Hull FC Reserves suffered their first defeat of the 2023 campaign, slipping to a 38-18 defeat at the hands of Leeds Rhinos Reserves in miserable West Yorkshire conditions.
Leeds’ experience helped them assume a 22-0 lead, but Mackenzie Harman cut the deficit on the stroke of half-time.
Although the Rhinos continued to add to their tally in the second-half, Hull’s tenacious efforts were rewarded through further tries from Sully Medforth and Manoa Wacokecoke at a soaking wet Headingley Stadium.
A strong start from the hosts put Hull under pressure and it was the Black & Whites who were first to cough up possession on the greasy surface. The Rhinos shifted the ball wide to the right and centre Luis Roberts opened the scoring.
Within the blink of an eye, Leeds doubled their lead. They marched up the field thanks to a couple of six-agains, before Jack Sinfield dummied through the defensive line from close range to the right of the posts.
Despite finding themselves 12-0 behind inside ten minutes, the Black & Whites dug deep to try and work their way back into the contest. They threatened to post their first points of the match, but Leeds continued to keep the door firmly closed.
Sinfield took matters into his own hands to put Leeds back into the ascendency, having been on the back foot for a lengthy spell in the first-half, using the slippery surface to help him execute a much-needed 40/20. On the back of that kick, it was Sinfield himself with another show and go to slide over for the Rhinos’ third of the evening, this time to the left side of the uprights.
Shortly after Sinfield claimed his brace, Roberts was keen for one of his own. A quick break down the right edge of the field saw the centre kick through for himself and win the race to ground the ball in the in-goal area.
But Hull weren’t down and out. They had a reward for their first-half efforts when Harman got on the end of Medforth’s well-measured grubber kick underneath the posts on the cusp of half-time.
HALF-TIME: Rhinos Reserves 22-6 Hull Reserves
Having conceded a handful of six-agains early in the second-half, Hull’s backs were once again up against the wall. With Leeds gaining some big momentum in the ruck, Bailey Aldridge took advantage and crossed the whitewash from dummy-half at close range.
With their tails up, the Rhinos got over for their sixth try of the evening when Leon Ruan got possession of the ball and sidestepped his way past a couple of defenders to score in the right corner.
Despite the soaking conditions, Hull’s willingness to let the ball sing was admirable. Their expansive play saw Harman chip a kick over to Barron on the right wing, with the winger supplying Jude Thompson on the inside. The prop forward had Medforth there in support to finish off a brilliant move under the posts.
However, the conditions were making life difficult as the game entered the closing stages. Hull couldn’t deal with Kai Morgan’s awkward kick along the ground and Keenan Dyer-Dixon was there to pounce on the loose ball.
Still, Michael Shenton’s side valiantly continued plugging away into the final moments, and they crossed for another impressive try. This time, Medforth kicked through on the back of a scrum, allowing Lewis Martin to give chase down the left wing. Although he fumbled his attempted kick-through of the ball, Wacokecoke wasn’t much further behind to thump the ball forwards with his left boot and land on it just before going dead.
FULL-TIME: Rhinos Reserves 38-18 Hull Reserves
Squads & Scorers
Hull: Moy, Barron, Shaw, Wacokecoke, Martin, Harman, Medforth, Stewart, Hodgson, Dulson, Severs, Jebson, Armstrong
Hull Interchanges: Ferreira, Hutchinson, Thompson, Wainhouse
Hull Tries: Harman, Medforth, Wacokecoke
Hull Goals: Harman (3/3)
Rhinos: Edgell, Tchamambe, Ruan, Roberts, Dyer-Dixon, Morgan, Sinfield, Walters, Aldridge, Nicholson-Watton, Warren, Hursey-Hord, Shaw
Rhinos Interchanges: Gannon, Gilmore, Orr, Robinson
Rhinos Tries: Roberts (2), Sinfield (2), Aldridge, Ruan, Dyer-Dixon
Rhinos Goals: Sinfield (4/6), Morgan (1/1)