Hull KR held off a spirited FC fightback to claim their first competitive derby win in almost four years.
The Robins stunned the hosts when Craig Hall scored just two minutes into his second debut for the East Hull side. The ex-FC man then added a second before Danny Tickle crossed as the half time hooter approached to put the visitors firmly in control of the derby.
Hall’s second would’ve been a fitting score against Hull City as well as FC as three brilliant kicks saw him sprint almost 100m and launch himself on top of the ball just inches before the ball went into touch.
The atmosphere in the away stand was raucous from the first whistle to the last and there’s no doubt that this inspired KR to dig deep and get over the line in the second forty.
Maurice Blair was sent to the sin bin moments after Jordan Abdull crossed to give FC hope and from there on in Rovers’ backs were up against the wall.
Countless penalties went to the home side as the pressure on KR’s defence mounted and, rather inevitably, tries from Josh Griffin and Mark Minichiello, coupled with great kicking from Marc Sneyd brought the Black and Whites level with over a quarter of the game still to play.
The events on the field were more than matched by those up in the sky as thunder cracks and huge lightning bolts added to the already fiery atmosphere of the occasion. The swirling wind and torrential rain made the conditions almost unbearable, not that the Red and White army cared though.
The win was Rovers’ first in eight previous attempts against their arch rivals and it was easy to see why when Hull were on top. Rovers’ defence started to tire but, when Blair came back onto the field, the dynamic of the match changed.
Suddenly, Hull’s aerial dominance ceased to exist and then Sneyd, who had been impressive from the boot, saw a penalty smack the inside of the post and bound away into KR hands mere minutes after Danny Tickle produced the goods to give KR a two-point lead.
And with just four minutes remaining, Tickle proved his quality again by keeping his nerve to add another goal to his name and give KR a crucial four-point victory.
The Robins have therefore prepared brilliantly for the upcoming Qualifiers, whereas FC will need to look at their defensive solidity before their quest for Super 8s glory.
WHAT WE’VE LEARNED
FC need to tighten up
After being humiliated 72-10 by Wakefield Trinity last week, you would imagine that FC would have worked on defensive shape in the build up for this one.
But there were gaping holes in the first forty, which KR duly exploited, so it appears as though they haven’t learned their lesson. I expect them to do well in the Super 8s, but they need to tighten up at the back first.
KR’s team spirit is brilliant
Losing a 16-0 lead at the home of your arch rivals would see many teams fall away and crumble, but not this Hull KR side. Each and every player looked exhausted by the final hooter, but it was all worth it.
There were rather a lot of mistakes creeping into their game towards the end, but every time this happened, the whole team would come together and rally, pushing each other on to victory.
They should be fine in the Qualifiers, probably the best team in fact, but looking ahead to next season, their team ethic will be crucial if they want to challenge for a Super 8s spot again.
Man Of The Match- Craig Hall (Hull KR)
The ex-Hull man had an immense game. Not only did he score the opening two tries, but Hall’s desire to not let his man beat him was equally as important.
He was battered and bruised when Rovers’ heroes went to applaud the away support, as were his colleagues, and that is why he’s a fan favourite at KCOM Craven Park. His energy levels remarkably never seemed to dip and, to be honest, there was only one candidate for Man of The Match in this one.
Hull FC 16
Tries: Abdull, Griffin, Minichiello
Goals: Sneyd (2)
Drop Goals: n/a
Hull KR 20
Tries: Hall (2), Tickle
Goals: Tickle (4), Hall
Drop Goals: n/a
Hull FC: Shaul; Faraimo, Griffin, Tuimavave, Talanoa; Abdull, Sneyd; Taylor, Houghton, Matongo; Minichiello, Washbrook, Manu.
Interchanges: Fash, Paea, Lane, Harris.
Hull KR: Quinlan; Hall, Crooks, Salter, Oakes; Blair, Atkin; Jewitt, Cator, Mulhern; Tickle, Clarkson, Kavanagh.
Interchanges: Scruton, Donaldson, Wardill, Carney.
Referee: Gareth Hewer