Widnes Vikings 46 Hull FC 6, Woeful Airlie Birds punished for dreadful performance

Hull FC were cut to pieces in embarrassing fashion by a red-hot Widnes Vikings as the Super League table-toppers scored 46 unanswered points after falling behind early on.

The Airlie Birds were given a harsh lesson after a controversial decision by the video referee ruled out what looked a legitimate try for Sika Manu which led to a capitulation that is not generally related to this proud side.

Coach Lee Radford restored Frank Pritchard to his match day squad and gave him his first start after he missed the narrow defeat against Wigan Warriors, Liam Watts dropped to the bench to be replaced by in-form Josh Bowden at prop.

Jordan Abdull was drafted in to replace the injured Leon Pryce and Mark Minichiello dropped to the bench having started the first four games of the season for the black and white’s.

The Vikings had an early blow when Chris Bridge had to leave the pitch with a shoulder problem after a challenge with Pritchard after two minutes.

The Airlie Birds drew first blood after six and a half minutes as Pritchard crashed through the Widnes defensive line to score his first try for his new club after a bullocking run by Scott Taylor set up the position, Marc Sneyd added the conversion for a six point lead.

Three minutes later Fetuli Talanoa was denied a try by the video referee as he dropped the ball diving for the corner.

The video referee was called into action after Abdull launched a high kick and, after Jack Logan challenged Stefan Marsh in the air the Vikings player lost the ball and Sika Manu went over, however controversially the extra official Phil Bentham ruled out the try.

The league leaders then went straight to the other end and Joe Mellor got on the end of a fast move to touchdown, Rhys Hanbury brought the scores level in the 16th minute.

Widnes then turned the match on its head after Marsh made an interception and break and, from that position an attacking kick from Kevin Brown leading try scorer Corey Thompson crossed to put the Vikings undeservedly ahead after 20 minutes, Hanbury was wide with the touchline conversion attempt.

Hull were denied another try by the video referee after 25 minutes after Manu knocked on in front of the line before crashing over.

Thompson then added his second try of the game in the 28th minute after a wide kick from Mellor saw Talanoa again out of position to allow his opposite number to gather and touchdown far too easily, Hanbury again was wide with the conversion to leave the home side with an eight point lead.

The Vikings then stretched their lead after another wide kick from Brown presented them with another opportunity for marsh to cross the whitewash after 32 minutes, Hanbury was wide with another conversion attempt.

Widnes then got a controversial try after Liam Watts appeared to pinch the ball in a one-on-one tackle but referee Richard Silverwood maintained it was still Widnes ball and subsequently Hanbury got on the end of a pass and then converted his own try to give them an 18 point lead at the break.

Brown extended the Vikings lead after 46 minutes after a mistake by Jamie Shaul from a high kick presented them with a scrum near the Hull line and the Widnes captain side stepped through the Airlie Birds defence, Hanbury took them to the 30 point mark with the conversion.

The Vikings were then given another controversial try after Marsh was awarded a second try by the video referee despite appearing to drop the ball after 52 minutes, Hanbury made it a 30 point lead with the conversion.

The Vikings hit the 40 mark as Matt Whitley crossed under the posts just short of the hour, Hanbury added the extras to make it a 36 point lead.

Marsh then got his hat-trick after a move from one side to the other and back again, Hanbury missed the conversion to leave the score at 46-6.

The Vikings were given more possession and territory with a scrum 10 meters from the visitors line despite the fact that Chris Houston appeared to knock the ball onto Danny Washbrook but a penalty allowed Hull to clear their lines.

Hull kept Widnes out for the rest of the game to at least avoid the ignominy of conceding a half century of points after their worst display for some time.

Penalties: Widnes 8 Hull 8

Goal Line Drop Outs: Widnes 1 Hull 1

Man of the Match: Hep Cahill

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Hull KR 32 Catalans Dragons 26, Rovers Move Within 80 Minutes of Wembley With Tense Victory Over Channel Hoppers

Hull KR put their supporters through agony before booking a first Challenge Cup semi-final since 2006 with a nervous victory over Catalans Dragons after a dominant first half gave way to a substantially less disciplined performance in the second half.

Coach Chris Chester brought hooker Shaun Lunt and prop Dane Tilse back on the bench but the line-up remained largely the same as the 17 who had thumped Warrington Wolves in Super League last week for this Challenge Cup Quarter-Final at the KC Lightstream Stadium.

Catalans got the game underway on a balmy summer evening which might have suited the men from the south of France but the early exchanges saw the home side settling into their stride quicker with a kick from Kelly causing panic behind the Dragons line before the ball was knocked out to force a goal line drop out.

There was early controversy as the Robins were awarded a scrum after Kris Welham had clearly knocked the ball into touch in a tackle on Krisnan Inu, they then took advantage with a fast cross-field move which released Ken Sio down the right to score the first try of the game after seven minutes, the conversion from Josh Mantellato made it 6-0.

Catalans got their first chance at some sustained pressure on the home sides line a few minutes later after a ball was batted down by a Rovers defender to give them a repeat set which then led to Welham attempting an intercept but he was unable to drag the ball in causing more pressure.

Inu then came perilously close to a try but Welham then knocked the ball out of his hands deliberately but referee Phil Bentham gave the home side head and feed wrongly at the scrum.

The red and white’s then moved swiftly down-field and after a dropped ball by the visitors ended up in the hands of Kelly and eventually Kieran Dixon got over the line to stretch the lead after 17 minutes, the conversion from Mantellato made it 12-0.

The next attack from the Robins two minutes later came via a Maurice Blair kick, Mantellato got to the ball before Dragons full-back Morgan Escare and handed the ball on to Kelly to score, another goal from Mantellato made it 18-0.

Catalans then got another scrum inside their oppositions half but facing an organised defence they never really looked like cutting through to get back in the game as the game moved into its second quarter despite forcing a goal line drop out when Dixon was caught behind the line.

A break by Mantellato down the left wing and inside pass which cut-out two Catalans defenders and two Rovers attackers found its way to Graeme Horne for the back rower to go in behind the posts in the 29th minute, the inevitable conversion by Mantellato made it 24-0 and left the men from France facing a gap as wide as the Humber to try and recover.

To their credit the Dragons wouldn’t throw the towel in and a break in mid-field by Louis Anderson saw them set up the platform to build from and a delicious little kick from Elliott Whitehead was dotted down by Inu for their first try after 35 minutes, Scott Dureau was unable to add the extras which left them trailing by 20 points.

Rovers were then awarded another penalty in the last minute of the first half after a high shot on Horne and Mantellato duly obliged from 35 meters out to send his side in at the break 26-4 ahead.

The second half started with a bit of handbags at dawn between Inu and Lunt but from that the visitors then made the first attacking opportunity before Inu was denied by Welham after a high bomb.

An attack at the other end by Rovers was similarly unfortunate as Liam Salter caught a hick kick but was held down just short of the line.

Catalans were appearing more purposeful as the game wore on and Zeb Taia took advantage of a quick tap penalty for off-side to crash over in the 50th minute, a first conversion of the evening for Dureau reduced the gap to 16 points and give them some form of hope.

The next visit to the home sides line saw an audacious kick through by Tony Gigot and Inu followed it up to score in the corner in the 55th minute, Dureau missed the conversion but at 26-14 the Dragons seemed to be sensing a comeback which at half-time had looked like an impossibility against the in-form Robins.

The 50-50 calls that had gone the way of the men from East Yorkshire in the first half now seemed to be going more in favour of the Frenchmen.

Ken Sio finally added to his try tally as Rovers took the bull by the horns and a fast passing move saw him dive in at the corner in the 65th minute, the missed conversion left the score at 30-14.

However Catalans still wouldn’t go away and they charged straight to the other end and video referees Steve Ganson and Joe Cobb awarded a try to Ian Henderson in the 67th minute, the goal by Dureau reduced the deficit to 10 points again and a nervous tension descended on the ground again.

A measure of the concern for the home side became apparent with 10 minutes left when, after a crusher tackle on Dixon 10 meters from the Catalans line, Mantellato opted to take the two points on offer to give them a two converted try lead.

Catalans immediately went for a short kick-off and won the ball within Rovers territory which led to sustained pressure. Back-to-back penalties increased the pressure but Rovers stuck manfully to the task in hand to keep them at bay and a knock-on relieved the pressure and enabled them to clear their lines.

Another Catalans attack then produced another try as a kick through by Jason Baitieri was pounced on by Elliott Whitehead in the 78th minute and the conversion by Dureau put them back within one score of the hosts.

Rovers however saw the game out to move on to their first Challenge Cup semi-final since 2006 and within sight of a first trip to Wembley in nearly three decades.

Penalties- Hull KR 6 Catalans Dragons 9

Goal Line Drop Outs- Hull KR 1 Catalans Dragons 2

Attendance: 6,073

Widnes Vikings 12 Hull FC 25, Lineham Hat-Trick Sees Off Vikings Again As Airlie Birds Move Into Top 8.

Hull FC took their destiny into their own hands with a stunning comeback to complete a league double over Widnes Vikings as they claimed an eighth victory in 10 games in all competitions and move 7th in the Super League table.

Down 12-0 inside 11 minutes Hull looked dis-organised until Marc Sneyd stamped his class on the match and took control of proceedings and prolific winger Tom Lineham ran in his second hat-trick against this opposition this year.

The Vikings started the game without former Hull player Cameron Phelps after the Australian was injured in their victory over Salford Red Devils at Magic Weekend in Newcastle which forced coach Denis Betts to bring Matt Whitley in at centre.

Coach Lee Radford recalled Jamie Shaul to the Hull FC side to rest Jordan Rankin and Setaimata Sa and derby hat-trick hero Fetuli Talanoa were out injured so Richard Whiting and Steve Michaels were brought in as replacements for the visit to the Select Security stadium

The match was billed as a Super 8s Play Off with the Vikings just one point ahead of Hull as the sides sat 8th and 9th respectively at the start of the evening.

The first penalty of the match saw the home side put the first pressure on the Hull line but Shaul cleared up the threat of a chip over the line before Hull were awarded a relieving penalty.

The opening score of the match came to Vikings winger Jack Owens after Kirk Yeaman gave away a penalty with a high tackle the ball was moved quickly right by the home side and Owens squeezed in at the corner despite the attention of Shaul, the winger then added the touchline conversion to give them a 6-0 lead in the 8th minute.

Three minutes later a break down their left by full-back Rhys Hanbury put centre Matt Whitley in under the posts and Owens added the extras to give the home side a 12 point lead after 11 minutes.

After another attack from the home side Hull suddenly burst into life and a break down the right by captain Gareth Ellis and short pass put Tom Lineham in at the corner for his 13th try of the season and his fourth against Widnes after his hat-trick against them at the KC Stadium, unfortunately Marc Sneyd slipped slightly as he took the kick at goal and missed to leave the score 12-4 to the home side after 16 minutes.

Just as Hull thought they were going to make a break with a pass from Leon Pryce to Shaul referee Phil Bentham made a shocking call saying the legal pass was forward and then awarded the home side a penalty in the Hull half for dissent but scrambling defence from the visitors kept the Vikings at bay as they looked to press home the advantage they had been handed.

As the first half wore on the home side seemed to have more appetite for the battle as Hull looked laboured and unable to break through the home defence but despite their continued dominance in the possession and territory stakes the Vikings lead was still only eight points after half an hour.

After a penalty was given to the men from East Yorkshire they got their first chance at some sustained pressure on the Vikings line and Pryce duly brought them further back into the game with their second try, however Sneyd had forgotten his kicking boots and missed again to leave the score 12-8.

The fightback continued after a high tackle by Vikings captain Kevin Brown on Richard Whiting gave Hull another attacking set on the Widnes line and a deft chip by Sneyd saw Lineham claim his second try of the game in the corner with seconds to go to half time, Sneyd then found the mark with his touchline conversion to send his team in at the break with an unlikely 12-14 lead.

The second half started with Hull showing more grunt and trying to establish control and they were soon on the attack but Mickey Paea knocked on 15 meters from the Widnes try line.

The Vikings then went down-field and a kick from former FC player Aaron Heremaia forced a second goal-line-drop-out but their resulting attack ended with a tackle by Steve Michaels taking the Widnes attacker into touch.

After 51 minutes a piece of individual brilliance from Sneyd created a try that was worth the entrance money alone as he placed a delicate little grubber kick through the defensive line and followed-up to score under the posts and stretch the visitors advantage and the inevitable conversion from the try-scorer made it 12-20.

Six minutes later Lineham made it home and away hat-tricks against the Vikings as a break from Shaul cut the home side apart again and then his deft pass put the winger in at the corner to the delight of the travelling supporters, unfortunately Sneyd was unable to add the extras so the lead stayed at 12 points for the visitors.

The next attack from Hull saw them set up for the drop-goal and Sneyd again duly obliged to give them a three score lead with 18 minutes left to play.

The home side were showing plenty of endeavour but the goal line defence from Hull was too tight and smart to stop them breaching the line.

Whenever the home side seemed to have an opportunity Hull’s resolute defence was there from all angles covering for any chink in the impressive armour as the game ambled towards its inevitable conclusion.

With seven seconds remaining on the clock Patrick Ah Van thought he had given the home fans something to cheer as he dived in at the corner but he was denied by the video referee as he had put a foot in touch.

Hull coach Lee Radford praised the impressive defence from his side afterwards saying the victory had come because they were all willing to work for each other.

Penalties: Widnes 6 Hull FC 4

Goal Line Drop Outs: Widnes 1 Hull FC 2

Attendance: 5,573

Man of the Match: Marc Sneyd

Wigan Warriors 60 Hull KR 0. Injury Stricken Robins Made To Suffer By Rampant Warriors.

Hull KR took to the pitch minus Josh Mantellato, Dane Tilse, Shaun Lunt and captain Terry Campese then, at the last minute Kevin Larroyer had to be withdrawn following an injury in the warm up so Rovers coach Chris Chester brought in youngsters Connor Robinson and Josh Guzdek to put with fellow teenagers Sonny Esslemont and Aaron Ollett and Tyrone McCarthy took the captains armband.

The first try took less than 3 minutes to arrive as Wigan ran the ball on the last tackle and prop Dominic Crosby charged over from 20 meters out, the conversion from Matty Smith gave the home side a 6-0 lead.

The tone was being set very early as, from the kick off, after a few tackles the Warriors shifted the ball from right to left and a move involving Dan Sarginson, Joe Burgess and George Williams from 70 meters out led to a 6th minute try for Burgess under the posts, Smith tagged on the goal for a 12-0 lead.

A penalty caused by the Robins kick off going out on the full led to more pressure on their line and Wigan stretched their advantage as Liam Farrell swept through a non-existent defence for the 3rd try in 8 minutes and Smith again made no mistake to make it 18-0.

Less than 11 minutes had passed as another break down the middle by Farrell teed up a 12th try of the season for Joe Burgess, a fourth goal for Smith made it 24-0 and the match was effectively over as a contest.

Rovers right hand defence was having a genuine nightmare but the middle was also being made to suffer as the home side were finding big yards far too easy to come by even considering the personnel the men from East Yorkshire had missing.

The 15th minute saw another flowing passing move from the Warriors which finished with Joel Tomkins, playing at Centre for the first time since his sides defeat away to Rovers, charging in at the corner to score, Smith missed the conversion from wide out but the Warriors looked very comfortable at 28-0 ahead.

Three minutes later Burgess thought he had his second consecutive hat-trick but he was pulled back for a forward pass by Sarginson.

A goal line drop out was forced as Ben Cockayne was caught behind the line after a precise grubber kick by Williams and this again invited pressure on the visitors line which led to Williams then throwing an absolutely outrageous dummy which was taken hook, line and sinker and left a gap wide enough for a sherman tank for the stand off to dart through and dive in for the 6th try in 21 minutes, the goal from Smith stretched the lead to 34 points.

There was a brief period when Rovers strung a few passes together but at no point did they threaten the home sides line. However Wigan seemed to drop their intensity visibly and at the same time the Robins rolled up the sleeves and seemed determined to shackle the Warriors and this they did with the help of a few uncharacteristic mistakes like forward passes and dropped ball.

Despite not scoring for the last 19 minutes of the first half and some silly mistakes the home side still went in at the break with the game wrapped up at 34-0.

An early penalty in the second half for offside brought more pressure and the first try of the half was awarded by the video referee after a kick from Williams was snaffled by Burgess before offloading to Farrell who, in turn, flicked the ball out to Sarginson to score in the corner, Smith’s touchline conversion saw the cherry and white’s hit 40.

More mistakes cost a fatigued Rovers more and more possession and territory and a poor attitude certainly wasn’t helping them with Wigan in such ruthless mood.

The 52nd minute saw the video referee called upon again by referee Phil Bentham to award another try to Dominic Manfredi who forced his way over from close quarters despite the attentions of five would-be defenders, the missed conversion from Smith left the score at 44-0.

Thankfully for the visitors the Warriors kept trying the party tricks but whilst some of them came off, plenty of others ended with forward passes and dropped ball along with other needless mistakes otherwise the score could have been much worse.

Five minutes after the Manfredi effort former Wakefield man Taulima Tautai charged onto a pass to barrel his way over next to the posts, Smith’s goal brought up the half century.

Another try duly arrived in the 62nd minute as Williams fooled everybody on the last tackle with a sudden burst of pace from 40 meters out to race through a huge gap and score beside the posts, another conversion from Smith made it 56-0.

On the one occasion the Robins managed to break their hosts defensive line a forward pass from James Donaldson saw Green pulled back and a certain try ruled out. Rovers fans were seen doing a conga around their stand, unfortunately it couldn’t inspire their team to get the try their fans so desperately deserved.

The deadly duo struck again with less than three minutes left to play as George Williams once again produced a delightful little chip over the defence and Joe Burgess profited to grab his hat-trick try, Smith missed the conversion to leave the final score at 60-0.

The obvious concern for the Robins going forward is that in their last three games (league and cup) they have now shipped in 122 points, they will obviously be a different proposition in two weeks in the Challenge Cup match which is taking place on neutral territory at Leigh Sports Village whilst the pitch is relaid at the DW Stadium.

Post match Shaun Wane said he was under no illusions that they would be a different proposition in the cup match, on the other hand it was noted about Chris Chester’s almost casual attitude to what had just happened as he also knows his team should be very much stronger for that cup match, and indeed should carry much more threat at home against basement side Wakefield Trinity Wildcats next week.

Attendance 11,468

Rovers man of the match: Graeme Horne