London Broncos finally surrendered their unbeaten home run at Trailfinders Sports Club as they were knocked out of the Challenge Cup by Featherstone Rovers.
London handed a debut to Papua New Guinean star Israel Eliab, who got his first taste of British rugby league in a cold and windy affair.
The hosts started well and led 10-0 after twenty minutes following tries from Elliot Kear and Alex Foster.
Rhys Williams was next to go over the whitewash as he continued his impressive scoring form in Broncos’ colours, after he teamed up with Eliab and Kear to squeeze in at the corner.
With halftime approaching, the hosts looked to be in a comfortable position and were keen to attempt more offloads as they continued to exert pressure on the Rovers’ defence.
That proved to be their undoing though, as one went astray, falling into Featherstone hands.
Ian Hardman benefited as he secured the visitors’ first points of the evening.
After the break the momentum changed as Featherstone began to assert more dominance at the ruck.
Jack Ormondroyd scored and fellow sub Sam Day was able to nip over from a play the ball near the line to give the Rovers the lead.
A Danny Craven 40-20 gave the West Yorkshire side the field position in order to build on their lead through.
Hardman cut into the line from fullback before barging his way through the Broncos’ cover.
Kyran Johnson scored for Rovers, who appeared to be home and dry, with London only able to offer reposts through Alex Foster and William Barthau.
Featherstone’s ascendancy continued as they piled on the points through Scott Turner and Hardman, who went on to add three more tries to his tally in what coach Andrew Henderson described as a disappointing performance.
“We were defensively very good for the first half and then the game turned when they scored before halftime and they got their tails up.
“I spoke to the boys at the break, and told them that we’d given them a sniff and we knew that Featherstone would come out with plenty of intent and purpose.
“That wasn’t the London Broncos we’ve become in this early part of the season, the way we capitulated defensively in that second half was very disappointing. I felt we gave away too many penalties and too much field position.
“We had some players who performed well. Andy Ackers did eighty minutes at hooker and Jon Magrin made a good effort. We’ll be looking to bounce back against Bradford on Thursday and for the Featherstone game on Monday”.
Featherstone return to Trailfinders Sports Club sooner rather than later as they come back to the capital on Easter Monday. It promises to be a mouth-watering clash against two of the divisions leading sides. Can the Broncos get revenge? Book your tickets here.
London Broncos: Alex Walker, Rhys Williams, Ben Hellewell, Elliot Kear, Iliess Macani, Israel Eliab, Scott Leatherbarrow, Jamie Thackray, Andy Ackers, Jon Magrin, Daniel Harrison, Alex Foster, Matt Davis
Interchange: Barthau, Bussey, Offerdahl, Everett
Broncos Tries: Kear (6) Foster (16, 60), Williams (29) Barthau (69)
Broncos Goals: Leatherbarrow 3/5
Featherstone Rovers: Ian Hardman, Kyran Johnson, Michael Channing, Liam Blockley, Scott Turner, Danny Craven, Anthony Thackery, Darrell Griffin, John Davies, Andy Bostock, Jamie Cording, Tim Spears, Bradley Knowles-Tagg.
Interchange: Sam Day, Luke Cooper, Jack Ormondroyd, Colton Roche.
Rovers Tries: Hardman (34, 52, 65, 72, 77) Ormondroyd (42) Day (48) Johnson (57) Turner (63)
Rovers Goals: Johnson 6/9