FEATHERSTONE Rovers crashed to a heavy defeat against Super League opponents for the second time in this season’s Qualifiers with Sunday’s 58-10 trouncing against Widnes Vikings at Halton Stadium.
After losing 38-12 at home to Leigh Centurions and drawing 32-32 at fellow Championship club London Broncos, Featherstone never looked capable of pulling off an upset in the third Middle 8s fixture against Widnes.
Rhys Hanbury and Chris Bridge each scored three tries as the Vikings made their Super League class and know-how tell against a Rovers side that too many mistakes.
Featherstone trailed 34-4 at the break after a below-par first-half display.
They started badly for the third successive Qualifier, conceding four early tries.
Half-backs Joe Mellor and Danny Craven put in Hanbury after four minutes and the full-back soon bagged his second after Mellor’s crossfield kick resulted in a Rovers knock-on.
Charly Runciman then grabbed two quick tries and Lloyd White added his third goal to make it 22-0 after 18 minutes.
Featherstone winger Luke Briscoe did well to collect a high kick under pressure before Rovers opened their account in the 23rd minute when Misi Taulapapa dived over acrobatically at the corner.
Rovers defended excellently to survive a spell of Widnes pressure before they fell further behind in the 32nd minute when Bridge intercepted Anthony Thackeray’s pass to race over from 45 yards out.
Mellor then put in Bridge for his second and White kicked his fifth goal to give the Vikings a commanding interval lead.
Featherstone started the second-half well when they forced a goalline drop-out which led to James Lockwood going over for a 44th minute touchdown that Ian Hardman goaled but they were punished for another error three minutes later when Thackeray’s pass went to ground and Stefan Marsh scooped up the ball to score a 55-yard try that ex-Featherstone player Craven goaled.
Danny Walker’s darting run and clever grubber kick then set up Bridge’s third try.
Hep Cahill was held up over the line before the home side scored again when Marsh plucked Mellor’s kick out of the air to go over for his second.
Hanbury then completed his hat-trick after Marsh superbly collected Mellor’s kick.
The home side rounded things off with Mellor’s 79th minute solo effort that Hanbury converted.
Widnes Vikings: Hanbury; Marsh, Bridge, Runciman, Thompson; Mellor, Craven; Buchanan, White, Dudson, Houston, Whiley, Cahill. Subs: Gerrard, Burke, Walker, Olbison.
Featherstone Rovers: Hardman; Briscoe, Hardcastle, Taulapapa, Turner; Briggs, Thackeray; Griffin, Wildie, Moore, Davies, Lockwood, Baldwinson. Subs: Carlile, Brooks, Ormondroyd, Tagg.
Referee: Gareth Hewer.