Old boy Cooke is too hot for Hull to handle

Hull KR 24 Hull 18
Click to follow
The Independent Online

Paul Cooke scored two tries and made another as he proved to be the difference between his present club and his previous one in the Humberside derby.

Rovers were a long way from their best against their neighbours, but Cooke's individual contribution was enough to sway the game. "I thought he was great today," said his coach, Justin Morgan. "It was his best game of the season for us." His counterpart, Richard Agar, echoed the sentiment. "Cookey had a massive bearing on the game's result," he said. "He came up with the big plays at the big times."

The contest had barely begun to warm up when Rovers' fans had something tangible to celebrate, largely thanks to their Hull old boy.

Hull's new signing, Josh Cordoba, was more 'oh no' than 'ole' when he conceded possession with a fumbled pick-up. Michael Dobson hoisted a high kick, which Cooke (pictured scoring one of his tries) leapt to claim and slipped inside before he was tackled to the ground to present Dobson with the try. Two minutes later, it was Cooke, whose transfer two years ago created such acrimony, who put up the kick. Hull's other recent recruit, Jordan Tansey, allowed it to bounce, the ball coming back off the woodwork into Cooke's arms.

Two conversions for Dobson and Rovers were coasting, perhaps a little too casually, because Hull began to come back into it. They had a Mark Calderwood try disallowed for Tansey passing the ball after he had been grounded but got over three minutes before half-time. Again Tansey was involved, timing his run on to Richard Horne's kick well enough to persuade the video referee that he was onside.

A penalty stretched the lead at the start of the second half, but they were still not exactly making it look like a top four side versus a bottom four side. They were caught cold in the 51st minute when the busy Tansey put through a kick which sat up for Craig Hall, Danny Tickle's goal reducing the gap to two points. Hull would have been ahead if Richard Whiting had not fumbled the ball diving over from Richard Horne's kick. Having survived that, Hull KR seized the initiative again via Dobson's 40/20 kick. From the last tackle of that set, Cooke spotted his chance from dummy half and plunged over for his second try.

Hull were still not finished, scoring through Calderwood but then having Raynor's effort disallowed for a forward pass. Ben Fisher's break and Jake Webster's finish, though, kept Rovers in front and Cooke fittingly killed off the game with a 40/20.

Hull KR: Briscoe; Fox, Welham, Webster, Colbon; Cooke, Dobson; Fozzard, Fisher, Vella, Galea, Newton, Murrell. Substitutes used: Wheeldon, Fitzhenry, Walker, Lovegrove,

Hull: Tansey; Calderwood, Whiting, Hall, Raynor; R Horne, Berrigan; Cordoba, Houghton, King, Manu, Tickle, Radford. Substitutes used: Lee, Burnett, Moa, G Horne.

Referee: R Silverwood (Mirfield).