Catalans claim dramatic win against young KR side

Catalans kept their top-three hopes alive with a nail-biting 20-19 win against a weakened and already promoted Hull Kingston Rovers.

Many had the game down as an easy away win on paper with several key players who helped the Robins secure promotion last weekend unavailable.

But in truth the Dragons were poor and struggled to break down a young KR side who were full of enthusiasm and for large parts of the second half looked like they would claim victory.

The French side had Luke Walsh to thank for victory as his touchline conversion with three minutes left won the game, but they still had to rely on Chris Atkin missing a penalty goal to win it for the hosts.

Rovers were captained by Ben Cockayne in his last ever home game but they didn’t get off to a good start as Walsh’s pin-point kick found Richie Myler who dived under the sticks.

This didn’t down-heart the home side though as they stayed in the contest, helped by Walsh hitting the post with a penalty kick inside the first quarter.

After 10 minutes of relentless pressure from the home side, the Dragons went up the other end and Walsh made no mistake with a penalty this time to extend the lead to 8-0.

That’s how it stayed until half-time with both team’s struggling to create openings with the ball when close to their opponents’ line.

Rovers needed the first score of the second half and they got it when a Matty Marsh high kick wasn’t dealt with and Chris Atkin offloaded out of the back for Will Oakes to score in the corner.

The offload from Atkin looked suspiciously forward, but referee Robert Hicks was happy with it as Zach Dockar-Clay added the extras to reduce the deficit to two points.

This gave the Robins confidence and they hit the front moments later as Atkin’s beautiful chip bounced perfectly for Cockayne who collected to score a fairy-tale try.

Dockar-Clay again converted to make it 12-8 and as the final quarter approached they scored again, George Lawler charging over the top of Lewis Tierney from dummy half.

Atkin took over kicking duties and made no mistake, it was 3 tries 11 minutes for the hosts as the Dragons stared down the barrel at a damaging defeat.

Minutes later Atkin kicked a drop-goal to make it 19-8 but the Dragons did finally register a second-half score as they threw the ball wide for Iain Thornley to score on his KR return.

Crucially, Walsh added the conversion to make it 19-14 meaning a converted try in the final eight minutes would win the game for the Perpignan club.

Predictably they came forward in droves and they got the all-important try as Walsh fed Brayden Williame to touch down, with Walsh nailing the conversion to put the Dragons 20-19 ahead.

However, there was still three minutes left and after claiming the short restart, KR won a penalty but Atkin was unable to kick the 40-metre attempt and Catalans escaped with the points in a nail-biter.

Hull KR: Cockayne, Moss, Salter, Abdull, Oakes, Marsh, Atkin, Kavanagh, Lawler, Mulhern, Horne, Greenwood, Clarkson. Interchange: Cator, Moran, Clark, Dockar-Clay.

Catalans Dragons: Tierney, Duport, Inu, Wiliame, Thornley, Walsh, Myler, Moa, Aiton, Bousquet, Anderson, Horo, Garcia. Interchange: Baitieri, Albert, Margalet, Navarrete.