davies leading the way – were the better team for 60 minutes and, despite fading on a heavy pitch, seem to be heading in the right direction.

They defended strongly throughout and attacked well in the first half when they were playing down the slope, running in three tries in one six minute spell.

Wakefield made too many handling errors and offered little with the ball until late on, but – encouragingly – did not concede a point in the final 52 minutes. Both teams scored four tries, but Anthony Thackeray and Kyran Johnson managed just one goal between them, while Jordan Tansey kicked three from four for Wakefield.

Even that isn’t a huge concern to Rovers, following the signing of marksman Kyle Briggs from Sheffield Eagles last week. And they will feel they would have won had Thackeray been granted what looked to be a legitimate try in the third quarter, when referee James Child instead ordered a drop out.

Wakefield rested Jacob Miller and Liam Finn, so Craig Hall and Tansey got a shot in the halves. They got a grip on the game late on, with Hall’s kick creating a try for his partner, before Hall burst down the slope and impressive young full-back Max Jowitt was in support to score the winner four minutes from time.

Rovers scored early on through Davies, but Tansey edged Wakefield ahead with a try and goal after a one-two with Ashley Gibson. But Wakefield were wobbling when Hardman nipped over from acting-half, Jack Ormondroyd crossed from Matty Wildie’s pass and Misi Taulapapa took advantage of a scramble behind the line from Will Milner’s kick. Johnson converted Ormandroyd’s try, but was brushed off by Lyne as the centre burst over for an unconverted score out of nothing to get Wildcats back in the game just before the break.

Featherstone Rovers: Hardman, Johnson, Channing, Taulapapa, Turner,Milner, Thackeray, Bostock, Wildie, Ormondroyd, Snitch, Spears, Davies. Subs (all used) Day, Cording, Tagg, Cooper, Hill, Joynt, Roche.

Wakefield Trinity Wildcats: Jowitt, Johnstone, Gibson, Walton, Lyne, Hall, Tansey, England, Howarth, Arona, A Tupou, Crowther, Annakin. Used subs Arundel, Molloy, Sio, Walker, Yates, Shulver. Unused B Tupou, Miller, Mazive.

Referee: James Child (Batley).

Attendance: 2,194.