On Jubilee weekend at the KC Stadium, it was visitors St Helens who left feeling the better of the two teams as a late Tommy Makinson penalty rescued his side a point.
For Hull, it was another case of what might have been after seeing victory snatched away in the dying seconds of the game for the second week in succession after defeat to rivals Hull KR at Super League’s Magic Weekend in Manchester. The Saints managed to stop the rot after last week’s defeat at the hands of Wigan.
The opening period of the game was played out with little events of notice, a combination of the wet weather and poor position led to a lot of handling errors from both sides. Referee Thierry Alibert had not endeared himself to the Saints players after halting a breakaway inside the first minute and bringing the play back for an alleged knock-on. However, it was the home side who were left dumbfounded on the 15 minute mark. Alibert awarded Hull a penalty for a tackle in the air by Sia Soliola before promptly reversing the decision for a reason that only seemed clear to himself. The Saints capitalised, taking a quick tap penalty, passing the ball left for Adam Swift to cut through the Hull defence for the game’s opening try. Makinson added the conversion to give the visitors a 6-0 lead from virtually their first attack of the game. Less than five minutes later and they were further ahead. A break from Michael Shenton down the Hull right left the home defence breached and support from Soliola ensured the ball reached Lance Hohaia to touch down to the left of the posts. Makinson again added the extras to give Saints a 12-0 advantage out of nothing.
It was important for Hull to hit back quickly and they did. After another handling error from a Saints player, Hull forced a drop out leading to a period of pressure in the St Helens 20 metre zone, and from their second successive set, the home-side got back into the game as Richard Whiting crashed over despite the best efforts of three defenders. Danny Tickle converted from a wide position to make the score 12-6 in favour of the visitors. The try sparked Hull into life as they went close again, with only last gasp St Helens defence preventing further addition to the scoreboard. The half ended with Hull camped deep into Saints territory but unable to force their way through a strong defence.
HT Score: Hull FC 6-12 St Helens
The second half started much the same as the first finished. Hull were well on the ascendency with St Helens defending bravely. The pressure finally told in the 52nd minute, when after five successive sets, Richard Horne bundled over the line and after a conversation between the officials, the try was awarded. Tickle missed the kick, leaving the hosts still two points’ arrears at 12-10.
Saints restored their lead back to six points after remembering that they too could play rugby. Jon Wilkin took advantage of some slack tackling from the home side to dash over, Makinson missed the kick but more importantly, the Saints were 16-10 ahead.
Yet again, Hull came back into the game on 63 minutes. Good work from Jordan Turner and Danny Houghton meant Tickle had the easy task of touching down for his side’s third try of the game. After picking himself up, he slotted over the two points to bring the scores level at 16-16. And it was Tickle who would give his side the lead for the first time in the match. On 68 minutes, the home-side were awarded a scrum on halfway, three tackles later and they were awarded a penalty for holding down by the Saints defence. Tickle slotted over the kick to make the score 18-16 to the ‘Black and Whites’.
Both sides had chances to score what would have surely been the winning try, first an up and under from Wilkin hit the ground in the Hull danger area after the previously impressive Matty Russell misjudged its flight, his was rescued by a combination of team mates Willie Manu and Brett Seymour who swept up the ball to prevent any danger. It was then Hulls turn to go close, the Saints were passing the ball about in their own 20 metre area when Jordan Turner intercepted but the former Salford player couldn’t cling with the line at his mercy.
It was to prove costly, as Alibert managed to pick a Hull infringement after another bomb from Wilkin leaving Makinson to kick the penalty right in front of the posts to level things up.
Hull tried a short kick-off in desperation to get the ball back in the closing minute but it was St Helens who broke away from inside their own half only for referee Alibert to rescue the home side after whistling for a knock-on.
It was typical that another handling error would be the last action of the match in a game that Hull will be disappointed at losing a wining position so close to the end of the game. They remain 5th in the table on 20 points, two ahead of St Helens who occupy 6th position. A trip to a rejuvenated Wakefield side awaits next week with the Hull faithful hoping that the game is sewn up well before the final minutes.
Final Score: Hull FC 18-18 St Helens.
Jack Shoemark at the KC Stadium for 'The Hullfire'