Ben Guzdek reviews the clash between Rovers and Saints at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.
|6th||Try: Alex Walmsley. Conversion: Lachlan Coote (Saints)||Hull KR 0-6 Saints|
|16th||Try: Jack Welsby. Conversion: Coote (Saints)||Hull KR 0-12 Saints|
|25th||Try: Adam Quinlan. Conversion: Jamie Ellis (Hull KR)||Hull KR 6-12 Saints|
|27th||Try: Ethan Ryan (Hull KR)||Hull KR 10-12 Saints|
|40th||Goal: Ellis (Hull KR)||Hull KR 12-12 Saints|
|47th||Try; Kevin Naiqama. Conversion: Coote (Saints)||Hull KR 12-18 Saints|
|60th||Try: Adam Smith. Conversion: Coote (Saints)||Hull KR 12-24 Saints|
|63rd||Try: Welsby. Conversion: Coote (Saints)||Hull KR 12-30 Saints|
|74th||Try: Matt Parcell. Conversion: Ellis (Hull KR)||Hull KR 18-30 Saints|
|78th||Goal: Coote (Saints)||Hull KR 18-32 Saints|
It was Saints who came out of the traps quickest scoring after just five minutes through in form man Alex Walmsley. Having trapped former Saint Quinlan in goal, Saints got a fresh set of six on the Hull KR line, and the powerhouse drove through to score to the right of the sticks. Lachlan Coote kicked the conversion, giving the men in blue an early 6-0 lead.
After a few near misses, Saints doubled their lead in the 15th minute. Captain James Roby picked up on a dropped ball and found Jonny Lomax, who threw a huge cut-out pass out right over three players to find stand-in winger Jack Welsby to score in the corner. Coote added the extras to give Saints a 12-0 lead.
Hull KR got one back in the 24 minute, working the ball out right, and Quinlan dummied before stretching between the defence to touch down in the corner. Jamie Ellis converted to leave the score 12-6.
Rovers were on the up and came straight back at Saints, scoring in the 26th minute. Ellis’ looping ball to the far corner caused trouble for Regan Grace, who was making his 100th Saints appearance, but he couldn’t hold it and Ethan Ryan reacted first to dive on the ball to score. Ellis was unable to convert, meaning Saints still led.
However with half-time round the corner, Rovers pulled the score back to level on the hooter through an Ellis penalty, leaving it 12-12 at the break.
Saints started the second as they did the first and retook the lead in the 48th minute through Kevin Naiqama, his first try since Round One against Salford Red Devils. Quick play down the right found Coote who offloaded with great speed to find Naiqama who bolted through a gap in the defence to score. Coote scored the conversion, leaving the score 18-12.
Aaron Smith added a fourth in the 59th minute from dummy half after some lovely quick feet saw the hooker dance in between two tackles and dive over the line to the left off the sticks. Coote converted, giving Saints a 24-12 lead.
Three minutes later Welsby got his second of the match. Saints pushed down the right and James Roby, filling in for Fages in the halves, threw the ball out wide where Welsby held his run well before driving in to the corner to score. Coote maintained his 100% kicking record to give Saints a 30-12 lead.
Matt Parcell mirrored Smith’s try at the other end, squeezing over from dummy half to get Rovers over for a second half try. Ellis converted, leaving the score 30-12 after 71 minutes.
Rovers were penalised for a high tackle on Matty Lees, and Coote added two points with a penalty to give Saints a 32-12 lead with seven minutes to go.
Naiqama thought he’d score a second with a minute to go, but Lomax’ pass went forwards, and that was the last action of a gripping encounter, as Saints came away with a hard fought 32-18 victory.
Adam Quinlan’s try in the first-half injected some belief into the struggling Hull Kingston Rovers side, they looked to ask questions on the Saints defence and began to add more pressure.
Their questions were answered straight from the kick-off as Ethan Ryan pounced on a fumble by Regan Grace and by half-time they were level.
It was another valiant effort from Tony Smith’s side but as it has been for years, they’ve come close but no cigar.
Hull KR: Adam Quinlan, Ethan Ryan, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Kane Linnett, Greg Minikin, Ryan Brierley, Jamie Ellis, Nathaniel Peteru, Matt Parcell, George Lawler, Matty Gee, Matthew Storton, Weller Hauraki.
Interchanges: Dean Hadley, Daniel Murray, Robbie Mulhern, Will Maher.
Saints: Lachlan Coote, Jack Welsby, Kevin Naiqama, Matty Costello, Regan Grace, Jonny Lomax, Theo Fages, Alex Walmsley, James Roby, Matty Lees, James Bentley, Zeb Taia, James Graham.
Interchanges: Dominic Peyroux, Louis McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Kyle Amor, Aaron Smith.