HULL FC 14-12 LONDON BRONCOS
Sunday, 20 May 2012
Danny Tickle’s late penalty proved vital as Hull FC were made to work hard for a vital two points against a spirited London Broncos side this afternoon before running out 14-12 winners.
The Londoners looked good for a 6-0 lead as they dominated the first half against an incoherent Hull outfit, who managed to go into the half-time break all-square courtesy of a Ben Crooks try.
After the interval the Black and Whites were much improved and looked much sharper with the ball, finally sending Richard Whiting in for a well-worked try midway through the second period.
Tickle’s penalty with just over ten minutes to play extended their lead before the game finished with a flurry following a fortunate late try for Broncos full back Michael Robertson.
The Black and Whites were boosted by the return of two of their key men for the ‘on the road’ clash at Gillingham FC’s Priestfield Stadium, with Richard Horne and Joe Westerman both returning to the bench.
There was no place for injured Mark O’Meley nor youngster Jamie Ellis, whilst the Broncos included former FC man Scott Wheeldon and Omari Caro was brought into the side on the right wing in place of David Howell.
The hosts started the game very brightly and on the back of repeat sets and a number of penalties against the Black and Whites, they took a deserved lead on nine minutes as in-form youngster Kieran Dixon, fresh from a brace against Huddersfield Giants in the Challenge Cup, collected a cut out pass on the left wing to steal in at the corner for a converted try.
Hull were far from their normal controlled selves in the early stages, Danny Tickle kicking out on the full from the restart to invite the Broncos straight back at them and they nearly paid the price as Dan Sarginson was held up just inches short of the line, before being carried off later in the half with a troubling head injury.
It took almost quarter of an hour for the visitors to have their first real opportunity with the ball in hand but when it came they soon showed glimpses of the talent they possess, Brett Seymour in particular pulling all the strings from scrum half with some neat touches and well-disguised passes.
The Australian’s well craft step midway through the Broncos half and a testing high kick to the in-goal area finally gave Hull a taste of the opposition’s try line and from the resulting repeat set it took just two tackles to set youngster Ben Crooks through for his sides first try of the game and his second in as many matches.
Fast hands from Seymour, Richard Whiting and Willie Manu presented a glorious opportunity for the 18-year-old who simply ghosted his way past his absent markers just metres from the line to cruise in behind the posts with Tickle adding the extras.
Hull’s inconsistency and lack of control, compounded by a number of decisions from referee Alibert, was plaguing any chance of gaining a significant foothold in the match though as Broncos continued to push forward, yet they could have taken the lead for the first time when Jordan Turner almost ran the length of the field for an intercept try, only to be held up 10-metres short of the line following the rapid chase of winger Dixon.
Going in 6-6 at the break, FC could count themselves lucky with the Broncos wasting a number of opportunities to establish a significant lead, notably having a try ruled just before the hooter for obstruction and at the interval it seemed they would be left to rue their missed chances as much more composed and urgent Hull side re-emerged after the break.
A trademark line from Tickle down his side’s right channel was an early sign of things to come as he fell just short, before Peter Gentle’s men finally took the lead through Richard Whiting.
Much of the work was done in the previous set as Willie Manu went on a marauding run down field brushing aside man after man as the despairing challenges came in and with good field position it wasn’t long before opportunist Whiting spotted a hole in the Broncos line to collect a drop off from the Tongan powerhouse in the next set to curve his way to the try line for a converted score.
The Londoners continued to press hard to try and draw level but a far more composed approach from Hull in the second period was paying dividends as they dominated territory with the likes of Andy Lynch and Martin Aspinwall laying a strong platform for the team to play.
The introduction of the returning Richard Horne added another dynamic to Hull’s attack too with fifteen minutes to play, the long serving half back having an immediate impact as he almost put Tom Briscoe in for a try in the corner down the left before forcing a drop out seconds later with a short kick down the opposite side.
Despite the Black and Whites hunger for a try to seal the win though, it would be the trusty boot of Danny Tickle that would provide a timely cushion with ten minutes to play as he notched up a penalty from 10-metres out following a ball strip on Lynch.
Yet it wouldn’t be a comfortable finish for FC as just moments later Michael Robertson profited from a fortunate bounce of the ball in the in-goal area that deceived his opposite number Matty Russell to score a converted try and leave it a two point game.
Their cause for a late rally wasn’t helped though by Gower’s knock on from the kick off and Hull’s speed around the ruck penned in the Broncos who were really having to chance their arm in the final stages to try and force any clear opportunity.
Hull’s speed around the ruck and urgency in defence kept their opponents penned as they chanced their arm, but it wasn’t to be as Peter Gentle’s men hung on to secure a hard fought victory and two points that will look all the more rewarding come the end of the season and the final standings in the Super League table.
Hull FC: Russell, Sharp, Turner, Crooks, Briscoe, Whiting, Seymour, Moa, Houghton, Lynch, Manu, Tickle, Pitts | O’Carroll, Aspinwall, Westerman, Horne
Tries: Crooks, Whiting
Goals: Tickle (3/3)
London Broncos: Robertson, Dixon, Channing, O’Callaghan, Caro, Sarginson, Gower, Wheeldon, Witt, Clubb, Melling, Rodney, Bailey | Kaufusi, Bryant, Randell, Bolger
London Tries: Dixon, Robertson
Goals: Witt (1/1), Rodney (1/1)
Referee: T Alibert