9 Sep 2023

MATCH REPORT // Newcastle Thunder 22 v 56 Featherstone Rovers

Newcastle Thunder’s relegation from the Betfred Championship was confirmed following a 10-try defeat to league leaders Featherstone Rovers.

The visitors showed why they’ve been the benchmark club throughout the season with an emphatic display in the first half that saw them score five tries to Thunder’s one.

Wing Gareth Gale completed a 29-minute hat-trick with Mathieu Cozza and Craig Hall both dotting down before Thunder struck right before half time through Hull FC loanee Denive Balmforth.

Gale’s first of the evening came seven minutes in after some well-worked build-up play left the winger in space on the left to run in unopposed. Craig Hall landed the touchline conversion, 6-0 to the visitors.

In a similar score the first, Gale crossed for his second on 22 minutes and Hall once again added the conversion from out wide. Featherstone now led 12-0.

Featherstone would extend their lead with a score from close range. Mathieu Cozza powered over and with Hall converting once more the score stood 18-0.

Gale would earn his hat-trick on 29 minutes, despite the best efforts of the Thunder defence, he dotted down just before being edged into touch. Hall unsuccessful on this occasion, took the score to 22-0.

Featherstone would strike once more before the close of the first half through Craig Hall and with the winger converting his own score, it was 28-0 to Featherstone.

Right on the half-time hooter, Thunder would grab their first of the evening through Balmforth. The makeshift half-back broke the line in the defence, 20m before rounding the last defender to score.

Nikau Williams added the conversion to take the half-time score to 28-6 in favour of the visitors.

The onslaught of tries from Featherstone didn’t stop, with the away side firing right from the off in the second forty. With just 11 minutes played in the second half, they crossed for three tries through Elijah Taylor, former Thunder player Brad Day and Craig Hall once more for his second of the afternoon.

Hall added two out of the three conversions and took the score to 44-6 to Featherstone.

Thunder would reply through Gideon Boafo’s first try of the evening after an error from Featherstone left the winger space to run in.

Williams unsuccessful with the conversion on this occasion, 44-10 on 54 minutes.

Ellis Longstaff and Matthew Wildie would both cross for the visitors before close of play and with Hall adding another two conversions, the league leaders were 56-10 up with 16 minutes to go.

Thunder would add two more tries of their own in the last 10 minutes, Boafo crossing for his second on 70 minutes after a fantastic break from Paddy Burns before Nikau Williams added the club’s fourth of the evening.

Mac Walsh with an excellent break before an inside pass to the half-back who ran in under the posts. Adding the simple conversion and with the last score of the game, the fixture finished 56-22 in favour of Featherstone Rovers.


TRIES: Denive Balmforth, Gideon Boafo 2, Nikau Williams.

GOALS: Nikau Williams 3.



TRIES: Gareth Gale 3, Mathieu Cozza, Craig Hall 2, Elijah Taylor, Brad Day, Ellis Longstaff, Matthew Wildie.

GOALS: Craig Hall 8.

SINBIN: Dane Chisholm.