Raynor breaks Broncos' run to raise Hull

London Broncos 16 Hull 20
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The Independent Online

London Broncos' unbeaten home run was ended by a dogged Hull performance in a game that belied both teams' status as title contenders.

London Broncos' unbeaten home run was ended by a dogged Hull performance in a game that belied both teams' status as title contenders.

London raced into a 10-0 lead after just five minutes, with tries by a supremely confident Nick Bradley-Qalilawa and the in-form Luke Dorn. But Hull bounced back through Gareth Raynor and Kirk Yeaman. First Raynor burst through the tightest of gaps to score and he then used the outside of his right foot to divert Paul Cooke's kick into Yeaman's path.

The opening had suggested another try-fest at Griffin Park, but the game turned into an error-strewn midfield battle.

Hull caught London on an off-day, capitalising on some slack defence and a destructive tendency to knock-on early in the tackle count. In the run-up to half-time, London dropped the ball in five successive sets, failing to put the visitors under any sort of pressure.

Indeed, with the Scotland international scrum-half Danny Brough kicking two penalties on his debut to extend Hull's lead to 10 points after the break, the Broncos quickly saw the game drifting away from them.

The return of their inspirational hooker Mark McLinden revitalised them but both Joe Mbu and Lee Hopkins were denied tries by the referee Ronnie Laughton during the Broncos' best period, ironically while Lee Greenwood sat in the sin-bin for holding down.

The elusive try did not arrive until five minutes from time, through Mbu, and although Paul Sykes' conversion set up a thrilling finale, Hull held on for their first win at Griffin Park.

The game ended in disarray, with officials running on to the field to tell Laughton the 80 minutes were up as London were poised five yards from Hull's line. But the Broncos' coach Tony Rea was not fooled by the closing stages.

"We let ourselves down and lost our way," he said. "We were careless and lacked concentration. The guys are hurting - as they should be.''

His Hull counterpart John Kear admitted it wasn't pretty. "It was exciting but it did nothing for the heart," he said.

Third-placed Hull now have two days to recover before facing Wigan on Monday. They will be without their hooker Richard Swain, who broke his arm late on.

London: Luisi; Wells, Smith, Sykes, Bradley-Qalilawa; Dorn, Leuluai; Trindel, McLinden, Stephenson, Haumono, Hopkins, Mbu. Substitutes used: Tookey, Highton, Lolohea, Greenwood.

Hull: Tony; Barnett, Yeaman, Eagar, Raynor; Horne, Brough; Dowes, Swain, Thackray, McMenemy, McNicholas, Cooke. Substitutes used: Kearney, Higgins, Carvell, Whiting.

Referee: R Laughton (Barnsley).