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A round three Championship local derby pitted the Featherstone Rovers against the Bradford Bulls at Post Office Road as both sides sought their second win of the season and hoped to make a move up the league in its early stages.

Featherstone were slight favourites with the bookies due to home advantage but it wasn’t a foregone conclusion according to the bookies as Rovers are struggling to find the form which saw them top the table with ease last season.

It’s early in the season but this game was important for both sides and the result would go some way to showing their intent.

The Bulls had the first scoring opportunity, but the Rovers defence held firm, but Rovers quickly returned the ball and went close themselves.

Connor Carr opened the scoring on eight minutes as he took the outside ball from Kieran Gill to score in the corner for the Bulls, Jordan Lilley was wide with his conversion, but it was the dream start for Eammon O’Carroll’s side as they looked for their first win in Featherstone since 2015.

A brilliant break by Aiden McGowan saw him close to the line before being hauled down before the Bulls were given a penalty under the shadow of the Rovers sticks with the home side put on a team warning.

On the last tackle determination from the Bulls saw Kieran Gill score the Bulls second as he chased a grubber and grounded on the wet surface, and when Lilley added the conversion, Bradford had a 10-0 lead.

On thirty-one Bulls Hooker Mitch Souter was sin-binned for dissent as he questioned Scott Mikalauskas’ decision.

Two minutes from the interval Connor Jones grabbed one back for Rovers after an initial break from Brad England, Louix Gorman adding the extras to send his side into the interval trailing by just four points.

The Featherstone equalising try came on forty-eight when the Bulls defence opened up to allow Paul Turner stretch for the line and ground, Gorman was wide with his kick, the teams locked up at 10-10.

The first chance that the Bulls had to regain the lead, following a high tackle from Featherstone on Eribe Doro, was grasped with both hands as Lilley kicked the penalty goal for 12-10.

Carr added the third Bulls try on fifty-seven when McGowan went through a gap before passing outside to the winger to motor in. Lilley was wide with the conversion, despite having a teammate holding the ball stationary on the tee, the Bulls a converted try ahead.

A try conjured from nowhere saw Lilley pass to Chester Butler who crashed over for the fourth Bradford try of the afternoon on sixty-three and when Lilley hit the target with the conversion attempt the visitors had a twelve-point lead.

On seventy, the Bulls were given a penalty when Rovers were judged to be offside at the scrum, Lilley kicking the penalty goal for a fourteen-point lead.

Jones got his second of the game for Rovers with seventy-four minutes remaining as he used his momentum to slide over the line when taking a Gorman pass after the full back had confused the Bulls defenders. Gorman was unable to add the conversion, Featherstone still too far adrift.

This was a terrific win for the Bradford Bulls, not only to lift them up the table but also to show their intent for the season ahead as they downed one of the hopefuls for promotion, despite their current financial difficulties. Credit where it’s due, to the Bulls who went to Post Office Road as slight underdogs but with a game plan and led at the break despite playing up the hill in the first half. They redoubled their efforts in the second half for a stunning ten point victory.

Featherstone Rovers: Gorman (G), Wacokecoke, Minikin, Aekins, Gale, Turner (T), Jones (2T), Kamano, Bowes, Aydin, Hardcastle, Wallace, Addy. Subs: Tomlinson, England, Albert, Tennison. 18th Man: Wynne. 

Bradford Bulls: McGowan, Myers, Arundel, Gill (T), Carr (2T), Davies, Lilley (4G), Doro, Souter (SB on 31), Smith, Fulton, Butler (T), Hallas.  Subs: Appo, Wilson, Rogers, Ott. 18th Man: Peposhi.

Half-Time: 6-10.

Full-Time: 14-24.

Score Progression: 0-4, 0-8, 0-10, (SB), 4-10, 6-10 : HT: 10-10, 10-12, 10-16, 10-20, 10-22, 10-24, 14-24 :FT.

Lead Exchanges: Bradford – Square – Bradford.

Referee: Scott Mikalauskas.  

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Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sun 7th Apr 2024 4:50 PM | Views : 7563 | Replies : 0 | BACK TO STORIES