In a weekend that was littered with potential banana skins, including one which saw a top 4 Super League side dumped out by Championship opposition, Hull FC safely negotiated a tricky away game against Championship high-flyers Sheffield Eagles in the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup 5th round.
With Joe Westerman withdrawing on Saturday coach Lee Radford gave a competitive first team debut to Under 19s prop Bobby Tyson-Wilson from the bench and switched Jordan Thompson to Westerman’s position at loose forward and brought back injured pair Liam Watts at prop and centre Kirk Yeaman on the bench.
The game started with Hull’s forwards making big yards down the middle and the spirited Eagles fighting for every inch they earned and defending very strongly.
About halfway through the first half Mark Minichiello scored his first competitive try for the club since arriving on these shores, Jordan Rankin missed the conversion to leave Hull leading 4-0.
A few minutes later Mickey Paea crashed his way through the championship sides defence to score down the left hand side, Rankin was successful this time with his kick to move the black and white’s into double figures.
Shortly after that Steve Michaels was pulled down just short of the try line after making a break in the Eagles red zone, from the resultant play-the-ball Tom Lineham squeezed over in the corner and Rankin stretched the lead to 16 points with a majestic touchline conversion.
About 5 minutes before half time Leon Pryce made a fast break down the Hull right and slipped a pass to Jamie Shaul, who was one of four in support, and the full-back raced in unopposed under the posts, the goal from Rankin gave Hull a 22-0 lead at half time and effectively finished the game as a contest.
Half Time: Sheffield Eagles 0 Hull FC 22.
The 2nd half started with the Airlie Birds in casual mood with the game already sewn up and the Eagles in determined mood to avoid a hammering that their performance didn’t deserve and, as a result, the home side started a mini comeback.
The first points of the half came as Sheffield half back Cory Aston was controversially awarded a try despite dropping the ball over the line, the conversion from Dominic Brambani made it 6-22.
Soon afterwards giant centre Menzie Yere scored the Eagles 2nd try and brought them right back into the game, another goal from Brambani brought the Eagles back within 10 points of their Super League opposition and a comeback seemed possible.
With play fluctuating between one end and the other mistakes on both sides kept chances at a premium until Jordan Rankin produced a deft little kick which was jumped on by Yeaman for him to score on his first game back from injury, another goal by Rankin made it 12-28 to the visitors.
There was time enough left for Rankin to score as well as he made a break in broken field and finished off the scoring with his try and goal making it 12-34.
In the draw for the 6th round this evening Hull have been drawn at home against last year’s runners up Castleford Tigers which is due to be played on the weekend of 15th to 17th May.
Man of the Match: Jordan Thompson