Challenge Cup: Hull KR 26-18 St Helens
Hull KR (16) 26
- Hall 2, Paea, Eden, Salter
- Dobson 3
Saints (6) 18
- Gardner, Wellens, Percival
- Makinson 3
Hull Kingston Rovers continued their Craven Park hoodoo over St Helens by dumping them out of the Challenge Cup in a see-saw fourth round encounter.
The victory, a fifth in six unbeaten home games against Saints, was aided by Francis Meli's first half dismissal for a high tackle on Craig Hall.
Rovers' tries came from Hall [two], Mickey Paea, Greg Eden and Liam Salter, while Michael Dobson kicked six points.
Ade Gardner, Paul Wellens and Mark Percival ran in Saints' scores.
Tommy Makinson kicked three goals for the visitors.
It marks the first time since a replay defeat by Wigan in 1995 that Saints have failed to make the fifth round.
Rovers' foundations for victory were laid by a flying start in the sunshine, with repeat sets deep inside Saints territory eventually paving way to the opening try.
Paea's drive was just held up, as was Travis Burns, but eventually the visitors were breached when Salter slipped an inside ball to Eden and his cute grubber was tracked by Hall for his first try.
Saints were handing possession back to the hosts with a string of errors, and were almost punished when Josh Hodgson bombed a try when he failed to gather Kris Welham's pass.
Gardner's shoulder charge on Welham ensured another set for Rovers, and Paea took advantage, taking Josh Hodgson's inside ball to power over for a second score.
That try appeared to rouse Saints, who inspired by the lively Lance Hohaia at hooker showed their attacking threat.
Some basketball-style handling to keep the ball alive saw the ball moved from right to left and back again, with Hohaia, Jon Wilkin, Sia Soliola, Stuart Howarth and Jordan Turner all combining to play in Gardner on the right for a try.
But just as Nathan Brown's side were imposing themselves, Meli's high shot on Hall saw him dismissed and the gap left on the Saints left was exploited soon after.
Hall finished it, but it was a left-right move through several hands that ensured the hosts would hold a 10-point lead at the break.
Despite the numerical disadvantage, the visitors' response after the break dragged them ahead for the first time.
Wellens' opportunist gather and spin in goal after Eden fumbled Wilkin's grubber narrowed the deficit, and owed much to Percival and Makinson for creating the position.
Percival's score, again the product of neat hands across to the right put Saints in front, but the pendulum swung again soon after.
Firstly Eden missed out on a try for a knock-on by Hall, but from a repeat set for an initial infringement by the visitors, the full-back's dummy created a gap that he raced through to score and regain the lead.
There was no let up in the intensity, or the heat as players perspired but Eden was alert and sharp enough to pick out Salter with a little lateral chip that was gathered by Salter who held off Turner to score and ensure the Robins' progress.
VIEWS FROM THE DRESSING ROOM
Hull Kingston Rovers coach Craig Sandercock:
"This club holds the Challenge Cup in pretty high standing and to get a win against a great side like St Helens is very pleasing.
"I was concerned when Saints got in front. That first 10 minutes after half-time we were very sloppy but there is some character in this team. The young kids rolled their sleeves up and in the end I thought we deserved to win.
"Craig [Hall] has got some whiplash and he's in some discomfort. He needed to stay on because Kris Welham came off with a shoulder problem and so full credit to him."
St Helens coach Nathan Brown:
"I don't think he [Richard Silverwood] had much choice. Franny's a very clean player - he's rarely penalised at all.
"It was just a reflex action and that can happen when you're out wide as an outside back defender when there's big spaces.
"It was a great effort to get to the front with 12 men. It was just unfortunate, with the incident that happened, that we couldn't hang on.
Hull KR: Eden; Hall, Welham, Salter, D. Hodgson; Burns, Dobson; Paea, J. Hodgson, Walker, Lovegrove, Paterson, Griffin.
Substitutes: Mika, Carlile, Beaumont, Green.
St Helens: Makinson; Gardner, Turner, Jones, Meli; Howarth, Wellens; Laffranchi, Hohaia, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Puletua, Soliola, Wilkin.
Substitutes: Clough, Greenwood, Walmsley, Percival.
Referee: Richard Silverwood [Dewsbury]