Rugby League: Battling Benson

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The Independent Online
Featherstone Rovers. . .8

Wakefield Trinity . . .22

WAKEFIELD TRINITY, without a win in the First Division this season, qualified for the Yorkshire Cup final by beating their Second Division neighbours, Featherstone Rovers, who were handicapped by the dismissal of their captain, Brendon Tuuta, before half-time, writes Dave Hadfield.

The busy promptings of Geoff Bagnall gave Wakefield the edge in the first quarter and a scamper from the acting half-back that saw him link with his fellow Australian, Peter Benson, could have brought an early try.

It looked as though Wakefield had wasted another Bagnall-inspired opportunity when Andy Mason dropped his pass in front of the posts, but the referee, Colin Morris, had already spotted a high tackle and Benson put Trinity ahead with a penalty. Another high tackle, this time by Leo Casey on Nigel Bell, gave Benson an equally simple chance and an offside in front of the sticks allowed him to make it a six-point lead.

A match which had promised good, hard rugby was developing into a penalty duel when another offside gave Martin Pearson his chance to put Featherstone on the scoreboard.

The boot of Rovers' Australian scrum-half, Brett Daunt, changed the pattern. His kick was seized by Ian Smales to put them level and Pearson's conversion put them ahead for the first time. Within three minutes, however, Featherstone captain Tuuta was sent off for a high tackle on David Jones.

Benson missed an easy shot at goal which would have put Wakefield level, but Billy Conway scored with a 30-yard solo try and Benson this time made no mistake.

Nigel Wright was within inches of a try that would have sealed the fate of a Featherstone that seemed to lack the craft as well as the numbers to stage a comeback but was penalised for a double movement after being stopped just short.

Tries from Mason in the last minute and Benson in injury time flattered Wakefield and confirmed their date with Sheffield Eagles on 18 October.

Featherstone Rovers: Pearson; Butt, Manning, Newlove, Simpson; Tuuta, Daunt; Casey (Burton, 32), Gunn, Taekata (Casey, 67), Rose, Fisher (C Booth, 64), Smales.

Wakefield Trinity: Spencer; Goddard, Mason, Benson, Jones; Wright, Bagnall; Thompson, Conway, Glancy, Bell, Eden (Lazenby, 68), Slater (Price, 40).

Referee: C Morris (Huddersfield).

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