Hull FC Scholarship dug deep to earn a hard-fought 32-16 victory over Wakefield Trinity Scholarship at the Flair Stadium this evening.
Hull took a slender lead into the break, against the run of play, after Mitchell McIntyre and Freddie Watts crossed the whitewash.
Mason Tempest grabbed an early second half try, and despite a hopeful Wakefield response, McIntyre’s second and a late Max Nutbrown score sealed a gritty opening round victory for FC’s Under 16s.
It was a tough start to the evening for Hull, as back-to-back Wakefield sets cost them dearly. George Britton rode a couple of challenges well to get his body in a position to bounce over the try line.
Hull hung on in there early on as the Wakefield pressure mounted, and a big impact from the interchange bench got the visitors back on terms when prop forward McIntyre bulldozed his way over from just under 10 metres out.
However, Trinity remained in control of the match and deservedly regained the lead. Quick hands and good footwork saw Oliver McCraw escape the clutches of the Hull defenders to score in the corner.
As a fatigued FC looked set to concede for a third time, Eligh Wilkinson shot out of the defensive line to intercept a Britton pass out wide. The winger had the presence of mind to feed the ball to Watts on the inside, who put the afterburners on to score underneath the posts from 80 metres out. Six points quickly became eight, though, as the referee had spotted foul play from the Wakefield defender in his attempts to stop Watts in the act of scoring by using his knees. So Watts tagged on both conversions to give Hull a four-point lead at the break.
HALF-TIME: Trinity Scholars 10-14 Hull Scholars
Encouraged by a spirited end to the first half, the Black & Whites struck again just under ten minutes into the second half. Ethan Render found Tempest on a short lead, and the Wakefield defenders were helpless from such close range.
The game continued to hang in the balance, though, such was Trinity’s resolve. And they cut the deficit back to four points when Sam Mackenzie put Charlie Harmer through a hole to score under the sticks.
Disaster struck from the kick-off restart, though. Hull regained possession thanks to a fortunate bounce of the ball, and from the resulting set, McIntyre careered over the try line in similar fashion to his first-half score.
Hull’s Finley Mainprize was sent to the sin-bin with just under a quarter of the game remaining after committing a professional foul in his desperate attempts to keep the hosts at bay.
Despite the numerical disadvantage, the impetus remained with Hull FC and McIntyre thought he had a rare hat-trick, only to be held up over the try line.
Just before Mainprize’s reintroduction from the sin-bin, steely defence from Hull forced Finley Thompson to knock on over the try line with just eight minutes to go.
The Black & Whites were able to celebrate a strong second-half performance when dynamic hooker Alistair Swyer sent Nutbrown cantering over with a money ball from dummy half with three minutes to go.
FULL-TIME: Trinity Scholars 16-32 Hull Scholars
Squads & Scorers
Hull: L Kemp, Matson, Nicholson, Watkinson, Wilkinson, O’Brien, C Kemp, Opie, Thompson, Howe, Tempest, Calvert, Watts
Hull Interchanges: Mainprize, McIntyre, Nutbrown, Render, Smith, Swyer, Turner
Hull Tries: McIntyre (2), Watts, Tempest, Nutbrown
Hull Goals: Watts (5/5), C Kemp (1/1)
Trinity: Mackenzie, Emery, Crawshaw, Molyneux, McCraw, Britton, Kershaw, Emmerson, Stephenson, Briggs, Barnes, Law, Thompson
Trinity Interchanges: Ellis, Hardie, Hartley, Harmer, Lingard, Nicklin, Sheard
Trinity Tries: Britton, McCraw, Harmer
Trinity Goals: Molyneux (2/3)