Wolves Find Cup Revenge

Category: Heritage

Wolves Find Cup Revenge

On this day ….. 30 May

Eleven years ago today, on 30 May 2009, a classic Challenge Cup quarter-final tie at Craven Park saw Rovers’ hopes of a Wembley final dashed by a sudden-death, golden-point drop-goal from Lee Briers five minutes into extra time of a thrilling end-to-end contest. The Wolves win avenged Rovers’ famous 40-36 cup victory in 2006, when as a National League side, Rovers knocked out the high-flying Wolves at the quarter-final stage.

In glorious sunshine, Rovers took the lead inside three minutes when Peter Fox took Paul Cooke’s superb long pass and sent Kris Welham over under the posts for Michael Dobson to convert. But Warrington had levelled by quarter time, and for the next 20 minutes both sides had to defend desperately to keep out waves of attacks, and somehow the score remained at 6-6 until half-time.

It was the visitors who scored first in the second half, with Rovers fans screaming for a forward pass is King put Clarke in for the score. But that was only the signal for Rovers to burst into action with back-to-back tries from Clint Newton and Ben Galea, both converted by Dobson, to make the score 18-12 to the Robins. Rovers then extended their lead to 10 points on the hour with a brilliant try. Scott Murrell fooled the defence by shaping to kick on the last tackle, slipping the ball instead to Daniel Fitzhenry, who took advantage of the visitors’ hesitation to burst through before passing inside to Dobson, whose pinpoint pass out wide to Jake Webster sent the Kiwi over for a fantastic score. But King then scored from Briers’ kick, and Bridge finished off a powerful burst by Morley to give the visitors a 24-22 lead. It took a Dobson penalty for Rovers to deservedly level the scores just before full-time, and for the first time in their history, Rovers went into sudden death extra-time.

By this time the heat had taken its toll on the players, some of whom were out on their feet, and control of the ball and field position were crucial. Unfortunately, it was the extra big-match knowhow of the Wolves that came to the fore, and Briers settled the tie with his fourth drop-goal attempt. It was cruel on the Robins, who had played a full part in a tremendous cup-tie, but as coach Justin Morgan remarked, ‘it is cup rugby, and you have to have a winner.’ Needless to say, neither coach was entirely happy with their team’s performance, but no-one could fault the Robins’ effort. The Wolves advanced into the semi-finals, and went on win the cup by beating Huddersfield 25-16 at Wembley.

The Rovers team that day was – Shaun Briscoe; Peter Fox, Jake Webster, Kris Welham, Liam Colbon; Paul Cooke, Michael Dobson; Nick Fozzard, Ben Fisher, Clint Newton, Stanley Gene, Ben Galea (capt), Scott Murrell. Bench: Makali Aizue, Dan Fitzhenry, Scott Wheeldon, Chev Walker.

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