We should all know the script by now. Game tied. One minute to go. Obviously Marc Sneyd, the man for the big occasion, would have something up his sleeve.
On so many occasions he has provided the magical moment and bailed Hull FC out. From vintage plays at Wembley, to swings of that prosperous left boot, it always ends in the same result – a magical play and finish. And make no mistake this one was special. Receiving the ball inside his own half, Sneyd took one step forward and delivered a thumping 52 or so metre drop-goal to win a pulsating game against Wakefield Trinity 27-26, and to be honest, it was nothing more than the Black and Whites deserved.
Sneyd had dictated the large majority of the second half as Hull avenged a ten-point half time deficit to take the lead. The mercurial scrum half was untouchable, getting the ball rolling for Albert Kelly to touch down, before assisting Fetuli Talanoa with a pin-point chip to the corner. The half back, who takes great pride in proving that one Garry Schofield talks shite, was on fire throughout a game that might as well have been played on the River Hull at low tide, such was the wet atrocious conditions that adorned the KCOM Stadium. Across Super League and it was no better, Shamu was spotted at Castleford (although rumours suggest it was just Ben Murdoch-Masila), and there was one or two kippers still floating around our fixture, although they’ve been biting hard since Good Friday so there’s nothing new there.
The pouring rain ensured there were some moments of play that threatened to change the outcome of the result, but in truth, they just set the stage for Sneyd’s left boot to excel on. His 18th drop-goal in the Black and White hoops puts him level, by our calculations at least, with Brian Hancock as the joint king of the one pointers, with just the one more needed to take the crown outright. Not a bad moment for a man who’s Hull FC highlight package exceeds Maurice Blair’s weekly custard pie consumption. Daft lad.
Elsewhere, the squad was heavily altered from the heroics at Caravan Park three days earlier. Just to refresh your memory, Hull had a man sent off in the ninth minute, but still created more holes than a Tim Sheens game-plan to record their sixth Derby win in a row. Scenes. Here, Radders gave out a debut to Hakim Miloudi, a recall for Jansin Turgut and a first appearance of 2018 for young hooker Jez Litten, whilst resting the likes of Houghton, Shaul, Lane and Tuimavave. Not a bad luxury to have, and testament more to the depth of the squad when Manu and Hadley remain sidelined with injury. Of course it must be noted Wakefield also elected to rest players for the most physically demanding period of the season, and they played their part in an entertaining fixture. They’re a good team and an admirable club, if not for the hilarities of their current coach at his former employer alone.
But back to Hull FC matters. Miloudi on debut had a horrific start, and quite easily could have been taken off at half time, but he showed his character after the break with a much improved display. Turgut’s afternoon was cut short to injury, so the real limelight amongst the changes was Jez Litten, the explosive hooker, who was brilliant off the bench, adding some shape to Hull FC’s attack, running the ball, and most importantly providing the pass for Sneyd’s game winning play. With Houghton out, it was pleasing to see there’s a natural to the number nine spot, and if such scenarios occur where the tackling machine is ever absent in the future, then a further opportunity for the promising youngster must be obliged.
The win, which was Hull’s third in a row, was done of course in the rain, which given the sides inability to construct two passes together in such conditions last season, was pleasing. Our attack is statistically the third best in the competition and during spells against Wakefield it was very fluent indeed. But it also gifted its opposition 18-points and almost cost us a point. The desire to play expansively though was there, and one would surely much rather see that than the sluggish rugby we saw at Salford. Admirably so, the Black and Whites scored some excellent tries here and there was enough range about their distribution to suggest a few thumpings to opposition defences could be on their way come the summer months.
And with the power Hull have amongst it’s ranks it’s a fair call. The backs were superb in yardage gains all game, and with the form of the centres good things will continue to happen. Confusing his amazing run of form, Josh Griffin was brilliant yet again and is proving to be a right menace with the ball, and Talanoa is currently scoring at will. With Kelly back amongst the ranks there’s more balance and with a recognised hooker there’s more direction. It’s bodes well, certainly a lot better than the mood come the eightieth minute at the AJ Bell Stadium last month.
Of course there’s still a few challenges ahead that will give us a real measure of where Hull FC are currently at, but they showed character aplenty at Rovers and beat a good Wakefield team here. As far as indications go, beating St Helens on their own turf next time out would show that this team is every bit as capable of producing the heroics of the past two seasons. What a statement that would be. Wishful thinking? We’ll soon find out.
Hull Starting XIII: 28. Hakim Miloudi, 2. Bureta Faraimo, 14. Jake Connor, 4. Josh Griffin, 5. Fetuli Talanoa, 6. Albert Kelly, 7. Marc Sneyd, 23. Mickey Paea, 17. Danny Washbrook, 13. Josh Bowden, 25. Jansin Turgut, 12. Mark Minichiello, 16. Jordan Abdull. Interchange: 8. Scott Taylor, 20. Brad Fash, 22. Jez Litten, 15. Chris Green.
Hull Tries: Abdull, Kelly, Talanoa 2. Goals: Sneyd 5/5. Drop Goal: Sneyd
Hull 3-2-1 Man of the Match: 3pts Marc Sneyd, 2pts Josh Griffin, 1pt Jez Litten
Wakefield Starting XIII: 21. Max Jowitt, 24. Mason Caton-Brown, 4. Reece Lyne, 18. Joe Arundel, 3. Bill Tupou, 6. Jacob Miller, 25. Ryan Hampshire, 17. Craig Huby, 13. Tyler Randell, 20. Keegan Hirst, 11. Matty Ashurst, 19. James Batchelor, 14. Justin Horo. Interchange: 9. Kyle Wood, 15. Pauli Pauli, 16. Tinirau Arona, 22. Jordan Baldwinson.
Wakefield Tries: Tupou 2, Caton-Brown 2. Goals: Batchelor 5/5
Scoring System: 2-0, 8-0, 8-6, 8-12, 8-18, 14-18, 20-18, 20-20, 26-20, 26-26, 27-26
Referee: Liam Moore, aka some meff no-one’s heard of
Our Hull FC reports in 2018 are courteously produced by the Up the Cream Fanzine.
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