Hull FC went into today’s game at Widnes as big favourites. Widnes have endured an arduous season so far and Hull have started to hit form so almost everyone expected Hull to win. Games like this can be dangerous though if you have the wrong attitude and it appeared that Hull had the wrong attitude in the first half. They lacked energy and desire early on and Widnes capitalised on it. Thankfully Hull got a half time wake up call from Lee Radford and went on to blow the Vikings away in the second half playing some excellent rugby in the process.
To say Hull started slowly was an understatement. They were lethargic and struggling to make metres and Widnes soon capitalised on this. They opened the scoring after 7 minutes through Chris Houston. They got some field position and attacked with pace which created a gap out wide that Houston went through to score.
Soon after the first try Widnes were in again. Rhys Hanbury went through a massive gap in the Hull defence and raced 50m to score just beating Jamie Shaul for pace. Hull were shellshocked and it got even worse when Widnes scored their third try. Referee Gareth Hewer came under fire after he awarded Widnes 3 quick penalties the last of which was farcical. Widnes made the most of it and tapped the third penalty quickly and spread it wide to Patrick Ah Van who easily beat Danny Washbrook to score.
It looked like Hull were in for an embarrassing afternoon shortly before half time when Widnes crossed again. They were enjoying good field position once again and Patrick Ah Van scored his second try of the half. He collected a cross field kick after initially juggling the ball. He looked offside but the try was given and Hull found themselves four scores down.
Lee Radford’s side grabbed themselves a lifeline just before half time. Albert Kelly took on the line before finding Jamie Shaul who burst through a gap and passed to Jansin Turgut on his inside who scored his first Hull FC try.
Hull were sent out early for the second half know doubt still having the words of Lee Radford ringing in their ears after a poor first half. Hull responded in the perfect fashion as they scored from the opening set after the restart. Josh Griffin came on as a half time substitute and made his mark on the game instantly when he burst through the Widnes defence before finding Jamie Shaul on his inside to score.
Hull were clearly buoyed by the early try and started to play expansive rugby. They almost scored a suberb team try when the ball was kept alive for several offloads before creating a gap out wide. Albert Kelly sprayed the pass and Josh Griffin knocked on when stretching for the ball. He should have left it for Steve Michaels but the chance was gone.
Despite this missed chance Hull were still well on top and soon scored again. Albert Kelly was coming more and more into the game and he began the move for the third Hull try. Kelly ducked under a tackle and passed to Jamie Shaul who then drew the full back before finding Carlos Tuimivave who went under the sticks.
The game had totally changed now despite being behind Hull were favourites again and in no time they had levelled the scores. This was a brilliant individual try from Hull’s signing of the season Albert Kelly. Kelly fended off a Widnes defender before racing through a gap and side stepping the full back to score in front of the Hull fans who have a new favourite this season.
Widnes had buckled and Hull were on fire. They were playing some excellent rugby and took the lead with another try from range. Jamie Shaul had a fantastic second half and grabbed his second try when he fended off two defenders before cutting inside to score under the sticks. It was a fantastic try and Hull were in cruise control.
A few minutes later Marc Sneyd popped over a drop goal to seal the win and right at the death it got even better for Hull when Danny Washbrook scored. Mark Minichiello ran across the Widnes line and fired it wide to Thompson who found Washbrook to score in the corner. The conversion was missed so Hull ended 22-33 winners.
As poor as Hull were in the first half they were excellent in the second half as they showed their class to blow Widnes away. They scored 33 unanswered points and scored some excellent tries from distance. They almost fell into the complaceny trap but Lee Radford will be pleased with how his side responded in the second half to get the win. They will now look to the defence of their Challenge Cup title as they take on Catalan Dragons at the KCOM Stadium on Friday.