Featherstone Rovers v Batley Bulldogs Challenge Cup Rugby League Match report by Daniel Crossfield (a dedicated flatcapper watching from home)

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Featherstone Rovers v Batley Bulldogs  Betfred Challenge Cup 2nd  round (Saturday 27th  March 2021)

This match had a lot riding on it, not only progress to the 3rd Round of the Betfred Challenge Cup and the probability of drawing a Super League club in Monday’s draw , but also an automatic place in the semi-finals of the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup which is a competition just for Championship and League 1 clubs, and a 2nd and more realistic chance of a Wembley final.

So who would win this West Yorkshire Derby?

Keep reading to find out.

It was played at The Millennium Stadium in Featherstone   and it was live for free on The Sportsman.co.uk

1st Batley try

After 9 minutes, the first try of the game went to Batley as there was a dummy by Morton who went over for Batley, he successfully converted his own try.

1st Featherstone try

Just three minutes later, and an instant response from Featherstone who scored their first try  and it was a great try as Jones did an initial break, then good passing led to Brown feeding Day who had lots of space to get through a gap to score, unsuccessful conversion by Hall

2nd Rovers try

After a quarter of a hour,  Rovers scored back to back tries as great play by Chisholm who passed to Hall, who in turn passed wide to Blackmore who scored in the corner, unsuccessful conversion by Hall again, but Rovers ahead.

3rd Rovers try

Three minutes later, another Rovers try as Brown went through a gap, sidestepped and danced his way over, successful conversion by Hall this time.

4th Featherstone try

We hadn’t even played a quarter of the game and Featherstone scored their fourth try inside nine minutes as Batley lost the ball near their own try line, Brown picked it up and offloaded to Welham who went over in the corner, unsuccessful conversion by Hall.

2nd Batley try

Just after the half hour mark, Batley finally scored their 2nd try after a bad error by Blackmore of Fev and Morton hacked the ball forward and Elliott Hall just about scored, unsuccessful conversion by Morton.

After 38 minutes,  Featherstone went close as Ferres offloaded to Brown who went over but lost it just as he went over the try line.

On the stroke of halftime, Morton converted a penalty for Batley.

Halftime score:  Featherstone Rovers 18-12 Batley Bulldogs

So a half in which Rovers started poorly, then they had their little burst, then allowed Batley back into it. The only criticism I had of Featherstone was their kicking as they scored 4 tries but only kicked one, how would the 2nd half go, and who would progress?

It was a poor start to the 2nd half from Rovers as they kept making error after error, and after 48 minutes, it was a positive and aggressive start to the 2nd half by Batley and Leak went over for Batley, but he didn’t get the ball down as he was just short .

3rd Batley try

2 minutes later Batley’s pressure paid off at Gilmour did a no-look pass and Hooley crashed over, successful conversion by Gilmore and we had a level game at 18-18.

4th Batley try

Just before the hour mark, “an opportunistic or one of the most baffling tries you will ever see” as a Batley player found Campbell out wide, he caught it and kicked it mid-air, a Rovers player near the line tried to get the ball, but didn’t get it and Campbell dived on it to score in the corner, unsuccessful conversion by Gilmore, but Batley led going into the final quarter.

After 64 minutes, it was the time in the 2nd half Rovers had attacked and they won back to back penalties and that passage of play ended with Kopczak being held up.

5th Rovers try

Two minutes later, Rovers went back ahead as Chisholm offloaded to Bussey who passed to Harrison who scored under the sticks, Chisholm successfully converted.

6th Rovers try

With 11 minutes to go, Rovers scored their 6th try and it was a brilliant one as Kopczak offloaded to Harrison who broke down the middle and he passed to Parata who ran and went over the line, successful conversion by Hall.

After 72 minutes, Campbell was away but he got ankle tapped.

Fulltime score: Featherstone Rovers 30-22 Batley Bulldogs

All I can say to that is Phew!   Featherstone had a shocking first quarter of a hour of the 2nd half, and I was sweating because I didn’t want them to lose already, but the boys came good eventually, and they not only progress to the 3rd round of the Challenge Cup, but automatically get a place in the semi-finals of the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup in May.

The draw for the 3rd round of the Betfred Challenge Cup was made at 9:55am on Monday morning (was meant to be 9:35am but technical issues delayed). It was made at Victoria Park Warrington by Dave Woods (the BBC’S rugby league correspondent who was calling the names out and Oliver Dowden (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport secretary).

Here’s how the draw panned out:

York City Knights v Wigan Warriors        (Championship v Super League)

Swinton Lions v Warrington Wolves           (Championship v Super League)

Hull Kingston Rovers v Castleford Tigers      (Super League v Super League)

Catalans Dragons v Wakefield Trinity               (Super League v Super League) 

Featherstone Rovers v Hull FC                        (Championship v Super League)

St Helens v Leeds Rhinos                                (Super League v Super League) 

Leigh Centurions v Huddersfield Giants        (Super League v Super League) 

Salford Red Devils v Widnes Vikings             (Super League v Championship)

So an interesting draw and the ties are due to be played over the weekend of April 9th-11th with 2 being shown on BBC, and the others will be on some platform.  It was announced on Tuesday that this is where the games would be shown:

Friday 9 April:
Hull KR v Castleford Tigers, 18:00 – Live on Our League (£4.95 EB & £10 on the day)
York City Knights v Wigan Warriors, 19:45 – Live on The Sportsman website, YouTube & Facebook

Saturday 10 April:
Salford Red Devils v Widnes Vikings, 12:30 – Live on Our League (£4.95 EB, £10 on the day)
St Helens v Leeds Rhinos, 14:30 – Live on BBC One (coverage starts 2pm)
Catalans Dragons v Wakefield Trinity, 17:00 – Live on BBC Two

Featherstone Rovers v Hull FC, 19:00 – Live on Our League (£4.95 EB & £10 on the day)

Sunday 11 April:
Swinton Lions v Warrington Wolves, 12:30 – Live on Our League (£4.95 EB & £10 on the day)
Leigh Centurions v Huddersfield Giants, 14:30 – Live on Our League (£4.95 EB & £10 on the day)

Can Featherstone cause a upset against Super League opposition?)

Highlights of the game are at this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eyqnshSiKPc

Next up for Featherstone Rovers is their Betfred Championship Round 1 opener against Batley Bulldogs (again) on Good Friday 2nd April 7:30pm on OurLeague.

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