Finley Yeaman scored three of sixteen tries in a thrilling 46-24 victory for Hull FC Academy against Castleford Tigers Under 18s on Saturday afternoon.
Manoa Wacokecoke and Lewis Martin also contributed to the try-fest with the outside backs both crossing for braces.
Callum Shaw, Denive Balmforth and Mackenzie Harman were also on the scoresheet as Hull remain the only unbeaten side in the Academy Championship this season.
It didn’t take long for the mood of the match to be set when Shaw opened the scoring in the right corner after the Tigers conceded the first penalty of the afternoon.
Hull punished Castleford for more ill-discipline when Wacokecoke crossed from dummy half in the left corner, just after Sully Medforth’s speculative pass had almost put Martin away in the same spot.
Halfback Medforth was pulling all of the strings and his pass sent Zach Jebson on a bustling run, only for the back-rower to get a quick play-the-ball away to allow Balmforth in for FC’s third from dummy half.
Having established a 14-0 lead inside eleven minutes, Castleford responded by showing that they too could score three tries just as quickly.
First, Callum Beety crashed over from close range against a helpless Wacokecoke. Then, Leighton Davies took on the line and found a gap to reach out to score. The Tigers then had a third when Alfie Mitchell scooted over from dummy half following a dubious play-the-ball.
Despite a frenetic first half-an-hour, the scores remained relatively low due to some disappointing goal-kicking from both sides, and it was Hull who stretched their lead further when Yeaman caught the Castleford defence napping to score from dummy half.
There was another twist before the interval when a nice move to the left edge saw Castleford’s Hugo Nikhata power his way down the wing and score in the corner. However, another missed conversion kept Hull in front by two points at the break.
HALF-TIME: Tigers 16-18 Hull
The hosts thought they had taken the lead for the first time in the game when Mckenzie Coulson claimed he had grounded the ball in-goal. But the referee judged that fullback Logan Moy had heroically held up the Castleford centre.
Hull’s celebrations with Moy were short-lived, though. A couple of minutes later, the Tigers had FC stripped for numbers and Tom Marris was able to coast through a gap to make it 20-18 to Cas.
Not too often have Hull’s Academy found themselves behind in any game this season, and Castleford’s lead lasted for no more than one minute when Will Charlesworth spilled the kick-off. Just a few plays into the set and Yeaman punished the error by scoring from dummy half once again.
That seemed to do enough to knock the wind out of Castleford’s sails. The proof was in the pudding when Harman broke out of a poor tackle attempt to score underneath the posts.
Realising that the hour mark was as good as any point to start throwing the kitchen sink at Hull, Castleford’s hands were on their heads when Martin raced into the clear from inside his own ten metre line to score undoubtedly the try of the game, giving the visitors a 14-point advantage with less than a quarter of the game remaining.
Martin was in for a second when a lovely cutout ball from Balmforth to Wacokecoke gave the Fijian a simple catch and pass exercise.
But another missed conversion just about kept Castleford in the contest with ten minutes to go as the hosts trailed 38-20.
The deficit was cut with nine minutes left when Calvin Sandhu stepped around Shaw to score in the left corner.
However, Yeaman made sure of the win and sealed his hat-trick when he raced into position at dummy half and wriggled around to ground the ball in the in-goal area.
Then, in the final minute of the game, Wacokecoke rubber stamped the victory when he was on the receiving end of a simple catch and pass from Brandon Wright.
It’s six wins from six games now for Michael Shenton’s side. They sit just below St Helens in the Academy Championship on points difference, having played one game less than the Merseyside club.
The Academy are back on home soil when they face Bradford Bulls Under 18s at the University of Hull on Saturday 4th June (1.00pm kick-off).
FULL-TIME: Tigers 24-46 Hull
Squads & Scorers
Hull: Moy, Shaw, Masike, Wacokecoke, Martin, Harman, Medforth, Laidlaw, Balmforth, Staveley, Wright, Jebson, Armstrong
Hull Interchanges: Bursell, Mafi, Radford, Yeaman
Hull Tries: Shaw, Wacokecoke (2), Balmforth, Yeaman (3), Harman, Martin (2)
Hull Goals: Medforth (2/9), Harman (1/1)
Tigers: Groves, Charlesworth, Coulson, Marris, Nikhata, Tang, Davies, Beety, Sandhu, Tooala, Willis, Dean, Mallinson
Tigers Interchanges: Green, Mitchell, Thompson, Walsh
Tigers Tries: Beety, Davies, Mitchell, Nikhata, Marris, Sandhu
Tigers Goals: Davies (0/6)