The first game in the sixth round of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup tonight was a superb tie, an all-Championship tie!
A few eyebrows were raised when it was announced that Sky would televise Featherstone against Halifax, but nobody can question that decision after a fantastic spectacle at Post Office Road.
From the go both teams were up for it, the pace of the game was electric and there were big hits aplenty. Not to mention the standard, with limited handling errors and numerous high-quality plays.
In a real blood and thunder affair, the intensity didn’t drop throughout and you would have been forgiven if you thought it was a higher end Super League clash.
It was a great win for Featherstone who showed great spirit in the face of adversity after game-ending injuries to Chris Ulugia and Luke Briscoe.
The first try had quality written all over it, centre-turned-second-row Ben Heaton crashing onto a superb pass from former Leeds and Hull KR man Scott Murrell.
It was the home side who were smiling at half-time though, tries from the impressive Jon Davies and Scott Turner combined with an Anthony Thackeray drop-goal saw Rovers lead 13-6.
The second half continued in the same vain, all 34 players putting their bodies on the line and Turner typified that as he miraculously got the ball down in the corner to open up breathing space.
Despite having a man in the sin-bin, Fax got back into the game after a brilliant individual try from Ben Johnston, but another Thackeray drop-goal and Josh Hardcastle’s four-pointer put the game to bed.
It was a 24-12 win for Featherstone in the end but the match was a win for the Championship as these two sides put on a great advert for the division.
From Halifax’s incredible goal-line defence that saved three certain tries, to the sheer speed and strength of Featherstone’s attack, encapsulated by Misi Taulapapa who was almost impossible to put down.
We have never doubted that the Championship has something to offer and tonight’s game emphasised that, it’s a massive shame this league is hidden from the rest of the world on a weekly basis.
Sky Sports please listen and give the Championship TV coverage!