Late drama again but Featherstone Lions lose out to Oulton Raiders

Featherstone Lions could not produce a repeat of their midweek Harry Houdini escape act in the semi-final of the Castleford Cup as they came up agonisingly short in an entertaining National Conference League game against Oulton Raiders.

By Tony Harber
Wednesday, 8th June 2022, 8:00 am

Where they had scored in the last seconds to force extra-time in the cup tie, this time they fell two points short in losing their Division One game 28-26.

The visitors started well, initially looking more at home than the Millpond regulars and raced into an early 12-0 lead from two converted tries.

Lions eventually got their own game into gear with some tenacious tackling to stem the breaks and offloads from the sizeable Oulton pack.

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Australian Mike Wise scores the second of his two tries for Featherstone Lions against Oulton Raiders. Picture: Jonathan Buck

The home side’s defence turned into attack midway through the first period as the returning Jack Townend’s try opened Lions’ account with a four-pointer in the corner.

With the conversion added the scoreboard gap narrowed even further on Featherstone’s next attack, Mike Wise crossing for a try, the result of Prash Veerasamy pressurising the Oulton winger into a mistake under a high cross-field bomb. Liam Kay’s extra two-points tied the scores up at 12-all.

The start of the second half saw Lions edge ahead for the first time. A strong break down the left flank saw Davi Garahan, who had a fine game, stride in for a converted try.

The second of a brace of tries for Aussie Mike Wise nosed Featherstone back into the lead in a see-saw second half where the visitors’ tit-for-tat scoring never enabled the home-side to establish any total ascendancy.

Jack Townend dives over to open the scoring for Featherstone Lions. Picture: Jonathan Buck

Oulton hit back to score another converted try only to see an excellent try from Sam Wilkinson-Pycock put Lions ahead 26-22. But there was to be no last minute heroics this time. Oulton’s resilience saw them score the match winner under the sticks, the conversion making it 28-26.

Despite some valiant late charges at the Oulton line, the visitors who will be in the mix at the end of the season for promotion, held out for a worthy win.

Lions can have no complaints, but can take many positives as the improving side goes from strength to strength in their NCL Division One campaign.

Featherstone Lions centre Davi Garahan races away for a second-half try against Oulton Raiders. Picture: Jonathan Buck

This Saturday they are away to Milford.

Hooker Harley Axe was a constant threat to the Oulton line. Picture: Jonathan Buck