Tom Lineham fired Hull FC to back to back victories with a spectacular hat trick of tries against Widnes Vikings at the KC Stadium last night.
At the end of a hectic period which has seen both these teams play 3 games in just 8 days this was not vintage stuff but it was a desperate performance in which the result was all that mattered as the race for the Super League top 8 hots up.
With 2 tired teams and a very poor performance from referee Richard Silverwood this game would have been instantly forgettable if it wasn’t for Lineham.
It took less than 10 minutes for Lineham to get his first try as Jamie Shaul spun out of a tackle with outstanding footwork and then produced a superb cut out pass to put the winger in at the right corner, Jordan Rankin missed the conversion but Hull led 4-0.
Soon after Hull had another chance with a 2 on 1 overlap but the pass by Shaul was knocked down by Patrick Ah Van to bring the chance to an end.
Shaul was proving a constant thorn in the side for Widnes as he kept turning up on Leon Pryce’s right shoulder and the understanding between these two and Joe Westerman was causing their left edge defence major trouble.
Another break down the right by Hull finished with Lineham trying to find Danny Houghton with an inside pass which was intercepted by former Hull man Aaron Heremaia.
Widnes first try came in controversial circumstances as a Kevin Brown kick was clearly knocked on by Ah Van but referee Silverwood allowed play to carry on and then after the next tackle Brown sneaked his way over to score, Jack Owens missed the conversion to leave the score at 4-4 after 20 minutes.
Seven minutes later Widnes scrum half Joe Mellor produced a grubber kick close to the Hull line but knocked on over the line as he followed it up.
Just two minutes after that near miss Widnes were pressuring the Hull defence again but this time Kevin Brown tried to throw a long pass to Ah Van and Lineham intercepted and raced 95 metres to the Widnes line for his 2nd try of the match, Rankin converted this time and the home side had a 10-4 lead.
Half Time Hull FC 10 Widnes Vikings 4.
It took just 7 minutes in the 2nd half for Hull to wrap up the points, Rhys Hanbury clearly hadn’t learnt from what happened in the first half and tried to throw a long pass to Ah Van, once again Lineham plucked the pass out of the air and raced 95 metres for his hat trick, again Rankin added the extras and Hull had a 16-4 lead which they never looked like surrendering.
With 13 minutes left to play Jordan Rankin produced a grubber kick close to the Widnes line, the ball was clearly aimed at the post padding and it had the desired effect as Kevin Brown was totally wrong footed and Jamie Shaul was quickest to react to follow up and score, Rankin’s kick made it 22-4.
A few minutes later Ah Van finished impressively in the corner and the video referee awarded him the try that his performance deserved but it was mere consolation, Owens missed the touchline conversion.
In the press conference afterwards Hull coach Lee Radford questioned some of referee Silverwood’s decisions saying they left him scratching his head at times particularly when a try to Jordan Rankin was ruled out and Widnes were given a penalty for a ball strip when it was clear for all to see that it was just a loose carry and drop by Widnes hooker Lloyd White.
Asked if he was tempted to rest any senior players for the Challenge Cup match away to Sheffield Eagles next week he replied “For who? The players who played tonight are the only fit ones we have left!”
Having said that he did suggest that some of the injured players look on course to return possibly for the Super League game against Huddersfield the following week including hopefully captain Gareth Ellis and scrum half Marc Sneyd.
Final Score Hull FC 22 Widnes Vikings 8
Man of the Match: Tom Lineham