Woolston Rovers 6 Elland 20

WOOLSTON Rovers went out of the Tetley’s Challenge Cup at the first round stage when they were defeated by Elland in a high quality game that was played in very difficult conditions at Monks Sports Club on Saturday afternoon.

This was Rovers’ first outing under new head coach Lee Westwood, and despite being on the wrong end of the scoreline, there was some very positive performances from the boys in green and gold that gives genuine cause of optimism for the league season ahead.

Driving rain throughout the entire game meant that handling was extremely hard and this meant that scoring opportunities in the first half were at a premium.

Although Rovers had a couple of chances to open their account it was the visitors who took the lead deep into injury time with the last play of the half as loose forward Jack Fairbank found stand off Brad Radcliffe and he put full back Steven Brocklehurst over under the posts.

Scrum half Phil Taylor converted to give the Halifax side a 6-0 half time advantage.

Elland moved further clear six minutes into the second half when a handling error by Rovers on their own twenty-metre line gave them a scrum in a good position and the ball was whipped out wide to centre Richard Crawshaw who scored in the right corner.

Rovers hit back almost immediately with a fine individual try right out of the top drawer; winger Christian Taylor received the ball on his own forty-metre line and he broke clear before kicking ahead and he showed scorching pace as he flew past his opposite number to collect the ball and touchdown in the left corner.

Scrum half Danny O’Brien landed a fine touchline conversion to reduce the deficit to just four points.

Nine minutes before the end Elland caught the Rovers’ defence flat-footed as they switched the ball down the blind side on the last tackle and substitute Junaid Malik managed to stretch over wide out on the right to put his side two scores ahead at 14-6 and then three minutes into injury time Rovers dropped the ball and Crawshaw picked it up and raced thirty metres to score under the posts.

Prop forward Cayci Pearson converted to give Elland a very hard fought 20-6 victory and a place in the second round draw.

Best for Rovers were substitutes Andy Addison and Danny Griffiths along with hooker Warren Ayres, loose forward Lewis Hoarty and prop forward Danny Heaton.

Rovers: James Rosson; Lewis Stockton, Tom Keevil, Daniel Keogh, Christian Taylor; Billy Maunder, Danny O’Brien; Danny Heaton, Warren Ayres, Chris Mellor, Mark Jones, Sean Conway, Lewis Hoarty. Subs: Will Chadwick, Andy Addison, Danny Griffiths, Phil Stevens.