Cooke keeps Hull flying high

Hull 28 Wakefield 24
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The Independent Online

Hull, scorers of 122 points to 10 in their last two games, had to work much harder for their victory over a Wakefield side who twice fought back to within one score in the second half.

Hull, scorers of 122 points to 10 in their last two games, had to work much harder for their victory over a Wakefield side who twice fought back to within one score in the second half.

"We got a little wake up call there and it will probably do us the world of good,'' said the Hull coach, Shaun McRae, after his side consolidated third place in Super League. They might not have done so if Wakefield had performed in the first half. "We were a little bit in awe," said their coach, Shane McNally. "We gave them too much of a start.''

Both sides attacked at a furious tempo from the start, but, after Wakefield's Sid Domic had been carried off following a clash of heads it was Hull who took the lead. Paul Cooke took the ball from Shaun Briscoe and his fractionally delayed pass sent Kirk Yeaman through for the try. Cooke hit the post with his conversion attempt as well as missing an easy penalty on an off-day with the boot.

It was Wakefield, however, who should have been the more concerned about their failure to register points. As well as committing a series of handling errors, they also conceded a couple of penalties for not playing the ball properly. They fell further behind after 25 minutes, when Cooke again created space, this time for Chris Chester to send Gareth Raynor cruising in.

Three minutes after the break, Wakefield paid for their loose play again when Richard Swain threw a short pass for Paul King to plough over. Five minutes later, Colin Best, with little room on the right wing, kicked ahead delicately and followed up with for the fourth Hull try.

Having strived so long in vain for a try, Wakefield got one out of nothing to spark their comeback when Ben Jeffries found himself in the clear. That try, converted by David March, gave Wakefield a lift and, after David Solomona had been stopped on the line, March's pass sent Michael Korkidas over for another converted try.

Hull were under pressure, but Richard Horn and Cooke responded by creating the overlap for Yeaman to supply the final pass to Raynor, Cooke this time landing his kick from the touchline. That might have been the end of Wakefield, but two of their substitutes combined when Steve Snitch sent Michael Wainwright over with 12 minutes to play. Wakefield kept going right to the end, but Justin Ryder's last minute try came a little too late.

Hull: S Briscoe; C Best, K Yeaman, R Whiting, G Raynor; P Cooke, R Horne; P McNicholas, R Swain, E Dowes, S McMenemy, C Chester, J Smith. Substitutes used: P King, C Scruton, P Lupton.

Wakefield: C Halpenny; J Ryder, J Demetriou, S Domic, S Tadulala; G Ellis, B Jeffries; D Griffin, D March, M Korkidas, D Solomona, J Field, M Applegarth. Substitutes used: S Snitch, O Elima, M Wainwright, R Spicer.

Referee: R Connolly (Wigan).

* Wigan defeated Huddersfield 40-18 at the JJB Stadium. Kris Radlinski's two tries saw him become the most prolific try-scorer in Super League history, with 112.

* Bradford edged out Salford 35-28 for a first win in three matches. The Bulls trailed 16-10 at the break before scraping a nervy victory.

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