The big smile on Bob Cunningham’s face as his young side got sweet revenge for last season’s 50-plus loss to Cutsyke in the same fixture said it all after Featherstone Lions won 41-20 in their Castleford & District Cup semi final.
Along with his right hand man, Darren Roberts, they have built virtually a new team who ran away with the game in the second half.
Richard Dedicoat, Liam Kay, Harry McCallister and Danny Thompson – until he had to leave the field – were Lions’ stars, but all 17 players deserved a mention.
Hosts Cutsyke went in at the break with a 20-10 lead with Lions’ points coming from two McCallister tries and a Dedicoat conversion.
But after a few stern words from Roberts and Cunningham the young Lions outfit lifted their game to blow the niggly home team away.
With Jacob Bryant, Jordie Gamble, Alfie Jewitt and Bear Grylls lookalike Jack Harris to the fore Featherstone took the game to Cutsyke.
Kay shot over to reduce the deficit, Dedicoat landing the conversion.
A towering bomb from Kay was dropped by ex-Lions player Jack Ratcliffe and the pint sized Josh Maiden picked up to race 25 yards to score. Dedicoat tagged on the conversion to nudge the visitors ahead at 22-20.
Soon after he popped over a penalty goal to stretch the lead to four points.
Next, the all-action McCallister went on a 45-yard blockbusting run before parting to Dedicoat who hared to the line and added the extras to make it 30-20.
With the babyfaced Luke Jackson making lots of invaluable yards with his countless breaks from acting half Kay then dropped a 50-yard drop-goal.
Maiden, Kay and Dedicoat called all the shots on the field and Lions crowd favourite Gamble and Harris took no prisoners with their no nonsense tackling.
Lions scored the try of the game as Kay split open the home defence and went 35 yards before parting to Dedicoat who then handed to Cameron Carr who showed a fine pair of heels to finish off in the corner.
Dedicoat added a touchline conversion to make it 37-20 and the wily Harris then set up the final try as he dummied the home defence and raced 40 yards before giving an inch perfect pass to Jamie Blakeston who in turn showed rare pace for an 18 stone prop to race in from 30 yards out.
Watching first team captain Ian Jackson and Danny Glassell were full of praise for this young outfit’s display.