Hull Kingston Rovers played with great spirit to defeat Warrington Wolves 26-18 at Headingley this afternoon in the Challenge Cup semi-final, despite going behind within just over a minute when they allowed the Warrington kick-off to go dead and then conceded a try to Ryan Atkins to go 6-0 down with Gareth O’Brien’s goal.
Soon afterwards the Wolves were called back when Richie Myler went clear for a forward pass from Ashton Sims, and from that point onward the Robins gradually fought their way back into the game.
They scored their first try by Josh Mantellato on 24 minutes from a superb assist by Kieran Dixon, although Mantellato couldn’t add the conversion.
But two minutes later they took the lead when Ken Sio ran on to and collected a high kick from Albert Kelly to touch down in the corner, and this time Mantellato added the touchline conversion for the Robins to lead 10-6.
And when Warrington forward Chris Hill flopped on Albert Kelly, Mantellato converted the penalty for a 12-6 interval lead.
And they extended their lead on 47 minutes when Kevin Larroyer touched down, with the video-referee overturning referee Richard Silverwood’s decision not to award the try. Mantallato kicked the goal and then converted a second penalty to give Rovers a 20-6 lead after 52 minutes.
But Warrington hit back with tries by Richie Myler and Ben Currie, both of them converted by O’Brien, to close the gap to two points.
Both sides made mistakes as the game entered the final 15 minutes, but it was Hull KR hooker Shaun Lunt who grabbed a try for his team that proved to be the matchwinner with just five minutes remaining, and Mantellato’s goal ensured that the Wolves would be unable to mount a comeback.
A full report, photos and analysis will feature in Monday’s edition of League Express.