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MATCH REPORT: Rovers secure cup win over Eagles

Snapshot: Shaun Lunt grabbed two tries. Sheffield kept scoreless after the break. Jamie Ellis kicked eight goals, including his 37th consecutive from the tee.

The Red and Whites booked their place in the Challenge Cup Fifth Round draw with a comprehensive victory over Sheffield at KCOM Craven Park.

Tim Sheens made just one change to the side that defeated Dewsbury the week before, as Ryan Shaw returned on the wing in place of Ben Cockayne. Liam Salter dropped out of the side which defeated Dewsbury, with Rob Mulhern making his first start of the season in the front row.

Rovers’ defence was given a stern examination in the opening ten minutes, as an energetic Sheffield side flew out of the blocks right from the kick-off. An early Simon Brown 40-20 led to Mark Mexico crashing over the line from close range, but a superb piece of scrambling defence by Adam Quinlan forced the big prop to spill possession on the line.

Aided by a strong breeze at their backs, the Eagles were soon back on the attack again after a big Matty Fozard 40-20 from dummy-half. This time Dane Chisholm sent Ben Blackmore over at the corner with a cut-out ball, but referee Jonathan Roberts ruled the score out for a forward pass.

After that tough start, the Robins’ response was swift and emphatic in its execution, as half-breaks from Andrew Heffernan and Shaun Lunt carried the Red and Whites down the field. Lunt then broke through from dummy-half, and although he was hauled down, Jordan Abdull’s dummy and strength saw him offload to Thomas Minns. The centre raced into the backfield and powered through three soft attempts at tackles to slide over and open the scoring.

Jamie Ellis tagged on the conversion, and five minutes later, Rovers were in again thanks to a sizeable slice of luck.

Good work from Quinlan, Shaw and Heffernan saw them return a loose Sheffield kick into good field position, and Lunt re-gathered a deflected grubber to dive over and score.

Ellis added the simple conversion, but Sheffield grabbed a score back when Ellis attempted a short inside ball to Quinlan but in a tight space, Chisholm picked off the pass and raced 65 metres to touch down.

Brown converted, but Rovers responded just six minutes later with a beautifully-executed scrum play 15 metres from the Sheffield line. The ball was quickly moved wide to Quinlan, and with dummy-runners cutting back inside him, the full-back dummied and accelerated around Eze Harper to stroll over untouched.

Ellis converted, but the half finished in scrappy fashion as Ben Cockayne was rather harshly dispatched to the sin-bin for a high tackle on former team-mate Jordan Cox, and Quinlan was helped off after injuring his shoulder. Then, to add insult to injury, Garry Lo beat Shaw to a Chisholm grubber to send the visitors into half-time on a high.

Half-Time: Hull Kingston Rovers 18       Sheffield Eagles 10

Starting the second period a man light, the Robins needed to manage the early stages of the half well, and they got off to the best possible start when an early penalty put them in a good attacking position.

James Greenwood’s strong carry saw him go close, and from that play-the-ball, Lunt sneaked over from dummy-half to grab his second of the afternoon.

Ellis converted to re-establish Rovers’ control over the contest, and after some smart kicking from Abdull helped them play out the remainder of Cockayne’s time on the sideline, the Robins set about putting Sheffield to the sword.

A monster of a bomb from Abdull’s boot was missed all ends up by Blackmore, and the ball bounced perfectly into the hands of an onrushing Maurice Blair, who simply had to fall over the line.

From the restart, the Red and Whites rolled easily down the field again, aided by big carries from Blair and James Donaldson. The latter’s quick play-the-ball allowed Abdull to rampage down the short side, pushing players out of his path before flicking the ball back infield for Cockayne to scamper over.

Ellis converted both scores before pushing through some soft defence to helping himself to a try five minutes later, after another lovely Abdull grubber forced Sheffield to drop-out.

The scrum-half kept his faultless kicking display going, before rounding off the scoring with his eighth goal of the day after Greenwood was in support of Ellis’s break to charge over, sealing Rovers’ progress into the Fifth Round draw.

Full-Time: Hull Kingston Rovers 48       Sheffield Eagles 10

Hull KR: 1. Adam Quinlan; 32. Kieren Moss, 3. Thomas Minns, 22. Andrew Heffernan, 5. Ryan Shaw; 16. Jordan Abdull, 7. Jamie Ellis; 8. Nick Scruton, 9. Shaun Lunt, 21. Rob Mulhern; 11, Maurice Blair, 12. James Greenwood, 15. James Donaldson.

Replacements: 2. Ben Cockayne, 14. Graeme Horne, 33. Ben Kavanagh, 10. Chris Clarkson.

Sheffield: 18. Ryan Millar; 2. Garry Lo, 3. Menzie Yere, 21. Eze Harper, 5. Ben Blackmore; 6. Simon Brown, 7. Dane Chisholm; 8. Scott Wheeldon, 9. Matty Fozard, 10. Mark Mexico; 11. Matt James, 12. Duane Straugheir, 13. Elliot Minchella.

Replacements: 15. Kyle Trout, 16. Sam Scott, 17. Jordan Cox, 19. Will Hope.

Referee: Jonathan Roberts            Attendance: 3,408

Photo: MATCH REPORT: Rovers secure cup win over Eagles