The Robins welcomed Warrington Wolves to the Lightstream Stadium with their hopes of the Top 8 hanging by a thread. Both teams were desperate for the two points, as Wire looked to keep pressure on Hull FC at the top, whilst Hull KR looked to mount one final push for the Top 8’s.
The game kicked off, and Warrington enjoyed the majority of the early possession by forcing several repeat sets, only for a crunching James Donaldson tackle to dislodge the ball from Westwood’s grasp and let the Robins off the hook.
After soaking up the pressure, the Red & Whites set about threatening the Warrington defence. Blair’s strong run saw him fend off two tackles before darting downfield, with no men in support; the makeshift Stand-Off was forced to take the tackle from Ratchford. Lunt was at dummy-half to produce a kick to the corner for Sio to chase, which King knocked on to present Hull KR with their first chance to post points, only for Thornley to knock on during the first tackle of the fresh set.
From the knock-on, Warrington then earned a penalty for holding down, which gifted the Wolves easy metres downfield. From the penalty, Warrington worked the ball out to the left, where Sandow’s grubber to the in-goal area put it on a plate for Penny, only for the Winger to drop the ball in the act of scoring.
Another Rovers mistake gifted Wire with more field possession, and almost become very costly, if not for Sandow’s forward pass when Matty Russell looked certain to score.
More scrambling defence from the Red & Whites and a nice kick return from Joe Wardill earned Hull KR a penalty. From the penalty, James Green took a strong tackle from former Robin Jordan Cox. Green offloaded but Cox appeared to have made contact with his head, which in turn resulted in the big Hull KR prop throwing punches and sending Cox to the floor.
After much debate between the match officials, Green was shown the red card whilst Cox was allowed to stay on the pitch, but to the amazement of the home fans, the penalty was given to Hull KR.
That penalty made Warrington pay the price, as a fantastic flat ball from Lawler allowed James Donaldson to collect the ball and dart under the posts for the first try of the game on the stroke of half-time.
HT: Hull Kingston Rovers 6-0 Warrington Wolves
The controversial call to reduce Rovers to twelve men but allow Warrington to remain with thirteen was clearly going to play a part in the second half, however, it was the Red & Whites who struck first just five minutes after the break.
Kelly’s fired pass allowed Chris Clarkson to produce a step and break the line, with only Ratchford in his way, the Second-Rower slipped a neat offload out the back to Thomas Minns, who strolled in at the corner. Cockayne’s conversion attempt drifted wide, which left the score at 10-0 in favour of the Robins.
The ten-nil lead was soon cut, as Wire shifted the ball from right to left where they utilised the extra man. Evans allowed Russell to break down the wing as the scrambling defence came across to stop him, but Blair’s attempt could not hold the Winger up as he crashed over in the corner.
Ratchford’s conversion went wide, but he slotted the next one over just minutes later when Brad Dwyer fooled the Hull KR defence to scoot over beneath the posts, fending off some tired-looking defence.
With the game now evenly hanging in the balance and time running out, many felt that whoever scored next would snatch the two points. Lunt prevented a Sandow drop-goal on one attempt, but the Wolves went for the try on the next chance, and they got it as Patten broke the line and flicked an offload out to Currie, who had a clear run to the try line.
Ratchford added the conversion to make it 16-10 and it appeared that Warrington had snatched the two points, but Hull KR had other ideas, as a fantastic leap from Albert Kelly saw him collect a short restart and present Hull KR with one final chance to snatch a point from the jaws of defeat. The Wolves held out until the last, where Kelly’s kick was patted back in to the arms of Thornley, where he kicked ahead and was quickest to react by collecting the loose ball and touch it down next to the uprights. Cockayne coolly boomed over the conversion to see the two sides share the points thanks to a gritty and gutsy performance from Hull KR, who were a man down for more than half the game.
FT: Hull Kingston Rovers 16-16 Warrington Wolves