A resilient defensive effort from Hull KR denied the Wildcats a second win of the season in front of over 8,600 spectators at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium.
First half tries for Ben Cockayne and Andy Raleigh saw the home side trail by two points at the interval with scores coming for the giant Mickey Paea and Con Mika for the Robins.
In the second period the hosts peppered the Rovers line but Craig Sandercock’s men stood firm and even though they played ten minutes of the half a man light after Scott Taylor’s yellow card, tries for Josh Hodgson and Rhys Lovegrove earned them a courageous victory.
Richard Agar brought Oliver Wilkes into his starting line-up with Kyle Amor missing due to a broken hand with former Rovers back-row Frankie Mariano stepping up to the replacements bench.
Despite being named on the wing, Craig Hall played at stand-off for an unchanged KR who utilised Rhys Lovegrove on the wing and Scott Murrell in the back-row.
With the game only confirmed as going ahead just over three hours before kick-off, it was a boggy surface that greeted the two sides as they ran out to a bumper crowd.
First blood went to the visitors six minutes in as the Wildcats conceded a penalty close to their own line and on the second drive Paea battered his way over the whitewash.
Rovers were controlling things in the early stages but on the back of a first real foray into the opposition 20 metre zone on the back of a penalty, the try came for former Robin Cockayne.
Paea flew out of the line to put the hit on Wilkes who sidestepped it nicely and put John in the clear, and although the stand-off was hauled down 15 metres short the Wildcats remained patient and Washbrook gave the scoring pass for the winger.
The response from the visitors was immediate. The Wildcats were punished for hands in at the tackle and it was Michael Dobson’s floated kick on the last that was claimed by Webster who, under pressure from two men, flicked the ball out for Mika to flop over the line.
After a bright start for Rovers it was the Wildcats who began to feel their way into the game on the back of some indiscipline from the hosts.
Following a succession of penalties it was Tim Smith’s stunning bullet pass inside that found Raleigh who had a clean ten metre run to the line.
As John added the extras to bring the home side within a couple of points, Rovers fans looked on as their influential and talismanic scrum-half Dobson was taken from the field with a shoulder injury, an injury which kept him off the field for the remainder of the match.
The Wildcats pushed hard as the half wore on but couldn’t add another score and as the hooter sounded the end of the half they trailed by two points.
Trinity picked up where they left off as the game restarted with more indiscipline allowing them to pin the Robins in their own half.
When Rovers did venture forward it ultimately brought about a sin binning for Taylor. Cockayne diffused a high kick behind his own try line and as he raced to take the quick restart the prop tackled him clearly having not heard the referee’s call.
It provided Wakefield with the chance to make their pressure tell but their best opportunity went begging when Collis got the ball free from the tackle to Mariano who, with the line begging, knocked on to allow Rovers off the hook.
As Taylor returned and against the run of play, the Wildcats were guilty of some flimsy defence that allowed Josh Hodgson to race clear and score.
It was a hammer blow to the home side who had been so dominant territorially and in terms of possession but for Hull KR it was just the boost they needed after being camped on their own line for large periods.
It didn’t change the pattern of play instantly though, as the Wildcats continued to look for the hole in the Robins defence with the home side at one point having five successive sets at the Rovers line.
A combination of outstanding defence and Trinity occasionally looking to force the issue saw off the threat and Rovers landed the decisive blow shortly after.
A Hall restart found touch to give the Robins the scrum and from that platform Lovegrove charged his way to the line, although Richard Mathers was convinced he held his man up as the Australian rolled over the line to seal the win.
Attendance: 8, 612
Referee: Mr R. Hicks
Wildcats: Mathers, Fox, Collis, Mellars, Cockayne, John, Smith, Wilkes, Aiton, Southern, Kirmond, Lauitiiti, Washbrook. Replacements: Wood, Mariano, Johnson, Raleigh.
Hull KR: McDonnell, Hall, Webster, Welham, D. Hodgson, Murrell, Dobson, Clinton, Withers, Paea, Mika, Horne, Lovegrove. Replacements: J. Hodgson, Wheeldon, Taylor, Cox.
This is Wakefield. Together We Are Stronger.