Hull 23 Leeds 16: Whiting helps Hull dig deep to leapfrog Leeds

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The Independent Online

Hull took sole possession of second place in Super League last night, outplaying Leeds more comprehensively than the scoreline suggests and extending the Rhinos' losing run to four matches.

The home side got off to a flyer and dominated much of the game, but left Leeds with a glimmer of a chance because Paul Cooke had an uncharacteristic off night with his goal-kicking, landing only one of five conversions. But Cooke managed to come up with an important drop goal to seal a well-deserved first win over Leeds at the KC stadium.

"If we'd kicked a few more goals we might have put them to bed a bit earlier," said Hull's coach, Peter Sharp. "For they're a good side and it was a great victory for us."

Gareth Raynor seems to love playing against his former club. In the first 10 minutes last night, he was intent on inflicting further punishment on them. First he took Paul Cooke's pass to finish a sparkling attack. Then he timed his run perfectly to reach Shayne McMenemy's clever kick along the touchline to make his tally seven in three games versus the Rhinos.

Cooke, who had an operation to remove kidney stones only last Sunday, was playing beautifully, but he missed both conversions and Leeds closed the gap to two points when Keith Senior beat Nathan Blacklock to a high kick from Sinfield, who also added the goal.

Senior's next contribution was more in keeping with Leeds' weary showing, fumbling Rob Burrow's pass to give Hull possession with Domic eventually scoring from Richard Horne's crisp pass. Then Richard Whiting kicked through and dived onto a favourable bounce off the goalpost.

Leeds started the second half with more urgency, Scott Donald going over after good build-up work from Burrow and Toopi.

Whiting settled Hull's nerves, however, with his second from Richard Horne's kick ahead. Cooke's wretched goal-kicking form continued, but his drop goal gave Hull a buffer they should not have needed.

Leeds' Jamie Jones-Buchanan came close then got one that did count from a lovely break by Toopi. But the improvement was not enough to turn the tide, and Hull might take some shifting from second place now.

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

Leeds: Smith; Donald, Toopi, Senior, Gibson; Sinfield, Burrow; Bailey, Diskin, Jones-Buchanan, Walker, Peacock, Ellis. Substitutes used: Millard, Kirke, Thackray, Lauitiiti.

Referee: P Bentham (Warrington.

* In last night's other Super League games, Bradford comprehensively defeated Warrington 50-22, Salford steamrollered Harlequins RL 34-0 and St Helens dispatched Huddersfield 56-8 in their rehearsal for the Powergen Challenge Cup final.

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