A COUPLE of moments of class from Martyn Ridyard ensured Featherstone Rovers avoided a Ladbrokes Challenge Cup upset at Doncaster.
The Betfred League One leaders were 14-10 up at half-time and 16-10 ahead in the third quarter before Ridyard created two tries in five minutes to edge the Championship outfit decisively in front.
Rovers were poor for much of a terrific fifth-round tie and the result was in the balance until they scored their fifth try four minutes from the end to seal a flattering 26-16 success.
A place in Wednesday’s sixth-round draw was was one positive for Rovers.
The other was a brace of touchdowns from Luke Briscoe which extended his try-scoring run to 14 matches, just three short of Eric Harris’ world record, set for Leeds in 1935-36.
It took less than three minutes for Briscoe to extend his scoring streak, the winger getting on the end of some quick hands from Matty Wildie, Tom Holmes and Misi Taulapapa.
There was no conversion, but that didn’t seem to matter when Briscoe scored again, ducking and weaving over from Anthony Thackeray’s pass.
Ridyard added the extras and with Doncaster giving away penalties and missing tackles, it seemed Rovers were on course for a comfortable win. They clearly thought so. After Briscoe’s second try the visitors became sloppy as Doncaster got their game together.
Charlie Martin twiced forced errors which led to tries.
On 14 minutes Aaron Jones-Bishop, a product of the Milford Marlins club and brother of Wakefield Trinity’s Ben, shrugged off Briscoe and sprinted 30 metres to the line, then Brad England barged over from close range – five minutes later – and Jack Miller landed his only goal of the half.
That levelled the scores and Doncaster went ahead 11 minutes before the break.
Jordan Howden kicked to Doncaster’s left-wing, Jones-Bishop did well to knock the ball back and his centre Jason Tali touched down.
Seven minutes into the second half Howden thought he had scored from his own kick, but referee Matt Rossleigh spotted a knock-on in-goal and then sin-binned the Doncaster half-back for delaying the restart.
Miller extended the League One side’s lead with a penalty goal, but Rovers finally put a move together – just before Howden returned – and Holmes went over from a pass by Ridyard, whose conversion levelled the scores.
That was on 56 minutes and four later Ridyard provided another with a looping, cut-out ball which was finished well by Shaun Robinson at the corner.
There was one more scare for Featherstone when Kieran Cross almost barged over after Doncaster kept the ball alive on the last.
Howden held Connor Farrell up over the line at the other end, but Farrell’s lovely pass carved out a second try for Robinson in the 76th minute and Ridyard’s conversion completed the scoring.
Doncaster: Sanderson, Jones-Bishop, Welham, Tali, Doherty, Miller, Howden, Boyle, Kesik, Scott, England, Martin, Wilkinson. Subs Spiers, Braham, Cross, Muranka.
Featherstone Rovers: Thackeray, Briscoe, hardcastle, Taulapapa, Robinson, Ridyard, Holmes, Cooper, Wildie, Moore, farrell, Davies, Lockwood. Subs Wheeldon, Brooks, Knowles, Carlile.
Referee: Matt Rossleigh (London).