Double blow puts Wakefield on survival mission

Wakefield Trinity Wildcats 18 Hull 30
Click to follow
The Independent Online

Hull regained the top-three position in which they will finish the regular season, but were pushed all the way by a side battling for their Super League status. Huddersfield's win at London the previous day had shifted the relegation pressure squarely on Trinity and they responded with a display that could, with a better roll of the dice, have brought them the points.

A less determined team would have been been flattened by events on either side of half-time. Wakefield thought they had drawn level through Justin Brooker, only to have the try rightly disallowed for Waisale Sovatabua's shove, and Hull went straight to the other end for Steve Prescott to score after Willie Poching's attempted interception fell perfectly for him.

Worse was to follow for Wakefield, with their full-back, Dane Dorahy, taken off on stretcher at the start of the second half with a dislocation and fracture of his ankle.

Jason Smith almost immediately put his namesake, Tony, over for his second try, seeming to point the way to a comfortable Hull victory, but Sovatabua struck back, before a controversial passage of play that effectively decided the game.

Ben Westwood allowed himself to be taken into touch on the first tackle and, from the resulting possession, Richard Horne ghosted in on the left. The referee, Bob Connolly, awarded the try without going to the video, but the replay suggested that Horne had lost the ball.

Still Wakefield fought back, with the outstanding Ryan Hudson going over from Davis's superb short pass, but Hull had a little too much firepower for them and Paul Cooke's break and, seven minutes from time, Gareth Raynor's try finally ensured the points that lifted them above St Helens once more.

Wakefield, now just a point clear of Huddersfield with the crucial meeting between the two looming in two weeks' time, had started well, with Gareth Ellis going in for the game's first try. The pace of two Hull forwards Paul King and Scott Logan gave them the lead, extended by Horne's break and Tony Smith's first try. Hudson kept Wakefield in touch but Hull's greater quality saw them safely home at the end.

Trinity's fighting effort means that no one should underestimate their survival instincts. Their coach, John Harbin, said that crucial decisions had gone against them but reserved his scorn for the administrators whose deduction of points for a salary cap breech could send Wakefield down, calling them "faceless men hiding behind closed doors."

Wakefield Trinity Wildcats: Dorahy; Sovatabua, Brooker, Ellis, N.Law; Pearson, Davis; O'Neill, D March, Mason, Poching, Field, Hudson. Substitutes used: Westwood, Rauter, Watene, L Jackson.

Hull: Prescott; Poucher, Horne, Campbell, Raynor; Cooke, T Smith; Broadbent, King, Logan, Maiden, Grimaldi, J Smith. Substitutes used: Craven, Felsch, L Jackson, Yeaman.

Referee: R Connolly (Wigan).