Hull FC Academy had to do it the tough way to defeat a stubborn Wakefield Trinity Under 18s side 30-10 at the Be Well Support Stadium this afternoon.
Having established an early 16-0 lead through tries from Charlie Severs, Matty Laidlaw and Nick Staveley, Wakefield cut the deficit to six points when Jake Camplin and Joe Law scored back-to-back before the interval.
Either side of lengthy stoppages due to serious injuries for the hosts, Denive Balmforth was sent to the sin bin, but he came back on with a vengeance and scored a key try to secure the win shortly after Staveley had scored his second for the Black & Whites.
Buoyed by a comprehensive 44-10 win over Bradford’s youngsters last time out, Hull came flying out of the traps and opened the scoring after just three minutes when Staveley picked up a knock on and had the presence of mind to offload to Severs, who went over for his second try in as many games.
Hooker Balmforth has been a crucial part of Hull’s spine this season and he helped the visitors stretch their lead further when great deception at dummy half enabled the 18-year-old to put Laidlaw through a hole under the posts.
Hull’s rapid rucks early on were very much down to Balmforth’s industrious work and it was off the back of two quick play-the-balls that Staveley ran onto a short pass to power over from close range.
The visitors’ spell in the ascendancy didn’t last for much longer, though. Back-to-back errors in yardage sets opened the door for Wakefield, and they showed they needed no second invitation when Camplin squirmed over from dummy half.
Frustration continued to build for Hull’s youngsters when more errors and ill-discipline coaxed Trinity closer to scoring a second try, which eventually came when Law grounded the ball just before the referee called held on the last play.
HALF-TIME: Trinity 10-16 Hull
The game was brought to a halt several times early on in the second half due to Wakefield injuries. In total, it was 17 minutes that the game had been halted for since the restart. During that time, Balmforth was occupying the sin-bin for a dangerous contact on Camplin, but the hooker proved he was in the right frame of mind to help the Black & Whites get back on track when he had served his 10-minute suspension.
His control of the ruck speed largely helped Hull get out of a tough spell in the second half and march down the other end of the field. After earning a six-again, Laidlaw showed off his ball-playing capabilities with a delicious flat pass to send Staveley over the whitewash.
The home side’s confidence took an evident knock after Hull stretched their lead to twelve points, and that lead was soon eighteen when Balmforth made a cutthroat break from halfway two minutes later, fending off both the fullback and the centre to plant the ball firmly down on the white line with one hand.
Hull finished the game strongly and maturely, and that will have allayed any concerns about what Michael Shenton may have considered to have been a slightly below-par performance from FC’s youngsters.
Sully Medforth added two more points to the scoreboard when he elected to shoot for goal when the referee awarded Hull a penalty in the last minute of the game.
FULL-TIME: Trinity 10-30 Hull
Squads & Scorers
Hull: Opie-Palmer, Oldridge, Masike, Wacokecoke, Martin, Medforth, Chapman-Peterson, Laidlaw, Balmforth, Staveley, Severs, Jebson, Armstrong
Hull Interchanges: Bursell, Mafi, Moy, Stipetic
Hull Tries: Severs, Laidlaw, Staveley (2), Balmforth
Hull Goals: Medforth (5/6)
Trinity: Mann, Delaney, Law, Kavanagh, Burton, Phillips, Colton, Mkuhlani, Camplin, Tetley, Wood, Corke, Roberts
Trinity Interchanges: Hartley, Kirkwood, Lambert, Pratt
Trinity Tries: Camplin, Law
Trinity Goals: Mann (1/2)