York City Knights and Featherstone Rovers will meet in the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup Final at Wembley Stadium on Saturday 17th July after edging out Swinton Lions and Widnes Vikings in two enthralling Semi-Finals.
The Rovers will make the trip to Wembley for the first time since their famous 1983 Challenge Cup Final upset victory over Hull FC while York will end a 90-year wait to play again at Wembley with their only appearance to date coming as losers in the 1931 Challenge Cup Final against Halifax.
Featherstone found themselves holding on in the closing stages against Widnes with the Vikings spurning two late chances to potentially take the game to Golden Point Extra-Time.
The Rovers started the game in blistering form racing into a 16-0 lead after just 11 minutes. Back-rower Brad Day crashed over after just five minutes before doubling his account for the afternoon just three minutes later. Craig Kopczak barged his way over shortly after.
However, Widnes proved their resilience and finally got on the board after 30 minutes thanks to Steve Tyrer. Adam Lawton would soon follow with Widnes’ second of the game to close the gap to four points.
But Featherstone hit a killer blow on the stroke of half-time as Nu Brown broke 70 metres from inside his own half before finding a supporting Frankie Halton who finished to give James Webster’s side a ten-point lead heading into the interval.
Lawton managed to fend off four Featherstone defenders for his second of the game just prior to the hour-mark but a Craig Hall penalty goal nudged Rovers six points in front. Simon Finnigan’s outfit pushed hard to find a late try but Shane Grady was tackled as the ball went wide before Jake Spedding and Deon Cross had a miscommunication on the right-hand side with Widnes’ final attack of the game.
York and Swinton played out a back-and-forth first half with the hosts going into the break narrowly ahead, 18-12, thanks to tries from Liam Salter, Marcus Stock and Ryan Atkins. Mike Butt and Ronan Michael scored Swinton’s first half efforts within six minutes of each other.
James Ford’s side started the second half quickly with Kriss Brining going over before Danny Kirmond extended York’s lead. However, a second try of the afternoon from Butt closed the arrears to 14 points with 20 minutes left to play.
Halfback Mikey Lewis would pounce on a loose ball and race 90 metres to score with 11 minutes remaining to seal a Wembley berth for York. Butt completed his hat-trick late on, but it was too little too late for Stuart Littler’s side.
AB Sundecks 1895 Cup Results:
Sunday 6 June
York City Knights 36-22 Swinton Lions
Featherstone Rovers 24-18 Widnes Vikings