Salford Red Devils fell at the hands of Hull Kingston Rovers as the hosts ran out comfortable 52-22 winners on a disappointing afternoon at KCOM Craven Park.
A double from Junior Sa’u alongside further scores from Greg Johnson and Jake Bibby weren’t enough for the Red Devils to secure the points as the hosts proved far too hot to handle after producing a clinical 9 try display.
Salford made a bright start to the contest. First, Jake Bibby forced Junior Vaivai into touch to thwart an attack, before Tyrone McCarthy went agonisingly close to scoring after dropping the ball inside the in-goal area.
The Red Devils’ efforts were rewarded soon after though as Johnson collected a short ball from Robert Lui, before bulldozing himself over the whitewash, with just eight minutes on the clock.
Ed Chamberlain was making his first start for the club and marked the occasion after converting the resulting goal to give the Reds a deserved six-point lead.
The hosts soon responded though as Adam Quinlan picked out Ryan Shaw with a sublime looping pass, and the onrushing Shaw made no mistake to cross over in the corner.
Shaw then converted his own effort with a goal from the right-hand touchline to level the scoring.
Salford then built some momentum but would concede next, completely against the run of play. Lui attempted to keep the set alive after flicking Jake Shorrocks’ high kick into the path of McCarthy, but unfortunately, Quinlan was first to pick up the loose ball and raced 90m to score a stunning individual effort.
Danny Tickle kicked the resulting goal and Rovers extended their lead further five minutes later as Will Oakes finished off a well-worked team move in the left hand-corner, before Tickle added the extras to increase the margin to 12 points.
Things quickly worsened for the Red Devils as Danny McGuire’s kick bounced over Lui’s head to allow James Greenwood to ground the ball before it fell dead – Tickle then added the extras.
Two minutes later, the hosts were in again. This time, McGuire turned scorer and scooped up the loose ball after the ball had ricocheted into his path. Tickle then converted the resulting goal to take KR up to the 30-point mark.
Unfortunately for Salford, Rovers crossed over for their sixth effort just a minute later. After breaking down the right-hand side, Maurice Blair flicked inside to Joel Tomkins who finished under the sticks, before Tickle added the extras in the final point-scoring action of the half.
After the break, it was Salford who’d score next. Lui picked out Derrell Olpherts with a lofted kick before the latter offloaded to Junior Sa’u who surged his way over – Chamberlain was unable to land the resulting goal as the ball fell wide of the posts.
Hull almost claimed a sensational breakaway try, but a piece of heroic defending from Jake Bibby prevented Nick Scruton from touching down.
They weren’t to be denied for long though, two minutes later Shaun Lunt’s kick caused mayhem amongst the Devils backline, McGuire was quickest to react and dived over.
The hosts were in a ruthless mood and found themselves over again soon after. This time, Oakes claimed his second after the ball was worked out wide.
McGuire then threw a dummy which outwitted the Salford defence and allowed him to slide over under the sticks to compete his hat-trick. Tickle then added the conversion to take the hosts past the 50-point mark.
Salford responded with a consolation effort of their own as Sa’u pierced through the KR line to cross over, before Chamberlain landed the subsequent goal.
The Red Devils weren’t finished there though, some quick hands from Lui and Josh Wood helped forge an opening for Bibby to cross over in the corner, before Chamberlain added his third goal to take Salford past the 20-point mark.
Hull KR Lineup: Quinlan, Shaw, Blair, Vaivai, Oakes, McGuire, Atkin, Scruton, Lee, Tickle, Greenwood, J. Tomkins, Kavanagh.
Interchanges: Lunt, Masoe, Donaldson, Mulhern.
Salford Lineup: Chamberlain, Johnson, Bibby, Sa’u, Olpherts, Lui, Shorrocks, Tasi, Wood, Mossop, Lannon, McCarthy, Flanagan.
Interchanges: L. Tomkins, Burke, Murray, Jones.
Hull KR Scorers: Tries- Shaw (14’), Quinlan (21’), Oakes (27’, 55’), Greenwood (32’), McGuire (35’, 50’, 58’), J. Tomkins (37’) | Goals- Shaw (15’), Tickle (22’, 28’, 33’, 36’, 38’, 51’, 59’)
Salford Scorers: Tries- Johnson (8’), Sa’u (44’, 60’), Bibby (77’) | Goals- Chamberlain (9’, 61’, 78’)
Referee: Gareth Hewer.