Elland unable to tame Lions

Elland v Featherstone Lions'Challenge Cup   'Ben Hinsley scores
Elland v Featherstone Lions'Challenge Cup 'Ben Hinsley scores

Featherstone Lions wreaked more havoc on Calderdale’s Ladbrokes Challenge Cup hopes yesterday with a 26-14 victory over Elland in the third round.

The Lions, who go into Tuesday evening’s draw for the next stage alongside Halifax and Bradford Bulls, had previously beaten an out-of-sorts Siddal 31-12 at Brighouse last month.

As the scores suggest, Elland made a better fist of it, fronting up well after falling behind to one of the quickest tries in the history of the competition.

Lions crossed the whitewash after around 10 seconds and added the goal in bright and breezy conditions at Greetland Community Centre.

However, Karl Fairbank’s home side had a slight upper hand for much of the middle section of the game and led 14-12 after an hour, only for Lions to take advantage of a tiring home defence in the last 15 minutes.

The folly of allowing the ball to bounce on a dried-out pitch was quickly brought home to Elland.

There was indecision at the kick off and after two wicked bounces visiting scrum half Lewis Young was soon planting the ball behind the try line, adding the goal himself.

The Lions fans in a 300-strong crowd were already chanting ‘easy, easy’ but it wasn’t until late in the contest that they were able to repeat those words.

The home side’s big forwards, with loose forward Andy Shickell leading the way, helped Elland have a territorial advantage for much of the first half.

Lions looked to be playing within themselves and were coping comfortably until their defence stood off hooker Chris Cullimore on 19 minutes. He needed no second invitation to touch down five metres to the left of the posts.

Phil Taylor added the conversion and, following a flare-up which led to both sides being temporarily down to 12 players, he nudged Elland into an 8-6 lead with a 29th minute penalty,

Kicks were causing both fullbacks headaches but the home side’s James Marshall generally coped well.

Lions finished the half strongly and took a 12-8 lead with a little more help from Lady Luck. A post got in the way as an Elland player attempted to catch the ball and Josh Hardcastle cashed in, Richard Frankland adding the easy goal.

Lions had a try ruled out for offside after the break and home half-back Brad Radcliffe was then taken out off the ball - an incident put on report.

Elland drew level on 49 minutes when they moved the ball smartly to the right and Ben Hinsley went in close to the corner flag for an unconverted try.

A Taylor penalty for offside put Elland ahead on 54 minutes but Young replied to make it 14-14 on 64 minutes.

Elland’s efforts took their toll in the late stages and the writing was on the wall when the Lions runners started to break three or four tackles at a time.

Two tries in six minutes sealed the home side’s fate. Stand off Sam Candlin backed up well to poach the first of them and fullback Liam Jackson sealed victory from close range, Young adding both goals.