Rovers pull off Tigers feat
Castleford crumble after taking the lead against Championship club
By Rob Lancaster. Last Updated: 14/04/12 6:20pm
Featherstone Rovers caused a Carnegie Challenge Cup upset at Post Office Road with a 23-16 triumph over local rivals Castleford.
The Championship club knocked out their top-flight neighbours thanks to a superb first-half display that saw them score four tries to one.
Tangi Ropati, Kyle Briggs, Ian Hardman and Greg Worthington all touched down as the Tigers suffered another shock loss in the cup, having tumbled out to part-timers Barrow just two years ago.
All this came after Rovers had fallen behind after four minutes, Daryl Clark breaking the deadlock when he darted over from dummy half, though his celebrations were short-lived as he was soon sent to the sin-bin.
While it was still 13 v 13 Rovers managed to get a reply; Ropati was set free from deep inside his own half and he cut inside last-man Danny Orr to reach the line, though Liam Finn was unable to add the extras from out wide.
The crucial moment of the half, however, came when Clark was punished by referee Ben Thaler for holding on in the tackle after a burst by Jon Hepworth. While the young hooker was sitting on the sidelines for 10 minutes, Featherstone seized the chance to take control of the contest.
Briggs put the underdogs ahead, albeit only just as he was adjudged to have touched the ball down by the skin of his fingertips by the video official, and Hardman then finished off a flowing move down the left.
When centre Worthington also exploited Castleford's porous right-hand side the hosts had scored 20 unanswered points, leaving the Tigers with a real uphill battle despite having the advantage of going downhill in the second half.
They did manage to cut the deficit before the break, Josh Griffin's 10th try of the campaign coming in the right corner.
But their cause wasn't helped by the loss of full-back Richard Owen at the start of the second half, while Oliver Holmes was held up just short going for the line on the last tackle.
A foot in touch denied Tommy Saxton a try for Featherstone, though they did extend their lead on 58 minutes when Finn slotted over his third goal.
Griffin saw a try chalked off at the other end too, Thaler ruling the final pass to the winger had been forward, but Castleford did get a lifeline on the opposite flank when Nick Youngquest dived in at the corner.
Danny Orr - who had taken over the kicking duties from Kirk Dixon - knocked over the conversion, cutting the gap to six with 11 minutes still to play.
Yet there was to be no late comeback from the big boys, the shock being sealed when Finn managed to scrape over a drop goal with his left foot. It may have only been a point, but it was enough to see Rovers move out of sight and seal a place in the fifth round of the competition.
Ladbrokes Challenge Cup