Featherstone Rovers aptly demonstrated why they are second only to Hull KR at the Big Fellas on Sunday, outscoring the Broncos three tries to six, and running rampant in a slick and coherent performance.
With all the makings of a strong start for the Broncos, Featherstone were reduced to 12 men in the early stages, when Anthony Thackeray was sin binned for tripping Api Pewhairangi. Cory Aston’s attempt at a penalty goal went far wide shortly after, and Jarrod Sammut went over on 13 minutes – evading all would-be defenders to dot down under the sticks in his 150th appearance in the British game.
He improved his own score shortly after.
Thackeray returned five minutes later, and made his impact instantly known – putting John Davies over the whitewash. Aston added the extras, for a level six a piece.
With just over ten minutes remaining in the first half, a cracking offload from Aston to Lockwood went on to Ulugia, and with a glaring gap in London’s line, he bagged himself his first four pointer of the afternoon. Aston failed to convert, but the home side took the lead for the first time.
Briscoe managed an impressive break to get Aston over in the final play of the half, and he improved his own score as the hooter sounded.
Presumably after a stern talking to in the sheds, London came back fighting on the resumption – Roqica was quick to punish a Featherstone error, re-gathering a loose ball on the last tackle, and storming his way over the line. Sammut added the extras.
Looking like it might be within reach for London with almost a full half remaining, a careful ten minute spell followed from the Rovers. Bostock barged over from close range on 51 minutes, and, in arguably the match clincher, Ulugia managed his double shortly after, sidestepping London’s defence to crash over in corner.
A late, but superbly impressive Cunningham score abated the Broncos’ woes somewhat – quick feet and a well timed jump saw Kear keep the ball in play seconds from going dead – Garside also flicked it on, Cunningham scooped it up, and darted through a gap in Featherstone’s line to go over.
Briscoe added insult to injury on 77 minutes – a glaring knock on was allowed by the referee, and he dotted down, before Aston added the two.
1. Ian Hardman, 2. James Duckworth, 3. Chris Ulugia, 4. Misi Taulapapa, 5. Luke Briscoe, 7. Anthony Thackeray, 31. Cory Aston, 10. Andy Bostock, 9. Keal Carlile, 32. Jordan Baldwinson, 11. Michael Knowles, 12. John Davies, 21. James Lockwood
Subs: 8. Darrell Griffin, 19. Matty Wildie, 16. Luke Cooper, 33. Mikolaj Oledzki
TRIES: Davies (18), Ulugia (29, 58), Aston (39), Bostock (51), Briscoe (77).
GOALS: Aston 7/10.
1. Elliot Kear, 2. Rhys Williams, 3. Ben Hellewell, 4. Adrian Purtell, 5. Keiran Dixon. 6. Jarrod Sammut, 19. Api Pewhairangi, 23. Matt Gee, 9. James Cunningham , 18. Ben Evans, 11. Daniel Harrison, 12. Matt Garside, 13. Jay Pitts.
Subs: 33. Lewis Foster, 22. Matt Davis, 10. Mark Ioane, 16. Junior Roqica
TRIES: Sammut (13), Roqica (43), Cunningham (68).
GOALS: Sammut 3/3.