Featherstone 20-38 Hull: Win proves costly for Black and Whites
Last Updated: 11/05/18 9:35am
Holders Hull claimed a 38-20 win at Featherstone to make it through to the quarter-finals of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup, but it came at a cost.
Already without a trio of front-row forwards and three senior half-backs because of injury, the Black and Whites lost prop Josh Bowden after only eight minutes. They also saw makeshift stand-off Carlos Tuimavave and winger Fetuli Talanoa also hobble off long before the end of a feisty sixth-round tie.
Six players were sin-binned, including Hull match-winner Jake Connor, and two-try winger Bureta Faraimo was sent off as the match threatened to spin out of the control of referee Scott Mikalauskas amid a series of ugly incidents.
Rovers' hopes of repeating their giant-killing act in the 1983 final at Wembley were dashed after a shocking start, but winger Luke Briscoe had something to celebrate as he touched down for the 17th successive match to equal the world record set by Eric Harris playing for Leeds in 1936.
Rovers were already trailing 30-4 by the time the prolific Briscoe, younger brother of Leeds winger Tom, took Anthony Thackeray's pass and produced an acrobatic finish to claim his 27th try of the season four minutes before half-time.
Briscoe took his tally to 28 when he finished off another enterprising Rovers attacking move six minutes into the second half and Martyn Ridyard kicked a second touchline conversion to make it 30-16, but the Championship side had left themselves too much to do.
Full-back Thackeray had earlier scored Featherstone's opening try to atone for two defensive blunders after Connor highlighted his fallibility under the high ball.
It was straightforward for the visitors from the fifth minute when in-form centre Josh Griffin scattered defenders on a trademark midfield burst and Connor took a return pass to score the opening try.
Second rower Sika Manu used his brute strength to go over for Hull's second try while a slick pass from Joe Westerman put Connor over for his second try as the holders established an 18-0 lead inside 13 minutes.
A 40-20 kick from stand-off Ridyard created the position for Thackeray to go over and Featherstone were attacking once more when their passing broke down and full-back Jamie Shaul scooped up the loose ball to race 80 metres for an opportunist try.
The impressive Griffin then crashed through some soft defence for a deserved try courtesy of another clever pass from Connor, who was also the architect for the first of Faraimo's two tries 13 minutes into the second half.
That snuffed out any prospect of a realistic comeback and Rovers suffered a blow after 56 minutes when Briscoe was sin-binned for lying on in the tackle after halting Shaul's dangerous run.
Against 12 men, Faraimo went 95 metres for his second try after pouncing on a loose ball and Briscoe was just returning from the bin when forward John Davies became the second Featherstone player to receive a yellow card for a high tackle on Jez Litten.
Although well beaten, Rovers battled to the end and Josh Hardcastle had a try disallowed before former England forward Gareth Hock grabbed a consolation score five minutes from the end.
The game had descended into farce by then, with Featherstone prop Brad Knowles and the Hull trio of Danny Washbrook, Shaul and Connor all shown yellow cards before Faraimo was sent off in the last minute for a late tackle on Thackeray as the visitors finished with nine men.