Hull FC 21 Castleford Tigers 18, Airlie Birds Keep Destiny In Their Own Hands With Breathless Victory Over Tigers

A very young Hull FC took a big step towards qualifying for the much coveted Super League top 8 with a stirring comeback win against Castleford Tigers at the KC Stadium.

Teenager Brad Fash was drafted into Hull FC coach Lee Radford’s match day squad in place of captain Gareth Ellis for this Super League clash with the in-form Tigers who arrived on the back of a five match winning run.

Chris Green also returned in place of the suspended Mickey Paea and Richard Whiting came into the starting line-up having come off the bench in the victory over Wakefield Trinity Wildcats the previous week.

The first opportunity was presented to the visitors as a deep kick from Marc Sneyd went into touch on the full giving the Tigers a scrum 30 meters from the home sides line but an organised defence from the black and white’s easily repelled the resulting attack.

A soft penalty then presented the Tigers another opportunity and eventually a fast move from left to right saw Denny Solomona finish spectacularly in the corner in the 6th minute, Liam Finn was unable to add the touchline conversion to leave the score at 0-4.

Another Castleford attack started as Solomona made a break in midfield but he was dragged down just short of the line by a desperate Hull defence and the overlap on the left wing was wasted with a nothing kick that Justin Carney was unable to gather in front of the line.

The Airlie Birds then marched menacingly to the other end with a significant break from Steve Michaels and eventually Leon Pryce sent Richard Whiting over with a deft little pass in the 11th minute, Sneyd then gave Hull the advantage with a successful conversion to make it 6-4.

Suddenly Hull were taking the game to their opponents and throwing the ball around with confidence and thought they were in for another try but the final pass to Joe Westerman was deemed forward by referee Joe Cobb less than 20 meters from the Tigers line.

Castleford were gifted another opportunity when Jordan Rankin spilled a high bomb giving them a 10 meter scrum and they took full advantage as Luke Dorn pounced to score from close range to give the visitor’s the lead in the 18th minute, this Finn obliged with the extra points to give them a four point lead again.

Another opportunity was squandered by the Tigers after a penalty for a ball-steal gave them territory but as they attacked down the left a forward pass put paid to the chance.

Both teams seemed intent on knocking lumps out of each other and a series of bone crunching tackles were clearly having an effect but still no quarter was being asked or given at either end.

Castleford pressed the Hull line again and once again Solomona  got in at the corner as Hull’s defence just simply ran out of men after a fast move from the middle to the right, once again Finn was unable to add the extras but the Tigers were looking good value with an eight point lead.

Hull then attacked just before half time and Tom Lineham seemed to have a perfectly legitimate try but referee Cobb controversially disallowed it after consulting with his touch judge to leave the Airlie Birds with a two score deficit going into the half time break.

Hull started much the livelier in the 2nd half and were unlucky in the 42nd minute when a pass intended for Lineham just evaded the winger and went into touch.

However the home side soon put that disappointment behind them three min utes later as Jordan Abdull crashed over despite the attentions of three Tigers defenders to get Hull back in the game, the conversion from Sneyd brought Hull back within two points.

Hull were looking more aggressive and willing to chance their arm and another attack soon after saw Danny Houghton held up over the line by desperate Tigers defence.

Lineham got the try he deserved in the 59th minute as a cross-field move as fast as a Ferrari formula 1 car allowed the flying winger to provide a spectacular finish in the corner to give Hull a two point advantage, Sneyd was unable to add the extras from the touchline to leave the score at 16-14.

A mistake in defence by the Tigers when trying to stop a Pryce offload in front of the line gave the Airlie Birds a 10 meter scrum but a knock on wasted the chance after a push at the scrum.

The table then turned as Finn put a high bomb up and Michaels knocked the ball into touch 10 meters from his own line under intense pressure from Solomona.

However the Tigers were unable to take advantage as Hull’s superb scrambling defence held them at bay until a kick over the top was caught on the full by Lineham behind the Hull line.

Hull then split the Tigers defence again in broken field as Rankin scampered through after shrugging off two defenders and, as he slipped in front of the line, had the presence of mind to look outside and see Lineham waiting to scoop up his pass and crash over in the 69th minute, Sneyd was off-target again with the conversion to leave Hull with a six point lead.

Sneyd then came back to haunt his old team with a drop goal in the 71st minute to leave the Tigers needing two scores.

Castleford suddenly found their vigour again and started pushing the home defence with a desperate looking attack but their captain Michael Shenton wasted another chance with a knock on 10 meters from the line under intense pressure.

Hull’s halves Sneyd and Pryce and captain for the day Houghton were causing the Tigers all sorts of problems especially in broken field and the kicking game of Sneyd and Houghton was  constantly turning them round and sending them scuttling back.

However a controversial penalty for Castleford after Solomona had been bundled into touch by the Hull defence led to a chance attack and half back Ben Roberts reached out to score in the 76th minute, the kick was missed by Finn to leave Hull leading by three points.

Try as they might the Tigers couldn’t break down a resilient Hull defence again and after a frantic closing few minutes a soft penalty for Hull finished the game for a much deserved win for the black and white’s and send them into next weekends crunch derby match against Hull KR at the KC Lightstream Stadium with back-to-back wins.

Radford confirmed afterwards that Hull have an appeal hearing on Tuesday about Mickey Paea’s ban which effectively rules him out of the game against his former employers as things stand.

He also said that influential back row Mark Minichiello and captain Gareth Ellis look likely to play against their cross city rivals as they both look to overcome niggling injuries.

Penalties: Hull 5 Tigers 6

Man of the Match: Richard Whiting

Attendance: 10,949

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Hull FC 31 Wakefield Trinity Wildcats 24, Airlie Birds Gain Measure Of Revenge For Midweek Defeat With Scratchy Performance

Hull v Wakefield pictureHull FC moved back into the top 8 of Super League with a thoroughly unconvincing, but priceless win.

Coach Lee Radford brought winger Tom Lineham back in to replace Curtis Naughton on the right wing and teenager Jack Logan replaced the injured Kirk Yeaman as the black and white’s went in search of revenge over Wakefield Trinity Wildcats for the defeat at the Rapid Solicitor’s stadium on Wednesday.

Feka Palea’aesina also returned to the squad in place of Dean Hadley for the Super League Round 19 game while Leon Pryce and Marc Sneyd brought their combination back together at the expense of Jamie Shaul and Jordan Abdull with Jordan Rankin returning to his favoured full-back position.

The Wildcats got the first attacking opportunity when skipper Gareth Ellis dropped the ball in Hull’s first set giving the visitor’s a scrum 15 meters from the line and they duly took full advantage with the opening try inside two minutes from Matty Ashurst, former FC half back Jacob Miller then added the extras to give them a 0-6 lead.

The pouring rain then seemingly caused another mistake as Wakefield knocked-on from the kick off giving Hull a scrum close to their line and they struck straight back in the 5th minute as Joe Westerman touched down a grubber kick by Sneyd under the posts, Sneyd then obliged to bring the scores level.

The visitors then forced another mistake from Hull and got a scrum 30 meters from the Hull line but the chance was wasted as a forward pass on the 20 meter line gave the Airlie Birds a chance to regain possession from another scrum and clear their lines.

Hull forced another chance as Logan made a break in mid-field and then passed to Ellis but the captain was held up over the line, eventually another chance forced a goal line drop out.

Hull attacked again from the drop out but  a chance went begging as the ball was dropped 10 meters from the Wakefield line despite the rain having stopped by this point.

Another bomb from Sneyd then forced another chance as the Wildcats knocked on again 10 meters from their line but the opportunity was blown with a forward pass on the first tackle giving them easy possession back.

An attack from Hull then saw possession surrendered embarrassingly easily and former Airlie Bird Jordan Tansey kicked ahead twice and eventually dropped on the ball beside the posts to give the Wildcats the lead again in the 22nd minute, the goal from Miller made it a six point difference again.

To their credit Hull came back straight away again as an inside pass from Steve Michaels put Logan over in the 25th minute wide on the left hand side however Sneyd missed the conversion to leave them trailing by two points.

Hull then invited Wakefield to attack when giving away a soft penalty for offside which Miller put into touch 20 meters from the home sides line and then, after being awarded another penalty, the visitors opted to go for the kick at goal and Miller obliged to stretch the lead to four points in the 30th minute.

Hull were then given a similar opportunity from a penalty for offside which Sneyd planted into touch 20 meters from the visitors line and after four tackles a fast cross-field move put Michaels in at the corner in the 34th minute to bring them level again, the touchline conversion from Sneyd hit the post and bounced out.

A knock on at the play-the-ball from the Wildcats afforded the black and white’s another chance with a scrum 30 meters out and the resulting attack saw Setaimata Sa held up over the line and then a grubber kick from Sneyd caused a mistake by the visitors which gave them a goal line drop out but a lack of creativity meant Hull were unable to break down the defence again. However Hull were given a penalty as the half time hooter sounded 30 meters out and Sneyd gave the home side a two point lead going into the break.

The Wildcats kept Hull waiting before coming back out for the second half to a chorus of boo’s from the Old Faithful.

Hull had the first meaningful attack of the half but a challenge for a high kick led to a knock on which gave the visitor’s chance to clear again.

The next attack however in the 45th minute led to a try as the Wildcats defence made a hash of clearing another Sneyd grubber and teenager Logan pounced for his 2nd try of the afternoon, the conversion by Sneyd stretched the home sides advantage to eight points.

Another attack by Hull promised much again but then after being awarded a penalty Liam Watts dropped the ball on the first tackle 10 meters out.

The Wildcats then struck back through another former Hull player after Rankin made a hash of clearing a grubber kick and Reece Lyne took advantage to bring his side back into it in the 49th minute, the conversion from Miller reduced the deficit again to two points.

In the bright sunshine both sides were attempting to be more expansive and an impressive side-stepping run from NRL bound prop Mickey Paea produced a magic moment as the ball was moved swiftly to Rankin for the full-back to make up for his previous mistake and score in the corner to make it 26-20 in the 55th minute, Sneyd again missed the touchline conversion.

However Hull again invited the Wildcats down to the other end and Tom Johnstone scored an easy try in the right corner as Hull’s defence ran out of men in the 58th minute, the touchline conversion from Miller was wayward to leave Hull leading by two points.

The game continued in its topsy-turvy fashion and Hull were presented with another opportunity after they forced a scrum 30 meters from the visitors line but the opportunity was lost because of a lack of direction and then Johnstone cleared as he took Sneyd’s kick almost out of Michaels hands.

After another attack by the visitor’s Hull suddenly swept down-field as fast as a Powerboat on the Humber Estuary as Rankin raced through the middle and then passed just at the right moment to give Michaels the chance to finish spectacularly in the left corner in the 64th minute, another miss from the touchline by Sneyd left the score at 30-24.

The next visit to the opposition end of the field saw Hull force the third goal line drop out of the game and a quick set-up led to a drop goal from Sneyd in the 68th minute to leave the visitor’s needing to score twice.

Johnstone kept making an impressive impression on the game with his darting runs, natural pace and genuine confidence but on his next break he was squeezed out into touch by a fast moving home defence.

Once again Hull were looking telegraphed on the last tackle and although they showed some imagination at times this was being far from a vintage performance as their attacking frailties and lack of execution in vital areas, which had seemingly been banished just six weeks ago, now looks to be back with a vengeance in the last few weeks.

Radford said afterwards that Ellis was ruled out for 4-6 weeks on Thursday but had sent him a text saying not to rule him out and that he wanted to take a fitness test which then led to him being drafted back into the match day team having been left out of the original 19 man squad.

He also said that Mark Minichiello could possibly return from injury for the visit of Castleford Tigers to the KC Stadium next week, however Kirk Yeaman has been ruled out for 4-6 weeks.

Penalties: Hull FC 8 Wakefield 4

Goal Line Drop Outs: Hull FC 0 Wakefield 3

Man of the Match: Gareth Ellis

Attendance 9,558

Hull FC 6 Leeds Rhinos 24, Airlie Birds Dumped Out By Cup Holders With Dismal Display

Hull FC exited the Challenge Cup with an abysmal performance at home to holders Leeds Rhinos as their attacking frailties came back to haunt them in their biggest game of the season so far.

Coach Lee Radford brought Jordan Rankin back in at full-back in place of Jamie Shaul and Tom Lineham returned to the right wing in place of Curtis Naughton for his first appearance since announcing he will leave the KC Stadium at the end of the season for Warrington Wolves.

Kirk Yeaman also returned after injury and Setaimata Sa was replaced by Steve Michaels at centre at the 11th hour while Jordan Abdull started in place of the suspended Marc Sneyd.

The game started at a frenetic pace as both sides leapt out of the blocks in front of a passionate crowd and some thunderous tackles increased the tempo early on.

The first try arrived fortuitously for the Rhinos as Joel Moon picked Rankin’s pocket to scramble over in the 6th minute, the conversion from Kevin Sinfield gave the cup holders a 6-0 lead.

Hull’s first real period of pressure on the visitors line came courtesy of a dropped ball and a smart move and grubber kick led to full-back Zak Hardaker having to knock the ball dead for a goal line drop out but eventually the Rhinos were able to clear their lines.

At the other end a knock on by Yeaman gave the visitors another attacking chance but a nothing grubber kick wasted the opportunity.

The black and white’s were showing plenty of encouragement but once again chances were being wasted because of poor execution.

A penalty for offside 45 meters from the posts was converted by Sinfield in the 19th minute to stretch the lead to 8 points.

Another dropped ball by Leeds gave the home side another attacking scrum 30 meters from the Rhinos line but the opportunity was spurned when the normally ever reliable Mark Minichiello failed to take a pass in with the line open.

Another penalty gave Hull another chance to put pressure on the Leeds line but a ridiculous pass by Joe Westerman gave Danny Houghton no chance of taking the ball in front of the posts and another chance was gone.

The Rhinos forced a goal line drop out and another attack ensued which ended with a harsh penalty but Sinfield was unable to add the two points from the touchline and Hull swept down-field to create another opportunity which went begging as Lineham was held on the last tackle after a bomb by Leon Pryce.

The Rhinos were gifted another chance as Westerman dropped the ball in his own half two minutes before half time and then another penalty came their way from referee James Child for a ball-steal and this time Sinfield obliged from the touchline to take them into double figures heading into the break.

The rain that had been tipping down through the first half had stopped by the time the teams took to the pitch for the start of the second half which would hopefully allow for a more expansive game.

The first mistake of the half came from Jordan Thompson as the Hull man dropped the ball 20 meters from his own line to give the Rhinos the first attack of the halfand inevitably Kallum Watkins took full advantage to shrug off some weak tackling and stretch out to score in the 43rd minute, the conversion from Sinfield made it a 16 point advantage for the men from Headingley.

Another penalty for a ball-steal was gratefully accepted by Sinfield near the halfway line but this time his kick fell just short and struck the woodwork to give Hull some precious possession.

A rare penalty for the Airlie Birds was kicked into touch to give them another attacking opportunity but another dropped ball by Westerman gave Leeds another chance to breathe with a relieving scrum.

Leeds were not doing anything startling but they were doing the basics well and continually frustrating the hosts who’s attack seemed to have gone back to its disorganised ways that had caused so many failures earlier in the season.

Hull’s one outlet was the kicking game of 19 year old half-back Jordan Abdull which kept turning the opposition round.

Frantic defending near their own line by Leeds afforded Hull another opportunity as a pass from Houghton was knocked down to give them another 10 meter scrum and then another penalty saw another desperate charge for the line but captain Gareth Ellis was guilty this time of wasting another chance as he dropped the ball just short of the line.

Another chance with a clean break by Westerman was bombed as the loose forward dropped the ball after an ankle tap tackle with the line gaping.

Hull were being their own worst enemies as chance after chance was being squandered with poor decision making and an attack that was far too easy for the Rhinos to anticipate and snuff out.

To add insult to injury Leeds showed Hull how to structure an attack as Rob Burrow and Sinfield caused havoc in the defensive line and Zak Hardaker dived over in the 71st minute to put the game firmly out of the Airlie Birds reach, the conversion from Sinfield made it 0-22 to the visitors.

Sinfield accepted another penalty from near the halfway line and this time found his range to stretch the lead by another two points in the 73rd minute.

Finally with four minutes left to play Abdull got the try his performance deserved, the conversion by Rankin was scant consolation but at least Hull had been spared the ignominy of being held to nil at home.

Once again Hull had shown plenty of spirit for a struggle but a lack of cutting edge had cost them dearly as their Challenge Cup hopes faded for another year and they were left with just bitter regret yet again.

With games away and home against Wakefield in Super League Hull must pick themselves up and set about ensuring they will be in the Super 8s come the split but with a derby match away to Hull KR who have only lost twice at home all season and other games against the likes of Wigan Warriors and Castleford Tigers that may be no easy task on this evidence.

Penalties- Hull FC 6 Leeds 6

Goal Line Drop Outs- Hull FC 2 Leeds 2

Attendance: 9,261

Man of the Match: Jordan Abdull

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Catalan Dragons 20 Hull FC 14, Airlie Birds Left to Rue Mistakes As Vital Points Dropped

Hull FC slipped down to 8th in Super League with a heartbreaking defeat in Perpignan as Catalan Dragons continued their impressive home form which has seen them only lose once on their home ground.

Coach Lee Radford brought back Jordan Rankin at full-back in place of Jamie Shaul and derby hat-trick hero Fetuli Talanoa returned in place of Warrington-bound winger Tom Lineham and Setaimata Sa also returned from injury to face his former team at the Stade Gilbert Brutus after missing the win at Widnes Vikings.

The first chance came the way of the black and white’s with a scrum 10 meters from the Catalan line after Morgan Escare knocked on a high kick which then led to the young full-back being caught behind the line after a full set on the home sides line.

The goal line drop out led to another attack but the Airlie Birds were unable to make it count as a grubber kick from Marc Sneyd was eventually cleared up.

However the respite for the Dragons was only temporary as finally Joe Westerman made a break in the middle of the pitch and Rankin came up in support to go over under the posts in the 11th minute, the conversion from Sneyd gave the visitors a 6 point lead.

It took until the 16th minute for Catalan to draw level when captain Remi Casty made a break in midfield and then put the supporting Thomas Bosc over under the posts, the conversion from Scott Dureau brought the home side level.

Another mistake by Catalan led to another Hull scrum 10 meters from the Dragons line but a structured set from the visitors was ineffective as the home side comfortably held them out.

As the game settled down the home side became slightly more frustrated than Hull and a petulant ball steal by Dureau in the 28th minute gave them a penalty which Sneyd added to take the score to 6-8 in the 29th minute.

In the 35th minute a telegraphed pass from Sneyd to Mark Minichiello gifted an intercept and simple dash to the line to score for Dragons centre Tony Gigot to put the home side in the lead for the first time, the conversion from Dureau stretched it to a 4 point advantage.

Back-to-back penalties then led to another attack and try for the home side by Greg Mounis under the posts in the 39th minute, the inevitable conversion from Dureau gave the Dragons a 10 point lead going into the half time break.

Hull only had themselves to blame for trailing at half time after they had plenty of territory but made mistakes which had led to scores for the home side after a solid opening 30 minutes.

A penalty given away by the Dragons early in the second half gave Hull some pressure on the Catalan line again but again the attack was well quelled by an organised defence until a grubber kick by Sneyd went over the dead ball line.

The Dragons then got a penalty for a stolen ball and attacked with purpose but a stray pass cost them another try and gave the visitors a relieving scrum.

Another purposeful attack from the Dragons saw Dureau put a grubber kick over the Hull try line with Elliott Whitehead hunting the try but Steve Michaels managed to knock the ball dead for a goal line drop out then a mistake by Catalan in the ensuing attack gave Hull some relief.

However another mistake by the visitors led to another attack until another mistake from the home side gave Hull possession back.

The play then moved back to the Catalan end as Hull appeared to start to get into their stride and then Gigot knocked on 30 meters from his own line to give Hull another attacking scrum and Mark Minichiello brought his side back into the contest in the 52nd minute as he bashed his way over despite the attentions of three Dragons defenders, the simple conversion for Sneyd brought the score to 18-14.

Another fluid attack from the Dragons led to a break by Escare who chipped over the head of Talanoa but Sa was on hand to take the kick behind the try line for a goal line drop out again which led to another attack until a forward pass gave Hull another relieving scrum.

Hull then moved quickly down-field and the two former Dragons players combined as Leon Pryce chipped over the defensive line but Sa lost the ball over the line under pressure.

A silly penalty given away by Hull then led to more pressure on their line but another poor pass led to a knock on by Man of Steel contender Zeb Taia to give them another scrum to clear their lines.

Another fast move down-field by Hull then saw Pryce kick towards the Dragons line so Escare knocked the ball into touch to give Hull another scrum close to the home sides try line which then led to another knock on by Gigot to give Hull another scrum with little over 10 minutes remaining.

A fast cross-field move by Hull then led to a try by Fetuli Talanoa but the video referee denied him controversially for obstruction which appeared to be caused by the Catalan player Ben Pomeroy.

Shortly after that a break through the middle of the field by Minichiello then saw another mistake by the black and white’s deep in Catalan territory to let the home side off again.

A penalty for a ball steal on Ian Henderson then gave the home side a penalty which Dureau duly converted to give them a six point advantage.

A short kick off then led to another attack from Hull after the ball was batted back into their possession but a pass over the top for Talanoa ended up going into touch with five minutes left to play.

Finally Catalan saw the match out as Hull were left to rue too many mistakes at crucial times and some controversial calls by referee Ben Thaler and the video referee.

Hull will wonder what might have been if they hadn’t coughed up so much possession and given the home side so many penalties and territory but there are clearly issues that need to be addressed before a trip to Headingley next week for the fist of a league and cup double-header against Challenge Cup holders Leeds Rhinos.

Questions will also inevitably be asked about referee Ben Thaler’s performance although it would be unfair to blame the defeat entirely on him after he made some bad calls against both sides.

Penalties: Catalan Dragons 10 Hull FC 7

Goal Line Drop Outs: Catalan Dragons 1 Hull FC 2

Man of the Match: Mark Minichiello

Hull FC 46 Hull KR 20, Record Breaking Airlie Birds Dish Out Harsh Lesson to Cross City Rivals

A beaten-up Hull KR, short of several first team squad players, were made to suffer by their in-form derby rivals in the showpiece magic weekend event.

Hull FC racked up eight tries as they strolled to the highest score ever posted by either team in a competitive Hull Derby, eclipsing their previous record of 44 points set in 2008 at the KC Stadium.

As their side once again removed the shackles that had been placed on them by champions St. Helens the previous week the Old Faithful reveled in a scintillating attacking performance that was as organised as it was ruthless for the full 80 minutes at Newcastle United’s St. James’ Park stadium.

With props Mickey Paea and Liam Watts in commanding form against their former employers and ably backed up by a back row of captain Gareth Ellis, Aussie Mark Minichiello and, returning from injury, England international Joe Westerman the Hull pack created a go-forward that afforded half-backs Leon Pryce and Marc Sneyd and hooker Danny Houghton the sort of time and space one could normally only dream of having in an intense derby battle.

Hull started the scoring in the seventh minute as Kirk Yeaman rose above Kieran Dixon to pouch a cross-field kick from Sneyd to grab his 150th Super League try, the conversion from Sneyd gave Lee Radford’s men a deserved 6 point advantage.

However that lead only lasted 4 minutes as a swift passing move from the Robins, involving captain Terry Campese and centre Kris Welham, led to a try for winger Josh Mantellato, to which the Italian added a majestic touchline conversion to bring the scores level at 6 apiece.

Again the black and white’s attacked a short time after that and a deft pass saw winger Fetuli Talanoa waltz in at the corner all too easily as Dixon was caught out of position to give Lee Radford’s men the lead again, this time Sneyd hit the post with his touchline conversion attempt to leave them with a 10-6 lead.

Soon after that Campese made a break down the middle and an exchange of passes with Welham left the the centre with space to go round the outside to score a seemingly certain try, however the Rovers man inexplicably decided to go on the inside where Minichiello was waiting to put him down with a thunderous tackle.

On their next visit to the Robins line Hull again breached a near non-existent defensive line with Houghton putting captain Ellis over with a peach of a pass, Sneyd again tacked on the extras to give his side a commanding 10 point lead.

Another attack from the black and white’s looked like it could lead to another try for them until Kieran Dixon pounced to race 90 meters to bring his side back into the game, Mantellato again added the conversion to make it 16-12.

Shortly before the break Hull again pressed the red and white’s line and Minichiello threw an outrageous dummy before carrying three would-be defenders over the line with him to score, a third successful conversion from Sneyd restored Hull’s 10 point advantage at the break.

Rovers needed to score first to keep their hopes alive, however that didn’t happen as Talanoa crossed the whitewash within four minutes of the restart, the conversion from Sneyd stretched the lead to 28-12.

Two minutes after that try the game was effectively over as a break manufactured between Pryce and Houghton down the middle saw full-back Jordan Rankin outpace Dixon to get on the score sheet, another successful kick from Sneyd took the lead to 22 points with 34 minutes left to play.

To their credit the men from East Hull kept battling away to make a game of it as Ken Sio made a 70 meter break and put Dixon in for his second try although the pass to the winger did appear to be forward.

Five minutes later Mantellato also bagged a second try to reduce the deficit further, however with him having left his kicking boots in the changing room at half time, the Italian was unable to improve either try which left his team 14 points behind.

Soon after that mini revival normal service was resumed as Talanoa finished his first ever hat-trick and Sneyd’s conversion took the black and white’s through the 40 point barrier for the second time in three games.

Hull then broke the record for the highest ever score in a competitive Hull Derby as Yeaman added his second try of the game and Sneyd added a 7th conversion from eight attempts.

Man of the Match: Danny Houghton

Penalties Hull FC 6 Hull KR 5

Attendance 40,871

Hull FC 40 Castleford Tigers 14. Airlie Birds safely into Last 8 of the Challenge Cup with emphatic victory over Tigers.

Hull FC moved a step closer to Wembley with an emphatic win against last season’s beaten finalists Castleford in the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup 6th Round.

Now just two games away from a return to the national stadium a buzz seems to be developing among the fans as Hull made it 6 wins from their last 7 games with another exhibition of attacking rugby league which has been threatened many times, but not quite delivered in previous months.

Once again the talk in the build up was of the opposition having injuries but, again, the Airlie Birds were also below strength as the game was considered a week too early for Joe Westerman to come back from a Hernia operation and top try scorer Tom Lineham was also sidelined so Curtis Naughton took his place on the wing.

One player Hull did have back, after a two match suspension, was prop Mickey Paea so Jordan Thompson dropped down to the bench after starting the game at Warrington Wolves last week and captain Gareth Ellis switched from prop to loose forward.

The home side were the first to strike in the fourth minute as Curtis Naughton scrambled well to collect a loose pass and battle his way over in the corner despite the attentions of two Tigers defenders, Marc Sneyd, playing against the side he went to Wembley with last year, missed the touchline conversion to leave Hull 4-0 to the good.

After a frantic start the game started to settle down as both sides traded possession and territory until Liam Watts made a break down the middle from a sublime pass by Mickey Paea, Hull surged forward and eventually an overlap on the right led to a second try for Naughton in the 14th minute, this time Marc Sneyd added the conversion to give the home side a 10 point lead.

Another attack 3 minutes later led to a third try for Hull as the returning Paea crashed through the Castleford defence from close range, Marc Sneyd again tacked on the extras to stretch the lead to 16-0.

After that try the game became more of a war of attrition with the visitors trying frantically to break the home defence down while the black and white’s kept going through their processes and squeezed their opponents down the middle.

A mistake by Steve Michaels stepping into touch as he caught a high kick gave Castleford a scrum near the home line and Oliver Holmes eventually forced his way over but was held up by Leon Pryce.

A shocking decision by referee James Child to give the tigers another scrum near the Hull line after a knock on by Jordan Tansey eventually saw Ashley Gibson get in at the corner in the 33rd minute, the missed kick by Luke Gale left the score at 16-4.

Another attack from the visitors then saw James Clare go close at the corner before being bundled into touch by a fast moving Hull defence a few minutes later.

Another Castleford attack led to to a goal line drop out from Hull but the half time hooter sounded before they could try another attack and the black and white’s went into the break with their 12 point lead intact.

The second half started with a mistake by Mickey Paea dropping the ball early giving the visitors a scrum in the Hull half and the resulting attack saw James Clare squeeze in at the corner 3 minutes into the half, this time Luke Gale added the conversion to bring the Tigers back within 6 points.

Hull attacks were becoming rare and on their next visit to the Castleford line Leon Pryce knocked on over the line.

Castleford then strolled down the other end and a high kick was lost by Hull and Mike McMeeken took advantage to stretch over after 47 minutes, Gale again missed the kick to leave a slender two point advantage for the home side.

The tigers were looking much more organised and fluid in attack than they had in the first half and some very contentious decisions were all going their way as well.

Referee James Child was certainly making himself extremely unpopular with the home fans with some genuinely bizarre decisions particularly when he penalised the home side for infringements that went unpunished for the tigers.

A long break for an injury to Jordan Thompson, which ended with the Hull man being stretchered off, seemed to take the sting out of the visitors and Hull started to assert themselves again.

A good forward charge by Richard Whiting then set up the position for Hull to attack and a fast cross-field move ended with Jordan Rankin joining the attacking line to race in at the corner in the 62nd minute, the missed touchline conversion from Sneyd left Hull with a 20-14 lead.

Just five minutes later Hull were awarded a rare penalty in front of the posts and Sneyd duly obliged to give them a two score advantage.

A few minutes after that Curtis Naughton took the ball from dummy half and completed his hat-trick with a memorable try to increase Hull’s advantage, another goal from the ever reliable Sneyd made it 28-14 with less than nine minutes remaining.

The game was over a few minutes later as Jordan Rankin grabbed a second try which was goaled by Sneyd to take the score to 34-14 with six minutes left.

In the dying embers of the game Hull were still attacking and club stalwart Kirk Yeaman crossed the whitewash, to which Sneyd added a simple conversion to bring up the 40 score with the final act after the hooter.

Attendance 6,715

Penalties 5-5

Goal Line Drop Outs 1-1

Man of the Match: Curtis Naughton

Sheffield Eagles 12 Hull FC 34, Airlie Birds Safely Through to Home Tie in 6th Round

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

Attendance: 1,620?