Academy Under 19 League – Top Four Play-Off – Friday 18th September – St Helens 34 Hull 14 – Langtree Park
Hull FC’s gutsy, depleted and hardworking U19 side fell to defeat to St Helens in the academy top four play-off, despite taking two first half leads.
Connor Bower, fit from a knee injury that has seen him miss the last six weeks, scored an early brace as Hull looked to reach the pre-season target of a final itself.
Arguably they would have done just that if a full selection pool was made available to them, but – and credibly so – Hull still made a real go of it with six squad members missing. Impressively five starlets were once again playing first grade and of course the other absentee being Callum Lancaster who is still nursing a wrist injury.
Saints have now beaten Hull four times this year, with the young Black and Whites also suffering a hat-trick of defeats to Wigan.
Richard Horne’s men magnificently disposed of Warrington to be in this situation, but on this occasion they couldn’t further their heroics, as St Helens scored three tries either side of half time to ease to victory.
For the East Yorkshire outfit though there’s a sense of pride in their first team representation, which has seen two players rake up a two figure amount in appearances, and four more in the past fortnight alone at have made significant strides.
Potentially the last ever fixture at U19 level with Hull FC’s own identity, badge and colours, it’s an end of an era for ahead of the controversial academy merger.
Many fans are still left bemused by such a decision, and one given the nature of the U19s recent Super League showings that has a lot of questions to answer for.
For this crop of players though there’s the further chance to shine in the intriguing U23 league, which starts it’s maiden voyage next season.
Departures are still yet to be made public, with university on the mind of some of the personnel. Matty Liggins looks set for Leeds Beckett, Callum Smith to Bishop Burton’s rugby union scholarship, with the highest pedigree Masimbaashe Matongo’s future yet to be announced.
One thing is clear though, this highly talented bunch are ring fenced, ensuring they will remain eligible for Hull FC only, even if playing in a joint City of Hull academy.
St Helens Starting XIII: 18. Ricky Bailey, 2. Dan Eccleston, 16. Jake Spedding, 4. Matthew Fleming, 22. Matty Costello, 6. Danny Richardson, 7. Rob Fairclough, 8. Ross McCauley, 9. Josh Caves, 23. Levy Nzoungou, 11. Olly Davies, 13. Morgan Knowles, 21. Joe Ryan. Interchange: 20. Jonah Cunningham, 15. Ben Morris, 12. Liam Cooper, 10. Matty Lees.
Saints Tries: 6 Goals: 5
Hull Starting XIII: 1. Jack Sanderson, 2. Josh Poskitt, 3. Connor Bower, 4. Zeus Silk, 5. Callum Smith, 6. Harry Tyson-Wilson, 7. Reece Dean, 8. Masimbaashe Matongo, 9. Josh Wood, 10. Matty Liggins, 11. Ash Bastiman, 12. Jordan Lane, 13. Brad Clavering. Interchange: 14. Ross Osborne, 15. Charlie Weaver, 16. Brad Harrison, 17. Jez Litten.
Hull Tries: Bower 2, Smith. Goals: Dean 1/3
Referee: Mr G Straw