Rover and out for Sharp’s men at Batley

Rovers centre Misi Taulapapa scored a spectacular try in Saturday's cup game at Batley. Picture: Carol Austerberry.
Rovers centre Misi Taulapapa scored a spectacular try in Saturday's cup game at Batley. Picture: Carol Austerberry.

Three times Challenge Cup winners Featherstone bowed out of this year’s competition with a 28-10 defeat at Batley Bulldogs.

Jon Sharp’s men led 6-4 at half-time in Saturday’s fifth round clash but they finished well beaten after they were sunk by four tries in a seven-minute second-half spell as the Bulldogs booked their place in the last 16.

Half-back Anthony Thackeray made his Featherstone comeback from the bench after being out with a facial injury but Rovers were disrupted by injuries to Scott Turner and Danny Craven during the game.

Featherstone, playing down the slope, edged the first-half at a sunny Mount Pleasant.

They recovered well after Batley took a seventh minute lead when Dom Brambani’s high kick set up a try for Shaun Squires.

Five minutes later, Misi Taulapapa’s try-saving tackle rescued Rovers as Alex Bretherton had an effort ruled out for a foot in touch after another high kick from Brambani caused the visitors problems.

Featherstone were unable to capitalise on a spell of pressure after Batley were penalised for high tackle on Bradley Tagg which saw the Rovers centre lose the ball over try line.

Rovers eventually levelled in the 23rd minute with a spectacular breakaway try from Taulapapa.

Pat Walker’s superb 40-20 gave Batley an excellent attacking position but from the resulting scrum Taulapapa stripped the ball from Dave Scott in a one-on-one tackle and raced 80 yards to score.

Rovers captain Tim Spears then had an effort ruled out before Batley’s Shaun Ainscough was thwarted by Kyran Johnson’s try-saving tackle at the corner.

On the stroke of half-time, Johnson’s penalty goal edged Rovers ahead after Batley were penalised for ball steal on Andy Bostock.

There was nothing to choose between the teams in the second-half until the Bulldogs took charge with a scoring burst that started in the 58th minute when Brambani sliced through Featherstone’s defence to send in 19-year-old James Harrison, son of former Rovers prop Karl.

Two minutes later Ainscough went in from Bretherton’s pass and Rovers quickly fell further behind when Brambani darted over.

Keegan Hirst then put in Cain Southerwood, with Walker adding the third of his four goals to put the game beyond Featherstone.

Thackeray created a 71st minute try for Jamie Cording but it was too late as the Bulldogs notched their first Challenge Cup win over Featherstone since 1933.

Batley Bulldogs: Scott; Reittie, Cowling, Squires, Ainscough; Southernwood, Brambani; Hirst, Blake, Brown, Day, Bretherton, Walker. Subs: Gledhill, Lillycrop, Leak, Harrison.

Featherstone Rovers: Hardman; Johnson, Tagg, Taulapapa, Turner; Milner, Craven; Bostock, Davies Ormodroyd, Cording, Spears, Roche. Subs: Thackeray, Griffin, Cooper, Blockley.

Referee: Gareth Hewer.