After a sweltering week of sunny days the weather was slightly cooler with a gentle breeze as Salford and their supporters made the trip to Humberside.
The conditions and pitch were perfect for Rugby league with a tremendous atmosphere building prior to kick off.
Salford coach Paul Rowley made just one change with Joe Burgess replacing Rhys Williams on the wing.
Backed by a fanatical vocal following Salford ran out on to the pitch full of confidence following their recent form.
The Robins had new loan signing Tanguy Zenon at fullback after the Frenchman signed a short term loan deal from Catalans Dragons.
After a bright start of missed chances Salford failed to post points and lacked a little composure. Perhaps it was nerves and the pressure of expectation but the home side capitalised.
Rovers dominated territory and possession. They seemed determined and full of energy.
Ryan Hall powered over showing great strength to open the scoring. Rowan Milnes converted off the touch line, 6-0.
Salford struggled to contain their hosts and found it difficult to deal with the Robins swashbuckling style of play which included plenty of offloads.
Zenon was a real live wire and he linked up with Tom Opacic with the former scoring a fine try to extend the lead.
Elliot Minchella was sin binned for an altercation with Jack Ormondroyd leaving Salford with a man advantage in the closing stages of the first half. The Red Devils missed the opportunity and in fact conceded a try when Mikey Lewis caught them napping with a quick dart from a tap penalty. Ryan Brierley made the decisive tackle but from the next play Rovers grabbed their third try from a clever passage of play. Kane Linnett went over to give the home side an 18-0 half time lead to leave Salford with a mountain to climb.
The shell shocked Red Devils needed a very quick response and after Burgess sent Tim Lafai over the momentum of the match seemed to be shifting.
Youngster Amir Bourouh got Salford moving as the ruck speeded up and for the first time in the match Rovers looked vulnerable.
Shaun Kenny-Dowell is one of the most experienced players on the circuit and when his smart play turned defence into attack, he was on hand to pouch a shrewd Milnes kick to extend the lead 24-4.
Salford were now chasing the game and it’s fair to say it was drifting away from them at a speed of knots. The day was summed up when Burgess lost the ball behind his own try line before Dean Hadley snatched the try, 28-4.
The Robins were better in every department. Salford had no answer but did score the final try of the match when Burgess scored out wide.
It was a bitter pill for Salford and their supporters to swallow. Paul Rowley kept his press conference brief and you could see how disappointed he looked.
The Red Devils are back in action next Sunday at home to Wigan.
Sadly you only get one chance in the Challenge Cup and the supporters will have a long wait now until next season when the dream starts again. It’s a crumb of comfort at this moment in time but Salford still have plenty to play for in 2023. Improvements are needed though after todays performance!
Hull Kr 28 Salford 10.
Big thanks to Steve McCormick for the photos!