SUPER LEAGUE Wakefield Trinity Wildcats needed a late try to secure a 22-18 win at Championship Featherstone Rovers in a hard-fought pre-season derby.
Rovers, playing downhill in the first-half, led 18-10 at the break, after holding a 12-point advantage at one stage, but full-time fitness told in the end.
The hosts were the better team for an hour, but Wakefield finished the stronger and two tries in the final quarter sealed the win – though it finished four tries each and only goal kicks made the difference.
In the opening period Rovers made the most of some handling errors and defensive errors from the visitors to score four tries, three of them in a six minute spell.
Impressive loose-forward John Davies went over for Rovers on seven minute to open the scoring after Craig Hall’s tackle prevented Ian Hardman from scoring and then Max Jowitt held Scott Turner up over the line.
Jordan Tansey converted his own try, after a one-two with Ashley Gibson, to give Wakefield the lead on 15 minutes, but Rovers were back in front seven later.
Jack Ormondroyd went close and Hardman nipped over from acting-half. Andy Bostock and Matty Wildie combined to carve out a try for Ormondroyd and then Misi Taulapapa touched down from Will Milner’s kick.
Anthony Thackery missed Rovers’ first two conversion attempts and Kieran Johnson managed just one out of two, so Wildcats were still in touch and they narrowed the gap through a solo try by Reece Lyne just before the interval.
He showed devastating pace and power to shrug off Johnson from a standing start just inside Rovers’ half, but Tansey could not add the extras.
Rovers went closest in the third quarter, through Thackeray, who thought he had scored only for referee James Child to award a drop out.
With the pitch cutting up, the game became a slog and both teams struggled to make ground and hang on to the ball.
Wakefield coach Brian Smith rested Liam Finn and Jacob Miller – who was unused on the bench – and tried Hall and Tansey in the halves.
With 17 minutes left Hall ‘s clever kick caused confusion in the Rovers defence behind the line and Tansey touched down, the same player’s conversion cutting the gap to two points.
Then on 75 minutes Hall broke down the slope and Jowitt, who had a good game, was in support to cross between the posts, Tansey’s conversion completing the scoring.