Rugby League: Sweet revenge exacted by Hull

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The Independent Online
Hull. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18

Wigan. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4

HULL claimed revenge for Wigan's recovery from a 21- point deficit in the Challenge Cup six weeks ago by putting a severe dent in their championship ambitions at The Boulevard last night. Wigan's escape in the cup is now folklore, but if they lose their grip on the First Division title, they will look back on their failure to match a committed performance from a side determined to turn the tables.

Hull had begun by looking the keener side and it was a fair reflection of the flow of play when Mike Dixon caught Wigan cold with a slippery run to open the scoring in the ninth minute. Mark Hewitt kicked the conversion and then an easy extra penalty.

Wigan found it difficult to string together enough passes to get into Hull's half and even when they did they were driven back by the enthusiasm of the home side's defence.

Five minutes before half- time, Hull's greater enterprise saw them go further ahead. Dixon made a promising break, Chico Jackson carried it on and released a superb one-handed pass to send in Jeff Doyle.

Just as they had here in the Challenge Cup, however, Wigan scored seconds before half-time, Martin Dermott's lofted pass finding Jason Robinson to keep their hopes alive.

That echo of the recent past induced some Hull edginess and they were kept under pressure early in the second half. They continued, nevertheless, to defend as though they were the side with a championship to win. They went agonisingly close to tying up the victory when Doyle went over the try- line only to be turned on to his back, and Dixon was also desperately close to scoring again.

Wigan seemed to have made the crucial breakthrough when Joe Lydon crossed in the corner with 11 minutes to go, but he was called back for a forward pass. Three minutes later, Danny Divet and Dixon linked beautifully to settle the issue, Richard Gay finishing off the move and Hewitt adding the goal.

Hull: Gay; R Nolan, G Nolan, Grant, Sterling; Hasler, Hewitt; Walker (McNamara, 54), Dixon, Street (Walker, 73), Jackson (Sharp, 73), Doyle, Sharp (Divet, 54).

Wigan: Atcheson; Robinson, Mather, Connolly, Offiah; Botica, Edwards; Skerrett, Dermott, Cowie (Lydon, 61), Cassidy, Farrell, Panapa (Bell, 40; Panapa, 76).

Referee: D Campbell (Widnes).