Last month at Wembley, Jamie Shaul was denied a spectacular try that could have brought Hull back into the Cup final. Last night, the 20-year-old full-back claimed an equally good one to keep his club’s season alive.
The beaten Challenge Cup finalists, were desperate to avoid adding another anti-climax to their season by becoming the first side to be knocked out of the Super League play-offs. Although captain Gareth Ellis weighed in with a late try, it was young Shaul who spared them that possibility.
In typically vile play-off conditions, it was Liam Watts who made the first of the evening’s inevitable errors, only for Thomas Bosc to surprisingly miss the penalty that eventually came the Catalans’ way.
Both sides were defending well enough to cover up for their mistakes, before the first score finally came, on the half-hour, when Leon Pryce intercepted Danny Tickle and Bosc this time kicked the penalty. Tickle missed a quick chance to level a match where points were at a premium, although Horne went close in the corner before Shaul took a high kick from Pryce, scrambled to his feet and went 60 metres for a try worth waiting for. Tickle converted and the question now was how both sides would react to such a potential turning point.
The answer to that from the Catalans was plenty more time spent in Hull territory, but without the cutting edge needed to break them down.
Two of Hull’s best, Shaul and Horne, squandered possession between them, but again the French side could not make them pay. They chose to kick when they had an easy offside penalty, cutting the margin to two points. That was four again when Eloi Pelissier trod on Aaron Heremaia.
Ellis was then on-hand for the clincher, with Tickle on the mark again and the Catalans bemoaning the end of their season, despite Menzies’ late effort, disallowed by the video referee.
Hull: Shaul; Crookes, Horne, Yeaman, T Briscoe; Holdsworth, Miller; Watts, Houghton, Johnson, Ellis, Tickle, Westerman. Substitutes used: Whiting, Heremaia, Bowden, Green.
Catalan Dragons: Webb; Blanch, Menzies, Duport, Vaccari; Pryce, Bosc; Bousquet, Henderson, Casty, Taia, Whitehead, Mounis. Substitutes used: Pelissier, Elima, Fakir, Paea.
Referee: B Thaler (RFL)