Rugby League: Weston inspires Huddersfield to overcome season- long rivals at last

Huddersfield 18 Hull 0
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The Independent Online
Huddersfield 18 Hull 0

Huddersfield, beaten for promotion to Super League and knocked out of the Challenge Cup by Hull this season, finally have their day of triumph over them, writes Dave Hadfield.

Tries either side of half-time gave them a decisive lead in a gripping Divisional Premiership decider at Old Trafford and they kept going superbly to achieve the rare feat of keeping a clean sheet in a major final.

The crucial moment for a Huddersfield team for whom 1997 had been a year of frustration came two minutes before the break when their stand- off and man of the match, Craig Weston, put through a low kick that always looked destined to hit Hull's goalpost. When it did so, the rebound left the defence stranded for Ali Davys to touchdown.

It was perhaps a fortunate way to take the lead, especially after Hull had seen two first-half tries disallowed - one for an obvious double movement by Mark Johnson, the other more debatably when Tevita Vaikona's pass ricocheted for David Boyd. It was, however, a fair reflection of 40 minutes during which Huddersfield had always looked the sharper, livelier side.

They took firm control three minutes after the break, through Veivers taking a long pass from Weston and the Hull defence getting its sums wrong. Two tacklers were covering the wing but both went for Veivers leaving James Bunyan free to take his pass and score.

Paul Cook, who had landed the first conversion, missed this one, but later added two penalties.

There was still time for the First Division champions to come back but Huddersfield had settled for the task by now. Their pack, lead by Neil Harmon, was dominant and Hull's organisation was nothing like good enough to turn matters around.

With two minutes to play, Vaikona spilled the ball in a tackle and Andy Cheetham swooped on it to go over for the third Huddersfield try.

Huddersfield: Veivers; Cook, Bunyan, Hanger, Cheetham; Weston, Davys; Harmon, Russell, Fozzard, Bowes, King, Sturm. Substitutes: Booth, Richards, Berry, Dixon.

Hull: Holmes; Hallas, Gray, Vaikona, Johnson; Nolan, Hewitt; Wilson, M Dixon, Ireland, Boyd, Schultz, Hepi. Substitutes: Danby, Campbell, Jackson, David.

Referee: J Connolly (Wigan).