Hull FC travelled to Wheldon Road last night knowing they needed to defeat the League Leaders Shield winners Castleford to secure a spot in the Playoff semi-finals. Daryl Powell chose to rest several of his key players ahead of Castleford’s home semi final next week which was certainly a boost for Hull but they still had a job to do in testing wet conditions.
Hull asserted their authority early on in the game and took the lead after just 9 minutes. Fetuli Talanoa flicked a kick back to Carlos Tuimavave who passed the ball back along the line and Liam Watts then found Jamie Shaul who in turn fed Albert Kelly who slid over next to the posts.
This was just the start Hull needed and they scored again almost straight away. Albert Kelly turned provider this time as his kick was grasped from the air by Jake Connor who strolled over to score. Marc Sneyd missed the conversion so Hull led 10-0.
Hull were well on top and they soon thought they had scored again when Danny Houghton charged for the line but he couldn’t get the ball down properly. Luckily he didn’t have to wait long to score his third try of the season. The old combo was back in business as Marc Sneyd put a grubber kick through the posts and Houghton pounced to score. Hull now led 16-0 and were looking comfortable.
The much changed Castleford side weren’t ready to lay down and die though as some players looked to force their way into Powell’s side for next week’s playoff. Winger Tuoyo Egodo scored the first of a hat trick of tries when he slid over in the right hand corner. Paul McShane converted to make the score 6-16.
Hull quickly put that setback behind them though as Jamie Shaul scored a brilliant individual try. He brushed off several Castleford defenders before selling a dummy to Greg Eden and sprinting 30m to score. Sneyd converted and Hull led 6-22. That wasn’t the end of the scoring in the first half as Jake Connor grabbed his second try of the game. Albert Kelly was on fire and he provided another assist as he dummied and then found Connor on his inside who crashed over to score. Another Sneyd conversion have Hull a strong half time lead.
HT Castleford Tigers 6-28 Hull FC
To their credit the home side came out firing at the start of the second half and by the 49th minute Egodo had evaded Talanoa twice and completed his hat trick. The score had narrowed to 16-28 and Hull could have been forgiven for becoming nervy.
Luckily Jake Connor was having a wow of a game and it was his hat trick try that put an end to the Castleford revival. Hull spread the ball wide to the right and Connor shrugged off a couple of defenders to slide over. Sneyd was on target again and the lead was back to 18 points at 16-34.
From then on in it was plain sailing for Hull as they scored some eye catching tries as well as a Marc Sneyd penalty goal. Their next try came in the 65th minute. Sneyd fed Talanoa who cut back on the inside and burst through a gap before passing to Tuimavave who went under the sticks.
Four minutes later Jamie Shaul scored his second excellent individual try of the night. Liam Watts and Scott Taylor exchanged offloads before the latter found Shaul. He went on a weaving run across the defence until he spotted a gap and was through it like lightning to slide over to score. Hull would have liked to have broken the fifty point barrier but it wasn’t to be.
FT Castleford Tigers 16-48 Hull FC
Hull produced an excellent display albeit against weakened opposition and did exactly what they needed to do and in some style. A playoff semi final is now secured for the second straight year and as they were last year Hull will be on the road as they look to make it to Old Trafford.
Lee Radford’s side will travel to Headingley to face Leeds. They have not won in Leeds for ten years but their luck has to change at some point! Radford will be hoping so as he has a big week ahead of him preparing his players for their second major semi final of the season. Old Trafford awaits, can Hull make it?