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YORK CITY KNIGHTS 30-32 HULL FC

By Matt Holden | 21/01/2012

A young Hull FC side started pre-season with a fine victory edging out a seasoned York City Knights 32-30 at the Huntingdon Stadium.

Teenage centre Ben Crooks scored a brace as well as four goals as the Black and Whites worked hard for the win.

A new look half back combination of Danny Nicklas and Jamie Ellis pulled the strings, with the latter crossing the whitewash on his debut and the former producing a stand out performance in front of first-team coach Peter Gentle.

Fellow youngsters James Cunningham and Dean Hadley were equally impressive as Lee Radford’s men scored their first victory of 2012.

Former Hull FC players Chris Thorman, Paul King and Jordan Tansey all featured for York, registering on the score sheet, whilst more faces of FC past included forwards Jack Aldous and Alex Benson and former Foundation staff member James Haynes.

The Match

York started the game on the front foot, a fortunate ricochet handing them the ball in an attacking position straight from the kick-off. Fielding an experienced side, the hosts tested the Hull line on both flanks, forcing strong defence to keep them at bay and a clearing kick from Nicklas to relieve the pressure.

The young Hull half back, who missed most of last season with a serious leg injury, made a big impression in the opening 40 minutes for the Black and Whites, but it was former Knights winger Tom Lineham who opened the scoring inside the first 5 minutes with a length-of-the-field score.

Taking a quick tap on his own 20m line, Lineham charged through the York defence and cruised to the line, setting up a successful conversion for Crooks.

Nicklas then took centre stage once more, first his clever kick to the left corner catching out the full-back to give Jack Briscoe a simple score and then linking well with Ellis in the halves to create the space for Liam Cunningham to cross on the right edge, the centre showing good hands to catch a tricky final pass in blustery conditions.

Crooks added one conversion to his tally, but York stayed in touch thanks to a Haughey try that was sandwiched between the two Hull scores, and the Knights took the lead for the first time when former FC favourite Paul King and centre Matt Garside crashed over.

Former Hull scrum half Thorman converted all three scores to give his side an 18-16 lead at the break, although Hull did have a late Lineham effort chalked off for a foot in touch after a Nicklas 40/20 had given his side a good attacking position.

Hull began the second half much the stronger of the two sides, surging into a lead that would eventually be too great for the Championship side to overhaul.

First, Crooks claimed the first of his scores, taking a short pass to cross, before Ellis, last season’s Championship Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year, collected his own kick to notch down underneath the posts.

One conversion from Crooks took the score to 26-18 in favour of the Black and Whites, and Hull stretched their advantage when the promising young centre doubled his try tally following great build-up work by fellow England Academy star James Cunningham.

Crooks’ fourth goal of the evening gave his side a 32-18 lead mid-way into the second half and that was the way it stayed until a frantic final 10 minutes.

With Hull ringing the changes as Radford gave a run-out to all 26 members of his squad, Tansey crossed after backing up a Thorman break and James Haynes capitalised on a disorganised Hull defence to waltz over as the hooter sounded.

Thorman added both conversions, but a young Hull side held on for a deserved 32-30 victory to get 2012 up-and-running in the best possible fashion for the club.

Hull FC: Shaul, Lineham, L Cunningham, Crooks, Briscoe, Ellis, Nicklas, Bowden, Newton, Green, Kent, Hadley, Brown.

Subs: J Cunningham, Matthews, Gay, Crane, Platt, Starling, Kingdom, Jackson, Wilson, Penrose, Bell

Tries: Lineham, Briscoe, L Cunningham, Crooks (2), Ellis

Goals: Crooks (4/6)

York City Knights: Bush, Pryce, Ford, Garside, Haynes, Thorman, Tansey, Sullivan, Lee, King, Clarke, Haughey, Aldous.

Subs: Brining, Hemmings, Houston, Broughton, Benson, Smith, Hellewell

Tries: Haughey, King, Garside, Tansey, Haynes

Goals: Thorman (5/5)

Referee: S Ganson

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