Huddersfield 12 Hull 26: Red-hot Cooke gets his kicks to help knock over the Giants

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The Independent Online

Hull's quest for a first runner-up finish in the Super League was given a huge boost by victory over Huddersfield at the Galpharm Stadium yesterday.

Peter Sharp's side are now four points clear of third-placed Leeds thanks their 15th win in 16 matches. Huddersfield must now juggle preparations for the Challenge Cup final, against St Helens at Twickenham on 26 August, with a relegation battle. An injury to their captain, Chris Thorman, did little to raise their spirits.

Hull's Motu Tony scored the opening try in the third minute, although 24 minutes then elapsed before Paul Cooke kicked a penalty to put Hull eight points clear.

The second-row Shayne McMenemy scored a try three minutes from the half-time hooter, capitalising on good work from Gareth Raynor, and Cooke's goal extended the lead to 14-0, which was a more fair reflection of the half's play.

McMenemy's try came with the hooker Brad Drew in the sin bin for the home side after showing dissent to the referee Phil Bentham.

Three minutes into the second half, Raynor chased Cooke's kick and caused enough panic in the home defence to let Graeme Horne in for Hull's third try. Richard Whiting was held up over the line by Stephen Wild as the visitors pressed for more, but the game quickly degenerated into a succession of knock-ons and failed interceptions.

The disruptions suited Huddersfield, however, and they were able to gain some field position as a result. Stuart Jones crashed on to Kevin Brown's pass to open their account, with Michael de Vere's goal reducing the deficit to 14 points.

Huddersfield were boosted by Jones' effort and they began to reap the rewards of their second-half efforts when Andy Raleigh managed to barge his way over with eight minutes remaining.

De Vere's touchline conversion still left the Giants needing two scores, and the gap became three when Shaun Briscoe crossed for Hull to secure the points. Cooke added the goal to complete a perfect afternoon with the boot.

Huddersfield: Reilly; Aspinwall, Brown, De Vere, Donlan; Thorman, Paul; Mason, Drew, Gannon, Nero, Jones, Wild. Substitutes used: Crabtree, Smith, McDonald, Raleigh.

Hull: Tony; Blacklock, Whiting, Domic, Raynor; Cooke, R Horne; Dowes, Swain, Carvell, McMenemy, G Horne, Washbrook. Substitutes used: Wheeldon, Higgins, Briscoe, King.

Referee: P Bentham (Warrington)

* Harlequins all but guaranteed their Super League status with an enthralling 28-26 victory over Bradford on Saturday.