FEATHERSTONE LIONS 37 SOUTH WALES SCORPIONS 20
By Ian Golden at Mill Ponds Stadium
South Wales Scorpions were one of many clubs who lost to lower division sides in the Third Round of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup on Saturday.
In a day full of shocks where the home team won on each occasion, Kells from Cumbria beat Hemel Stags 12-6, Pilkington Recs from Cheshire beat London Skolars 13-0, Siddal from Yorkshire hammered Newcastle Thunder 30-4 and the Scorpions went down 37-20 to Featherstone Lions in Yorkshire.
History was also in favour of the home sides. The ties took place 107 years to the day since the Challenge Cup’s officially recognised first shock result when the professionals from Ebbw Vale travelled to face amateurs Beverley, from Hull, another of League’s traditional areas, and were beaten.
The Scorpions will now be able to concentrate on the league, which starts on Sunday 6th March when Keighley Cougars are visitors again to Virginia Park (kick-off 3pm). Keighley lost in their last game at Virginia Park and the Scorpions will hope history is on their side on this occasion.
Featherstone were deserved winners against the Scorpions. They missed an early penalty but took advantage of their next opportunity three minutes later when, following a penalty, John Hardcastle wrestled his way over for a well-taken try which Jackson converted.
Keiran Redfearn scored their second from another penalty, this time unconverted making it 10-0.
Scorpions’ Chris Davies was sinbinned and Lions took advantage when Rhys Dyas scored in the corner and Jackson converted.
Scorpions looked to fight back and got near to the line after a penalty but pressure forced a drop ball. They also forced a goal-line drop-out keeping up the pressure on their hosts.
It eventually counted. A trademark Dai Evans try in the corner gave them hope but Paul Emanuelli missed the kick leaving them still two tries short.
However the hosts went in 22-4 to the good after Joe Fox scored and Jackson converted on 33 minutes.
But Fox wasn’t on the field for much longer as he was sinbinned in a strange incident after he reacted to a high tackle, but Lions were given the penalty which Jackson kicked wide.
Lions started the second half well. After Scorpions didn’t well to keep out an attack, Dyas intercepted well to score an unconverted try.
Scorpions fought back. Chris Vitalini waltzed through a gap in the Lions defence and Emanuelli goaled, before a brilliant try from Evans catching the ball in mid- air and twisting round the defence to score. 26-14 on 52 minutes and the Welsh were back in it.
But Lions sealed things 10 minutes later after the Scorpions conceded two penalties and Dyas went over in the corner for an unconverted try.
Lions’ Dean Gamble added another which Jackson improved but there was still time for a Scorpions consolation after Rhys Davies picked up a loose ball to score with Emanuelli kicking the extras.
Gamble had the final say kicking a short range drop-goal with just a handful of minutes remaining.
1 Ian Jackson
2 Kieran Redfearn
3 John Hardcastle
4 Ricky Williams
5 Reece Dyas
6 Matthew Johnson
20 Sam Canadin
8 Adam Curtis
9 Dean Gamble
10 Sam Millard
11 Joe Fox
12 Gareth Gale
13 Richard Frankland
7 Dan Garahan
15 George Nuttall
16 Brendon Gibbons
17 Conor Walker
TRIES: John Hardcastle (7), Kieran Redfearn (11), Joe Fox (32), Reece Dyas (17, 44, 63), Dean Gamble (68)
GOALS: Ian Jackson 4/7
FIELD-GOALS: Dean Gamble (80)
15 Jordan Sheridan
2 Ian Newbury
3 Scott Gregory
4 Yannic Parker
5 Dai Evans
6 Kristian Hawkes
7 Paul Emanuelli
8 Chris Davies
9 Connor Farrer
10 Izaak Duffy
20 Anthony Symons
12 Tom Morgan
13 Chris Vitalini
14 Osian Phillips
17 Mike Connor
24 Zak Williams
27 Rhys Davies
TRIES: Dai Evans (25, 53), Chris Vitalini (48), Rhys Davies (75)
GOALS: Paul Emanuelli 2/4
Referee: Scott Mikalauskas