Bradford 18 Featherstone 37: Rovers stun Bradford as Hitchcox hat-trick bags points

Bradford Bulls coach 'James Lowes
Bradford Bulls coach 'James Lowes
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Jy Hitchcox grabbed a hat-trick as below-strength Featherstone climbed back into the Championship top four with a stunning 37-18 victory at leaders Bradford Bulls.

Rovers’ fourth straight success ended a run of 17 successive wins by the Bulls.

Despite being without both half-backs Gareth Moore and Paul Cooke, plus free-scoring winger Will Sharp, from the side which beat Hunslet 42-34, Rovers roared into a shock early lead and never looked back.

Twice quick hands from Leeds Rhinos’ loanee Thomas Minns sent winger Hitchcox over.

The Bulls hit back when James Mendeika scored after 15 minutes and Ryan Shaw added the first of his three conversions.

But Hitchcox completed his first-half hat-trick after the Bulls lost possession on their own 20-metre line before Reni Maitua broke free to score a fourth try.

With former Bradford favourite Paul Sykes converting three times the visitors savoured a shock 22-6 half time advantage.

Ben Blackmore cut in off of the wing and arced around Mendeika to increase the visitors lead, before Chev Walker grabbed his first try since a recent injury lay-off to give the hosts a glimmer of hope

But Sykes, who finished with six goals from seven attempts, added a penalty then Remy Marginet dropped a goal, before Andy Ellis an put the icing on the cake with another late try.

Mendeika claimed another late consolation for the well-beaten Bulls.

Bradford: Mendeika; Williams, Purtell, Henry, Shaw; Blythe, Addy; Clough, O’Brien, Sidlow, Olbison, Ferguson, Pitts. Substitutes: Halafihi, Fleming, Walker, Crossley.

Featherstone: Hardman; Blackmore, Sykes, Minns, Hitchcock; Milner, Marginet; Baldwinson, Ellis, Verlinden, Cording, Maitua, Spears, Substitutes: England, Cooper, Ormondroyd, Foster.

Referee: C Kendall (RFL).