The Wildcats suffered their first defeat of pre-season as a Jamal Chisholm hat-trick led Featherstone to victory.
An opening ten minute blitz at the start of the game did the damage as Rovers posted sixteen unanswered points through a Matt James try after just six seconds and a Chisholm brace.
Trinity responded through Dean Collis and Peter Fox before the break to reduce the deficit but Featherstone were full value for their victory and rubber stamped it with second half scores for Sharp and Chisholm’s third try.
Richard Agar named a strong side that included a first appearance for Luke Briscoe at left centre and saw Jordan Crowther and Max Jowitt on the replacements bench for the first time. Andy Raleigh featured after off-season surgery whilst Featherstone included a trio of former Wildcats in Gareth Moore, Andy Ellis and James.
Wakefield couldn’t have wished for a worse start when after just six seconds Richard Moore dropped the first pass of the game from the kick-off and James was the quickest to react as he gathered the ball on the slide and made it over the line.
That score was handed to the home side on a plate but there was no fortune about their second. A sweeping move through four pairs of hands created an overlap on the right and Ian Hardman fired a superb pass to Chisholm who scored in the corner.
There were just six minutes on the clock at that point and just three minutes later Chisholm and Rovers were celebrating again. Hardman poked his nose through a tackle, got the pass away to the flying winger who gathered well around his ankles before bumping off Mathers en route to the try line.
Trinity looked stunned at the blitz they’d be on the end of but recovered sufficiently to return with points from their first foray into the Featherstone half. Matty Wildie hung up a high kick that Sharp couldn’t reel in in the air under pressure from Fox and Collis was on hand to scoop up and dive over the line.
Featherstone were controlling field position as the teams began to ring the replacements after a glut of points in the opening quarter and on a heavy pitch it looked a struggle for Trinity to overturn the 12-point deficit. They made inroads just before the interval as Sykes fired a pass to Collis who showed real class to flick the ball on for Fox who had a clear run to the try line from 20 metres.
Running down the slope in the second half, Agar’s men were showing more intent the opening exchanges but it was Rovers who scored the first points of the half. Another well executed passing move put Sharp in the clear and the former Hull winger took Collis on on the outside, fending off the Australian on his way to the line.
As the pitch became increasingly heavy underfoot the Wildcats attacks became more laboured and Featherstone looked the more likely. Crowther and Jowitt made first team debuts just months after leaving school before Chisholm completed his hat-trick with ten minutes left on the clock to complete a deserved win for the home side.
Wildcats: Richard Mathers, Peter Fox, Dean Collis, Luke Briscoe, Reece Lyne, Paul Sykes, Matty Wildie, Richard Moore, Paul McShane, Taulima Tautai, Danny Kirmond, Lucas Walshaw, Danny Washbrook. Replacements: Daniel Smith, Ben Shulver, Chris Annakin, Kyle Trout, Bobbie Goulding, Jordan Crowther, Max Jowitt, Andy Raleigh.
Rovers: Ian Hardman, Will Sharp, Greg Worthington, Jamie Cording, Jamal Chsholm, Jack Bussey, Gareth Moore, Steve Crossley, Andy Ellis, Keegan Hirst, James Lockwood, Tim Spears, Matt James. George Flanagan, Matt Nicholson, Matty Dale, Liam Walmsley, Colton Roche, Luke Teasdale, James Mendeika, Josh Sunley, Jack Ormondroyd.
This is Wakefield. Together We Are Stronger.