Wakefield 18 Hull 26: Hall goes the distance to calm Hull nerves

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The Independent Online

Two tries from their substitute Craig Hall, the second of them a brilliant 95-metre effort, gave Hull the edge as two nervous sides warmed up for their Challenge Cup semi-final in two weeks' time.

As a dress rehearsal this was more notable for lines fluffed than delivered on cue, but the undoubted climax was Hall's pick-up of a loose ball released by another of Hull's youngsters, Tom Briscoe, to race away for a try 10 minutes from time that made the game safe.

The Hull coach, Richard Agar, said that Hall had been caught in similar circumstances the previous week. "He's gone down the short side, which was a risky play, but he's done magnificently," he said.

Most of the early drama took place near the Wakefield line and eventually Hull's 19-year-old hooker, Danny Houghton, scored when his low kick came back off a post.

Wakefield have been guilty of having one eye on Wembley during their last two games, but they recovered their concentration on more immediate matters with two tries in three minutes. Brad Drew's kick through created the first for Jamie Rooney and then Danny Brough's huge bomb bounced kindly for Damien Blanch to score.

The Wildcats would have been further ahead and deservedly so if Dale Ferguson had not had a try disallowed for obstruction. Wakefield still managed to extend their lead before half-time when Lee Radford was penalised for a trip on the elusive Sam Obst and Brough put over the kick.

Hull were level five minutes into the second half when Willie Manu got through two tackles and released a one-handed pass to send Kirk Yeaman over, Danny Tickle adding a fine conversion from wide out.

Hull struck again in the same area of the field to go ahead five minutes later, Shaun Berrigan getting the ball to Hall for his first try. Hull then wasted numerous chances to take control but finally did so when Yeaman put in a kick and Briscoe touched down at his leisure.

Hall then had his moment of glory, picking up the ball almost on his own line and hugging the touchline on a thrilling run to the other end of Belle Vue. Drew scored for Wakefield five minutes later, but the damage had been done.

"Our form is very scratchy at the moment and it's the worst possible month for it," said the Wakefield coach John Kear. "We've got to question our mental fortitude. We've got a semi-final coming up. You try to not let it affect you but I think it obviously is. Our standards have dropped dramatically in the last three weeks."

Wakefield: Blaymire; Blanch, Gleeson, Henderson, Petersen; Rooney, Brough; Moore, Drew, Wilkes, Ferres, Golden, Demetriou. Substitutes used: Bibey, Ferguson, Obst, Sculthorpe.

Hull: Sing; Briscoe, Horne, Yeaman, Raynor; Washbrook, Berrigan; Dowes, Houghton, Thackray, Manu, Radford, Tickle. Substitutes used: Broughton, Hall, Wheeldon, Cusack.

Referee: R Silverwood (Mirfield).

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