Hull FC Academy recorded their biggest win of the 2023 campaign, scoring fourteen tries in a 76-10 victory over Newcastle Thunder Under 18s at Kingston Park.
Hull’s mercurial left edge tore Newcastle to shreds, with first-year Academy winger Roman Dawson scoring four tries to take his tally for the season to eight.
Ryan Westerman, Sully Medforth and Will Kirby all chipped in with braces, whilst Jack Charles, Lennon Clark, Jack Horsfield and Callum Barfield also got in on the scoring act as the Black & Whites ran riot on Tyneside.
The first ten minutes gave little indication that Hull FC would post a 70-point victory, with Newcastle starting brightest following a couple of errors from the visitors.
But Hull came through their sloppy spell early on and got off the mark when Barfield’s quick play-the-ball allowed Westerman to score down the shortside.
The centre made it a quickfire double just two minutes later, running a strong line to take in Mackenzie Harman’s bullet pass and pierce a hole through the Newcastle defensive line.
Cracks were beginning to appear in the Thunder rear guard and Hull were in no mood to show mercy, particularly on the left edge. Fullback Charles found back-rower Kirby with a short pass, who had too much power from close range to get over for his first try of the season.
Matters got worse for the hosts before they even had another touch of the ball, with Ben Johnson making a blistering break down the left edge, drawing in fullback Oliver Shaw and providing the pass for Dawson to open his account for the evening.
Hull had a fifth try within a scintillating fifteen minute period as Charles athletically leapt into the air to claim a Harman kick, wrestling the ball over the whitewash despite the best efforts of two Newcastle defenders.
Harman’s evening got better when he added another assist to his tally, finding back-rower Clark with a well-timed pass. There was still work for Clark to do after taking the ball under his spell, but he successfully fended off an opponent and showed enough pace to finish the move.
Having posted back-to-back tries down the right edge, the Black & Whites examined their left edge attack again and came up with four more points once more as Medforth demonstrated his support play to take in Kirby’s pass and score under the sticks.
Before the half-time whistle sounded, there was still time for Hull’s youngsters to continue adding to their points haul. Once more, Kirby found himself covering on the wing, taking in a cutout pass and unselfishly finding Dawson on the inside.
HALF-TIME: Thunder Academy 0-44 Hull Academy
With the end result beyond doubt at the interval, Hull could’ve taken their foot off the gas, but Michael Shenton’s side refused to relent. They crossed the whitewash again just six minutes into the second half when Kirby timed his run to perfection, allowing Harman to provide him with his second try of the night.
Hull’s left edge continued to ooze class and a lovely interchanging move between Dawson and Medforth saw the latter race clear to take FC past the half-century mark.
The Black & Whites made a mess of the kick-off restart, though, gifting cheap possession to Newcastle, who had scarcely enjoyed possession on the FC line. But they took advantage of their field position to thwart Hull’s attempts at claiming a clean sheet when Leo Bradley snuck in down the shortside from close range.
Still, that didn’t knock the Hull spirit and Charles’ cutout pass sent Barfield in at the right corner.
Jack Horsfield impressed on his Academy debut against Hull KR just under a fortnight ago, and the prop forward was rewarded with more game time against Newcastle. Another workmanlike performance will have pleased the coaching team, who would have been especially thrilled to see him break through a tackle and run clear to score his first Academy try.
As Hull threatened to post more points after a Charles break, Medforth’s pass to the left wing was well intercepted by Jacob Rennison. The back-rower raced the length of the field to get over for Newcastle’s second try of the evening.
Despite running in a number of tries, the visitors still had their fair share of defending to do, especially in the second-half, with some good efforts on display. Another Thunder move broke down when Dawson intercepted a Joe Bradley pass, with the winger sprinting 90 metres to claim his hat-trick try.
He quickly made it four tries, though, showing great evasion skill to weave between Bradley and Shaw and cross the try line underneath the posts to rubber stamp a resounding victory in the North East.
FULL-TIME: Thunder Academy 10-76 Hull Academy
Squads & Scorers
Hull: Charles, Barfield, Westerman, Johnson, Dawson, Harman, Medforth, Thompson, Hutchinson, Wainhouse, Kirby, Clark, Hodgson
Hull Interchanges: Dulson, Haldenby, Horsfield, Lowthorpe
Hull Tries: Westerman (2), Kirby (2), Dawson (4), Charles, Clark, Medforth (2), Barfield, Horsfield
Hull Goals: Harman (10/14)
Thunder: Shaw, J Bradley, Cullen, Snowden, L Bradley, Siddle, Bragg, Bolton, Gray, Lowery, Breeze, Rennison, Ikwue
Thunder Interchanges: Bodman, Deakin, Handy, Stringer
Thunder Tries: L Bradley, Rennison
Thunder Goals: Shaw (1/2)