Rovers climbed above their city rivals and at least briefly into third place in Super League yesterday afternoon as the Hull derby maintained its reputation as the most intense in the game. It was rarely pretty and there were mistakes aplenty, but this was the sort of contest in which the winners know they have earned local bragging rights.
Although the Robins were dominant for long periods, Richard Whiting's try after 65 minutes put them under pressure that could have seen them lose the game. "It wasn't technically classical but both teams had a massive crack at it," said the Hull KR coach, Justin Morgan.
"I couldn't fault our effort and spirit," echoed his Hull counterpart, Richard Agar, "and we had our opportunities to win the match."
It is no exaggeration to say that Hull's troubles began with their first touch, when Danny Tickle put his kick-off dead on the full. Rovers seized on that error and Jake Webster grabbed Michael Dobson's kick to score after 79 seconds. Webster could have had a second when Dobson intercepted and sent him away, while Tickle was held up on the line from Hull's first attack.
Rovers dominated the first quarter, but Hull then caught them out, through Kirk Yeaman's kick for Tom Briscoe to touch down. The visitors from East Hull reasserted their superiority when the former black-and-white stand-off Paul Cooke sold a dummy and stretched over the try line, and Rovers looked home and dry when Peter Fox went in from dummy half after his side had surged upfield following Craig Hall's fumble.
But clubs do not give up the ghost easily in these affairs. After Fox's running from the ruck had almost brought him a second, the home team came roaring back into contention. Shaun Berrigan exploited a rare gap in the Rovers' defence for a converted try to cut the margin to eight points and he almost had a second soon after.
It was Whiting, out of the first team for almost 11 months, who brought Hull within touching distance, seizing on the ball after first Richard Horne and then Mark Calderwood had kicked ahead down the left wing. That meant 15 minutes of tension for Rovers against opponents who now had the momentum behind them. Paul King went agonisingly close, losing the ball as he reached for the try line and even with the last kick of the match the excellent Shaun Briscoe had to clear from Chris Thorman.
"What a great game of rugby league," said Morgan after his men had successfully hung on – and what a great result for the red-and-white half of the city.
Hull: Hall; Calderwood, G Horne, Yeaman, T Briscoe; R Horne, Thorman; Dowes, Berrigan, Thackray, Manu, Tickle, Radford. Substitutes used: Lee, Cusack, Whiting, King.
Hull KR: S Briscoe; Fox, Welham, Webster, Colbon; Cooke, Dobson; Fozzard, Murrell, Wheeldon, Netherton, Newton, Galea. Substitutes used: Fitzhenry, Aizue, Gene, Lovegrove.
Referee: S Ganson (St Helens).
*Salford beat Warrington 18-16 in their Super League match after Chris Hicks missed a late conversion for the visitors. Salford were 18-12 ahead, with two tries from Richie Myler, when Ben Westwood scored to put Wolves a kick away from salvaging a draw.Reuse content