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In a repeat of the 2023 Challenge Cup Final, Hull Kingston Rovers were looking for revenge against a Leigh Leopards side who were hungry for a return trip to Wembley to relive the glories of last season.

Hull KR favourites, based on their great start to the Super League season, and they were handicapped by eight points on the coupon, but this was the cup and in the cup it is possible for anything to happen.

It was a full-blooded opening eight minutes with both sides setting out their intentions early in proceedings, Leigh having the better of the but it was the Robins who opened the scoring with Joe Burgess breaking the Leigh line on his own twenty and sprinting down the centre of the field to sidestep the full back and go in under the sticks. Mikey Lewis was unable to add the conversion.

On twelve minutes, fleet of foot from Kai O’Donnell saw the second rower through a gap to dove over the line and level the scores. Matt Moylan added the conversion to edge the Leopards into a two-point lead.

On twenty-three a wrestling match behind the Leigh sticks resulted in the ball being grounded by Hull KR but after a long video referee deliberation the on-field TRY was overruled by the video official.

With a minute left on the clock Leigh were gifted a penalty in front of the sticks after KR were offside. Moylan hit the target to extend the lead to 8-4, much to the disgust of the home supporters.

Five minutes after the restart a stretching Burgess grounded his second of the afternoon with a one-handed put down in the right-hand corner to level the scores. Lewis added the touchline conversion to edge the Robins into the lead.

The lead was extended with a superb try from Kelepi Tanginoa as he hit a Lewis inside pass at speed to score behind the sticks and give Lewis a simple conversion to put KR into a 16-8 lead.

Leigh were straight back at it on fifty-six with a left to right passing move ending with the ball finding the hands of Umyla Handley on the wing to cross unopposed in the corner. Moylan converted beautifully from the touchline to reduce the arrears to just two points. It was an end-to-end encounter.

The leading margin was back to six points on seventy as Niall Evalds stretched for the line under the tackle and grounded over the line. Lewis was wide with the conversion, KR leaving the door ajar for a late leigh fightback.

The game was over on seventy-nine as Elliott Minchella benefitted from some loose Leigh play as they tried to give the ball some air and chase the try they needed, a looking pass being intercepted by Tanginoa and passed back to the rampaging loose forward to go over. Lewis added the conversion, the Leopards eliminated from the 2024 competition.

The win for Hull KR to revenge last season’s final loss will serve as some recompense as the Robins progress to the semi-finals and find themselves one game away from Wembley for a second year running. It wasn’t plain sailing, and they didn’t have it all their own way, but they were the worthy winners who just had too much for a Leigh side who are struggling in 2024 after a sensational 2023.

Hull KR: Evalds (T), Burgess (2T), Hiku, Opacic, Hall R, May, Lewis (2G), Sue, Litten, Whitbread, Hadley, Batchelor, Minchella (T). Subs: Tennison, Tanginoa (T), Parcell, Storton. 18th Man: Aydin.

Leigh Leopards: Moylan (3G), Hanley (T), Hardaker, Leutele, Charnley, McNamara, Lam, Amone, Dwyer, Trout, O’Donnell (T), Halton, Hughes.  Subs: Nakubuwai, Norman, Davis, Chamberlain. 18th Man: Baxter.

Half-Time: 4-8.

Full-Time: 26-14.

Score Progression:  4-0, 4-4, 4-6, 4-8 : HT: 8-8, 10-8, 14-8, 16-8, 16-12, 16-14, 20-14, 24-14, 26-14 :FT.

Lead Exchanges: KR – Square – Leigh – Square - KR.

Referee: Chris Kendall.

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Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sat 13th Apr 2024 6:51 PM | Views : 6656 | Replies : 0 | BACK TO STORIES