Rugby League: Hull make headway

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The Independent Online
Hull 24 Huddersfield 14

The final place in the fifth round of the Silk Cut Challenge Cup was claimed when Hull survived a determined second-half fightback and qualified for a visit to the holders, St Helens, writes Dave Hadfield.

Hull had good reason to believe that they had done the difficult part in this tie by drawing at Huddersfield, and they gave their visitors an early lesson in finishing. Gary Lester, their new stand-off from Australia, did much of the damage. He scored himself when he found a gap near the line in the third minute and his sweetly timed pass to Chico Jackson was largely responsible for Rob Danby going over for a breakaway try eight minutes later.

In between, Huddersfield had three close calls on the Hull line but failed to register points from any of them. Again they piled on the pressure with no result, Hull's isolated raid producing two more points when Huddersfield were caught off-side.

In the absence of the former Hull player, Garry Schofield, Huddersfield lacked the guile to make their possession pay off and they also lost their full-back before half time when Ben Barton was carried off on a stretcher after a tackle, for which Matt Schultz was placed on report.

There was more opportunism from Hull at the start of the second half, Tevita Vaikona hacking on a dropped ball and picking up to score and leave Mark Hewitt with an easy kick.

Huddersfield at last got something to show for their generous share of the match when Craig Weston and Dave King paved the way for Dean Hanger to go in, Weston kicking the goal and quickly adding a penalty.

Huddersfield's revival continued with a charge down by Weston that allowed Hanger to go 50 yards for his second on the hour. West kicked the goal to bring Hull within four points. It took some desperate defence to keep them out in the remaining minutes but Jon Aston's try in injury time made it safe for Hull.

Hull: Holmes; McKenzie, Danby, Vaikona, Jackson; Lester, Wheeler; Craven, Hewitt, Boyd, Fisher, Schultz, Divorty. Substitutes: Nolan, Long, Aston, Wilson.

Huddersfield: Barton; Belle, King, Hanger, Cheetham; Weston, Veivers; Harmon, Russell, Neill, Richards, Milner, Sturn. Substitutes: Booth, Marsden, Berry, Reilly.

Referee: D Campbell (Widnes).

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