Featherstone Rovers 14 Hull FC 34: Hull make no mistake in Challenge Cup

Part-timers Featherstone Rovers scored after just 52 seconds via Josh Hardcastle but Hull FC had no real issues thereafter as they comfortably secured a home Betfred Challenge Cup quarter-final tie with Wigan Warriors.

Saturday, 10th April 2021, 8:56 pm
Updated Saturday, 10th April 2021, 8:58 pm
Hull FC's Bureta Faraimo in action against Featherstone Rovers. (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)

Championship club Featherstone knew they could not die wondering tonight and that was obvious when they started the game by winning a planned short kick-off from Craig Hall.

It was from that that centre Hardcastle raced onto a chip over from Dane Chisholm early in the tackle count to get them off to a dream start.

However, Brad Day spilled in the restart set and Bureta Faraimo - called up for his first game of the season - immediately got Hull up and running with the first of their six tries as he raced on to Danny Houghton’s well-placed grubber.

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Hull FC's Jordan Johnstone scores their sixth try. (Photo by George Wood/Getty Images)

Ruthless Hull,capitalising on most of the hosts’ errors, were 34-4 ahead by the break courtesy of further tries from Josh Griffin (2), Carlos Tuiamavae (2) and - on his first appearance of the season - hooker Jordan Johnstone.

To their credit, though, Featherstone were much improved in the second half, pepped up by the arrival of Samoan half-back Nu Brown off the bench while offering far more resilience in defence and more control in possession.

ex-England second-row Brett Ferres, back from a ten day ban from breaking Covid protocols, scored his 100th career try from Brown’s fine grubber and James Harrison was held up after barrelling close.

Ben Blackmore did get over only to be pulled back for Ferres’ forward pass but the winger did get their third try when he claimed Dane Chisholm’s fine kick in the 67th minute.,

Chisholm improved but - despite keeping Hull scoreless in the second period - there was never any chance of a shock due to all the damage done in the first period.

Hooker Houghton was due to start on the bench for Hull but when Marc Sneyd pulled out with a dead leg he was promoted to the scrum-half berth with 18th man Joe Cator joining the replacements.

FC chief Brett Hodgson had already made a number of changes to his side who had opened the season - and his reign - with two Super League wins.

As well as Johnstone, Faraimo also came in for his first game of the campaignand youngster Ben McNamara earned a maiden appearance of 2021, too, for the injured Josh Reynolds.

As he showed when debuting last year, McNamara - son of Catalans coach Steve McNamara - delivered another composed, mature display to help the visitors build-up that impressive interval lead.

Featherstone needed to be pitch-perfect but Hall - their experienced former Hull FC and Hull KR full-back - made an embarrassing hash of Tuimavave’s harmless grubber to see the Kiwi centre cross for the first of his brace.

McNamara’s grubber set up Griffin’s first and the centre - who joins up for England training on Tuesday - added his second from Jake Connor’s assist.

Andre Savelio bumped off Chisholm twice and when Connor came back to that side, Tuimavave swatted him off the Featherstone half-back for a third time to score his second.

Chisholm was immediately replaced - he came back positively when he returned -and Johnstone scored a lovely try after putting on two runarounds near the line.

Hull would not score again after that 39th minute effort but it did not matter.

Featherstone Rovers: Hall; Gale, Welham, Hardcastle, Blackmore; Holmes, Chisholm; Halton, Parata, Harrison, Ferres, Day, McConnell. Substitutes: Brown, Cooper, Field, Moors.

Hull FC: Connor; Fonua, Tuimavave, Griffin, Faraimo; McNamara, Houghton; Taylor, Johnstone, Satae, Savelio, Ma'u, Lane. Substitutes: Cator, Fash, Bowden, Scott.

Referee: James Child (Dewsbury)