Challenge Cup: London Broncos 24-12 Featherstone Rovers

Kieran Dixon

London Broncos (0) 24

Dixon 2, O'Callaghan, Dorn 2
Witt, Gower

Featherstone Rovers (4) 12

Hardman 2, Kain

London Broncos ensured there would be no Challenge Cup romance for Featherstone Rovers, after bouncing back to win at the Twickenham Stoop.

Rovers, led at half-time through Ian Hardman's try.

However the Championship side conceded five second-half tries, including braces from Kieran Dixon and Luke Dorn along with Jamie O'Callaghan's score.

Hardman and Andy Kain both crossed for Rovers in the second half.

Broncos, 1999 finalists, have now reached the fifth round in the last four seasons.

Featherstone, who eliminated near-neighbours Castleford at this stage in last year's competition, were looking for another Super League scalp.

They made a bright start, with Steve Crossley held up in the first quarter of an hour, and eventually Hardman wriggled through a gap in the Broncos line to put Rovers on the scoresheet.

Whatever was said by London coach Tony Rea at the break eventually worked, as England hopeful Dixon showed his first glimpse of class with a simple score after Ben Fisher created the platform.

O'Callaghan then snared Michael Witt's high ball to put London in front but Hardman added a second for Rovers after Tommy Saxton made a break.

Two quick scores from Dorn, one prompted by Witt's grubber and the other teed up by O'Callaghan, gave the home side a two-try cushion, but the deficit was again reduced when Kain broke the line for Featherstone.

Dixon, however, had the last word when he touched down after a fine ball from Craig Gower released him in space for his 16th try of the season.


London coach Tony Rea said:

"We could easily have rolled over and lost the game in the first half as we were not playing well. But our defence was outstanding and that was hugely important to us.

"We showed the attitude and character to hang in there and turn it around, which really pleases me. We realised we had to earn the points if we were going to come out on top.

"All credit to Featherstone, though - they gave us exactly the type of contest I thought they would and they were a credit to the cup competition."

Featherstone coach Daryl Powell said:

"It was definitely a missed opportunity from our point of view. I didn't think there was anything between the teams really, but we lacked that cutting edge that could have made the difference.

"We had them under a lot of pressure in the first half but we could not come up with the points.

"Even though it looks a close game, I think it was even closer than the scoreline suggested. Obviously I am disappointed, but I am also a very proud coach that we ran a Super League side so close."


London Broncos: Hurst; M. Robertson, O'Callaghan, Grady, Dixon; Witt, Gower; Bryant, Lee, Wheeldon, Cook, Bailey, Kaufusi.

Replacements: Lovell, Fisher, Dorn, Dollapi.

Featherstone: Hardman; Hellewell, Hepworth, Worthington, Saxton; Kain, Finn; England, Kaye, Crossley, Lockwood, Spears, M. Dale.

Replacements: Bostock, Bryan, Briggs, Ellis.

Referee: Thierry Alibert (RFL)

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