Hull KR maintained their 100% start to the season but as in previous victories the robins were made to work very hard for this one. The victory also came at a cost with more players added to the injury list ahead of the long trip to 2nd place Toulouse on Easter Monday.
Despite been named in the original squad before the game, captain Shaun Lunt was missing due to a toe infection that had seen the energetic hooker hospitalised earlier in the week, coach Tim Sheens confirmed after the game the Lunt and Graeme Horne another absentee today will miss the trip to France.
Featherstone who also suffered upheaval to their squad, losing Ian Hardman and captain Masi Tualapapa prior to kick off caused the robins problems all afternoon, dominating the early possession but weren’t able to capitalise and the returning Adam Quinlan made them pay after three minutes when he latched on to a loose kick form Fev’s John Davies and sped 70 metres up field for the first score of the day. Jamie Ellis added the conversion.
Fev replied shortly after though when back rower Davies made up for his wayward kick to barrel his way over despite close attention from four robins defenders, On loan Leeds starlet Cory Aston tied the scores up with the boot. The tit for tat nature of points scoring as Chris Clarkson then barged his way over to restore the home sides lead, Ellis unable to convert. Aston though was successful shortly after with a penalty to cut the lead to 2 points. The robins extended the lead when good build up play from Quinlan found veteran Ben Cockayne on hand to score in the left hand corner to make it 14-8. Aston slotted another penalty to cut the lead to 4 and as the half drew to a close a Kyle Briggs break and pass resulted in James Duckworth going in at the corner after a fine step round Ryan Shaw. Aston failed with the extras so both Rovers went to the break on 14 points.
The robins opened up the 2nd period in control and it wasn’t very long before Ryan Shaw exacted revenge on Fev to touchdown out wide, Ellis missing the extras again. Fev seemed to settle back into the game and two Aston penalties levelled the scores again before ex Hull FC junior Anthony Thackeray scored the try of the game, as he sliced through a static robins defence to race 35 metres for Fev to take a four point lead. 18-22.
The lead disappeared in the next set as David Hodgson capitalised on a wayward offload to intercept and race away to score, which Ellis converted to take back control at 24-22.
The last 15 minutes saw the robins repelling a sustained attack from Fev who tried in vain to regain the lead but the result was put beyond doubt on 75 minutes when Fev failed to deal with a Jordan Abdull grubber that was eventually pounced on by Mr Reliable, Maurice Blair to wrap up a hard fought win. Ellis kicked the extras to make the final score 30-22.
The victory came at a cost as well, James Donaldson going lame with a knee injury after about 30 minutes and the recent returnee Danny Addy suffering another hamstring injury, as well as Lunt & Horne. Rovers will travel to France with a four point cushion over their hosts as Toulouse went down 30-16 to London Broncos today, so a defeat wouldn’t be too damaging to Sheens’ men but anymore injuries could be, so there will be some newer, younger faces in the Robins line up in France.