On This Day: 14.07
Thirteen years ago today, on 13 July 2007, Hull Kingston Rovers gained their first victory on foreign soil – a 22-20 win over Catalan Dragons at the Stade Gilbert Brutus. It was Rovers’ first win in two months, and it signaled the end of a very difficult middle part of the season, which saw them record just two wins in 15 games. It was achieved without key injured players Mick Vella, Chris Chester and Paul Cooke.
Greenshields’ converted try early on put the Dragons ahead, but the Robins hit back in some style in the second quarter of the game. First, Mark Lennon scored from Scott Murrell’s kick down the left side, then Stanley Gene found a gap down the same side to dart through for a second. With the Dragons reeling, Ian Hardman scored on the opposite wing, quickly followed by a try Mark O’Neill that, with Lennon landing three conversions, put the Robins 22-6 ahead. Rovers were then grateful firstly to Ben Cockayne and then to Lennon himself for preserving that lead up until the interval – both producing magnificent last-ditch tackles to twice deny winger Khattabi in the closing stages of the first half.
But Khattabi scored first in the 49th minute and then again on the hour, as the Dragons pulled themselves back into the game. Fortunately, Bosc missed both conversions and, as the game went into the last quarter, the Robins had an eight-point lead at 22-14. By this stage, the Dragons were in complete control of the game, but Rovers were defending as if their lives depended on it. Jones managed to weave his way over the line for a try that Bosc converted to narrow the gap to 22-20, but Rovers hung on bravely to their two-point lead through the dying minutes, to record a vital win. It was the first of four wins in Rovers’ last eight matches of the season, which ultimately ensured their survival in Super League.
The Rovers team that evening was – Ben Cockayne; Ian Hardman, Luke Dyer, Rhys Lovegrove, Mark Lennon; Scott Murrell, James Webster; Ryan Tandy, Ben Fisher, David Ward, Jason Netherton, Mark O’Neill, Stanley Gene. Bench: Gareth Morton, Andreas Bauer, David Tangata-Toa, Makali Aizue.
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