Leeds 28 Hull 44: Cooke and Horne combine to silence Leeds faithful

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The Independent Online

Outstanding performances by the half-back pairing of Paul Cooke and Richard Horne and the full-back Motu Tony laid the foundation for Hull's 36-6 lead after 46 minutes that effectively decided a memorable game.

Cooke may not be considered to be good enough for inclusion in Brian Noble's Great Britain squad but he continued his rich vein of club form with a hand in three of his side's seven tries and eight goals from as many attempts.

"Hats off to our boys, there were some amazing passages of football," said the Hull coach, Peter Sharp. "Cooke is a great talent with the football and a very skilful player."

Shayne McMenemy's deft, bouncing kick created the opening Hull try for Horne and though Leeds responded with a superbly crafted try, finished by Richard Mathers, the visitors soon wrested control of a game played at a punishing pace.

Horne's neat pass unlocked the home defence for McMenemy to cross on the left and Cooke's perfectly executed cut-out pass sent winger Gareth Raynor over by the flag. Cooke then turned provider again, this time with a clever flat kick from the outside of his right boot that found the unmarked Raynor in the corner and added his fourth conversion to send the large contingent of visiting supporters into raptures.

Raynor swept in for his hat-trick four minutes after the re-start with Cooke again involved in the build-up as the strains of Old Faithful filled the evening air. Raynor then turned provider, with a smart inside pass for Super League's leading try-scorer, Kirk Yeaman, to notch his 20th touchdown of the campaign.

Too late, Leeds rediscovered their attacking flair, Yeaman's nearest rival, Danny McGuire, showing his paces with a fine individual try, his 18th of the season and then creating an opening for Keith Senior to add another. Senior cut over for his second and Lee Smith added Leeds' fifth try on the final hooter but Cooke, with a long-range penalty and a touchline conversion to Nathan Blacklock's 60m try kept his dominance to the end.

"The opposition were outstanding but we needed to find our urgency, desire and energy earlier in the game to put on a better contest," said the Leeds coach, Tony Smith.

Leeds: Mathers; Donald, Walker, Senior, Smith; McGuire, Burrow; Peacock, Diskin, O'Neill, Poching, Jones-Buchanan, Ellis. Substitutes used: Bailey, Millard, Ablett, Scruton.

Hull: Tony; Blacklock, Domic, Yeaman, Raynor; Cooke, R Horne; Dowes, Swain, Thackray, Radford, McMenemy, Washbrook. Substitutes used: G Horne, Wheeldon, Carvell, Brough.

Referee: P Bentham (Warrington)