IT WAS, in the end, just too much to expect the bottom team in Super League to beat the side whose time may have come to win it.
Hull claimed something close to a moral victory last night, however, scoring as many tries as Leeds and only losing because they failed to kick their goals and then allowed Iestyn Harris to get away from them in the last few minutes.
Hull were on level terms and threatening to make recent Boulevard history repeat itself when a spear tackle on Harris nine minutes from time gave him the chance to kick Leeds ahead.
With seconds to go, the Leeds captain darted over from the base of the scrum and the points were safe.
There was an echo of past upset when Robert Roberts, who had already given Leeds trouble with a crafty kick, split them again in the 10th minute with a lovely pass that left Jamie Smith free to score.
There was another shock to come when Paul King bullocked his way down the left and Rob Nolan took the ball on for Gary Lester to scamper over. Graeme Hallas could kick neither goal but it was still a startling opening from Hull.
That was the cue for Ryan Sheridan to revived Leeds. In the space of four minutes he fed off a storming run by Adrian Morley and then he took a short pass from Terry Newton.
Harris's conversion of the first put Leeds ahead, but there was no sign of Hull losing their self-belief. Five minutes before half-time the outstanding Roberts stood in the tackle to send Karl Harrison in and they were back in the lead.
Both sides went close to tries before Hull struck again after 53 minutes, Marcus St Hilaire fumbling Roberts' high kick and Smith diving through to claim his second, Hallas this time adding the two points.
St Hilaire soon made amends, finishing off a move involving Andy Hay, Brad Godden and Sheridan for a converted try and Harris's penalty after an obstruction offence set Leeds up for their late escape.
Hull Sharks: Poucher; Nolan, Hallas, Campbell, Smith; Purcell, Lester; Harrison, King, Ireland, Craven, Leatham, Roberts. Substitutes used: Horne, Barrow, Fletcher, Baildon.
Leeds Rhinos: Harris; Sterling, Golden, Godden, Cummins; Powell, Sheridan; Farrell, Newton, Masella, Morley, Sinfield, Glanville. Substitutes used: Mathiou, Hay, Rivett, St Hilaire.
Referee: S Cummings (Widnes).Reuse content