Featherstone’s fairytale cup run ended on Friday after a 32-16 loss at home to Wigan.
The Rovers, still high on the momentum from beating Castleford in the previous round, gave the cup holders a heart attack when they went 10-6 up after a quarter of the game, and looked to go into half time ahead.
Wigan struggled to adapt to the wet conditions at the Big Fellas Stadium, conceding three significant errors in the opening half.
Jeff Lima knocked on in Wigan’s very first set of six deep in their own half but Rovers failed to capitalise on the field possession they had been gifted.
Sean O’Loughlin took advantage of Kyle Briggs being out of position with the first try of the match. Brett Finch’s pass found the Wigan captain who dived over the Rover’s try line inside the first four minutes.
The home side forced errors from the visitors but failed to take their chances until the 19th minute when Tommy Saxton scored following Anthony Gelling’s lost ball. Wigan were caught short on the Rovers’ left side allowing Saxton to score.
From the kick off Wigan were penalised for being offside and Featherstone went ahead thanks to Ian Hardman. Late in the tackle count Liam Finn’s kick flew over the Warriors defence into space for Hardman to touch down.
Being behind on the scoreboard sparked Wigan into life and Darrell Goulding equalised for the Warriors after simple passing between players in the cherry and white hoops.
Wigan thought they had taken the lead in the 32nd minute, but the video referee ruled out the try. Ian Smith declared that Gareth Hock had obstructed the Featherstone defenders, and wiped off the Warriors try.
Featherstone looked certain to go into half time ahead, but Hock had other ideas. His break came on the back of O’Loughlin’s pass, and Hock’s ferocious run next to the posts sent the Warriors into the half time break 16-12 up.
Rovers were dealt a blow when Tommy Saxton was forced to leave the field with a suspected groin injury early in the second half, but it took the Warriors until the 52nd minute to stretch their lead. Thomas Leuluai grounded the ball cleanly in Wigan’s second consecutive set on the Rovers try line, and Josh Charnley’s conversion extended Wigan’s lead to 10 points.
However Featherstone brought the game back to within reach after Liam Finn’s controversial one-on-one ball steal. Finn raced three quarters of the field but was brought down by three chasing Warriors. The Rovers threw the ball wide to Gareth Raynor, who scored in the corner.
Raynor was penalised for obstructing Anthony Gelling on the Rovers line, and this gave Wigan another set of six. Charnley collected a looping pass to score in the opposite corner, and put Wigan back to 10 points ahead.
Gelling thought he had scored with nine minutes remaining, but the replays proved the winger had knocked on over the Rovers try line.
Tempers nearly flared as the game reached its conclusion, but Hock put any thoughts of a miraculous comeback to bed with his second try just before full time.
Featherstone scores: Tries – Saxton, Hardman, Raynor. Goals – Finn 2/4
Wigan scores: Tries – O’Loughlin, Goulding, Hock, Leuluai, Charnley. Goals – Tomkins 1/2, Charnley 2/3
Featherstone: Hardman; Raynor, Smeaton, Worthington, Saxton; Briggs, Finn; Haley, Kaye, Dickens; Lockwood, Spears, Hepworth. Subs: Kain, Moloney, Grayshon, England.
Wigan: S.Tomkins; Charnley, Goulding, Hughes, Gelling, Finch, Leuluai, Prescott, McIlorum, Lima, Hansen, Hock, O’Loughlin. Subs: Mossop, Farrell, Tuson, Lauaki.
Half time: 16-12
Referee: Richard Silverwood
St Helens won 76-0 ‘away’ to Oldham at Langtree Park.
The Roughyeds’ home tie had to be moved away from the Whitebank Stadium due to a lack of facilities, and Saints took home advantage.
Jonny Lomax put the Saints ahead after four minutes, and the ‘visitors’ never looked back.
Clough, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Jones, Soliola, Makinson and Wellens all scored tries before half time. Meli added to Oldham’s woes with a second half hat trick as Lomax and Jones grabbed their second, while Shenton and Magennis posted tries to extend St Helens’ lead.
Jamie Dallimore was sin binned for a cannonball tackle early in the second half, as a scoreless Oldham failed to get on the score board.