Danny Glassell’s second try late on sent Featherstone Lions into the third round of the Coral Challenge Cup as they pulled off a shock 30-26 win away to NCL Premier side Underbank Rangers in an eventful tie.
All 17 players got big wraps from coach Jamie Rooney who stated that it was a superb team effort in which the players’ attitude was spot on as they had to dig in after the break playing up the Rangers slope facing a gale force wind, sleet and rain.
A Gaz Gale hit in the first set saw Rangers spill the ball and set the tone for the Lions. From the resulting scrum pack leader Dean Gamble was held short before a Jake Perkins ball led to Gaz Williamson racing 35 yards to touch down. Ian Jackson’s conversion made it 6-0.
Underbank hit back as they took advantage of a couple of penalties to score wide out.
Gamble, Williamson and Scott Glassell went close for Featherstone and Danny Gilbert had a “try” ruled out by the referee. But their efforts were rewarded when a Scott Glassell chip was swooped upon by Gamble. With Jackson goaling they led 12-4.
With Gale making another big hit in the middle and teenager Josh Maiden getting into the Rangers faces, the Lions held firm. Conner Paver made a try saving tackle, but off the back of more penalties the hosts crossed for a converted try.
Rangers looked set to score again, but Danny Glassell latched onto a stray pass and sped 70 yards for an exciting try to which Jackson added a touchline conversion.
However, on the stroke of half-time a huge Rangers bomb was plucked out of the air by their winger for a fine try to make it 18-14. Big talking point at the break was a 14-4 penalty count against Lions.
Underbank came down the hill all guns firing and quickly got a converted try to take the lead. Lions then had a man sin-binned and more pressure led to a hotly disputed try with the visitors believing there had been a foot in touch.
Featherstone responded with Williamson having a storming second half along with Gale, Danny Glassell and Maiden. Gale made a searing touchline run before good hands led to Maiden putting Williamson away. He pushed off two defenders before parting to Perkins who went over a try that was converted by Jackson.
Jackson then kept his cool to land a penalty against the horrible conditions to nudge Lions in front at 26-24.
Rangers hit back with a penalty, but Gamble, Gale and Williamson did some hard yards before Danny Glassell raced 35 yards for the winning try.
Lions had a player harshly sent-off after a brawl and Rangers looked sure to score late on before teenager Jack Ellam made a crushing tackle on the home side’s winger to send the ball flying into touch. The referee blew for full-time and Featherstone were through to the third round where they are away York Acorn.
Team manager Keith Bell, coach Rooney, the Lions players and backroom staff thanked the supporters for their great backing, making it feel at times like a home game.