Catalans triumph in Cup thriller
Super League strugglers through to last eight after last-gasp win
By Simon Dilger. Last Updated: 09/05/10 6:43pm
A last ditch drop goal by Thomas Bosc secured Catalans Dragons a place in the Challenge Cup quarter-finals with a dramatic 35-34 victory over Crusaders.
Bosc slotted the winning point with just 20 seconds left on the clock of a thrilling encounter at the Racecourse Ground, to secure the narrowest of wins for the French outfit.
Tries from Steven Bell, Thomas Bosc, Dane Carlaw and a hat-trick from Setaimata Sa were complemented by 11 points from the boot of Bosc, to set up a meeting against Halifax or Batley in the last eight.
The Super League's bottom side wreaked havoc in the first half, running in five tries to leave their stunned hosts trailing by 18 points at the break.
But a ferocious fightback by the Crusaders saw the Welsh outfit claw their way back to level the scores late in the game and set up a nailbiting final ten minutes.
The Crusaders opened the scoring in the seventh minute when Jarrod Sammut found space on the left and delivered a delightful offload to Clinton Schifcofske, who crossed in the corner for his first try for the club.
Michael Witt added the extras with a difficult touchline kick in blustery conditions to give the Crusaders an early 6-0 lead.
Just five minutes later however, Sa barged in from close range after McGuire had drawn the hosts' defence and skipper Bosc slotted the conversion to level the scores.
And within four minutes the visitors had extended their lead further when Bell barged his over, as Catalans made their hosts pay once more for defensive mistakes.
Bosc made it two from two to take scores to 12-6, and on 22 minutes Catalans again exposed the frailties in an increasingly shaky-looking defence.
This time it was Bosc who went in under the posts for a easy try after Lincoln Withers missed a simple tackle that left Sa in the clear.
The skipper converted his own score before turning provider moments later with a magnificent crossfield kick to Sa, who got up high to collect and crash over for his second. Bosc added the extras to make it 24-6.
On 32 minutes, Catalans made the Crusaders' defence pay again with a fifth try courtesy of Dane Carlaw.
The Crusaders finally hit back with five minutes to go of the first half, Gareth Thomas exploiting the overlap with a neat offload to Mellars, who crossed in the corner.
Witt added the extras with a tough conversion wide on the right to close the gap to 12-30.
Rhys Hanbury went over on the stroke of half time but the television official ruled against the try to send the home side into the break trailing by 18 points.
Eight minutes into the second half though, Frank Winterstien put his side back in the hunt when he powered over from close range after a period of pressure close to the line.
Schifcofske kicked the extras to close the gap to 18-30 but nine minutes later Sa went over in the right corner to complete his hat-trick.
Bosc missed the conversion but, with the scores at 34-18, his side were firmly back in the driving seat.
The Crusaders answered just two minutes later however, after some neat play among the backs opened up a gap for substitute Peter Lupton to secure their fourth.
Schifcofske took the score to 24-34 with his kick and on 66 minutes and Sammut took them closer with an exquisite chip and chase to touch down close to the posts.
Schifcofske slotted the conversion to move the Crusaders to within four points of the visitors.
Sammut was in the thick of things again moments later, delivering a pinpoint pass to Chan who fed Nick Youngquest for a try out wide.
But Schifcofske missed the kick to leave the scores level and set up a nailbiting final ten minutes.
Sammut missed with a drop goal attempt on 77 minutes and on 78 Bosc missed one of his own at the other end, as both sides sought to avoid extra time and the sudden death scenario.
But with just 20 seconds to go Bosc sealed it for the French outfit, this time seeing his drop goal sail between the uprights from 40 mietres, to secure the win and put his side within 180 minutes of a trip to Wembley.