In an incredible reign of form, Hull FC won thirteen consecutive Super League games back in 2006.
It took the Airlie Birds to their highest ever finish in the summer competition, coming second behind St Helens, and following a tricky play-off run, a first appearance in the Grand Final.
But things looked so bleak early on. Hull won just three of their opening eight games, and the defence of the Challenge Cup was ended at the first hurdle. Something had to give, and the club ended up sacking then head coach John Kear, bringing in Peter Sharp a few weeks later.
Sharp’s first game was the massacre of Wigan, with Richard Agar, assistant to both Kear then Sharp, overseeing the first three games of the winning run.
What transpired was remarkable, and hasn’t been matched by a Hull side since.
1 – Huddersfield 18 Hull 26 – Richard Agar deserved tremendous credit for steering the Hull ship after John Kear’s departure. Peter Sharp was quick to point out Agar’s contribution when he arrived. A hard fought win in West Yorkshire kick-started the winning sequence, and Hull wouldn’t taste defeat again until the end of July.
2 – Hull 36 Wakefield 24 – This was the third win of the season against Trinity, but despite going all the way to a relegation decider against Castleford, it was never easy against them. Luckily for Hull, club legend Kirk Yeaman was at the peak of his powers, and came up with another hat-trick of a prolific try-scoring season. He managed 21 tries in his first 15 games before injuring his ankle. Without that knock, he was on course for the Super League record. Massive shame.
3 – Catalans 28 Hull 34 – Hull FC’s first visit to the South of France to play Catalans was a narrow victory. It took another Yeaman hat-trick to see off the French outfit, who had Kiwi icon Stacey Jones pulling the strings. Never seen a game with more interception tries. It was madness at times in the French sun.
4 – Hull 54 Wigan 12 – Unthinkable today but Wigan were heading for relegation in 2006, and even more so after this nine try mauling. It was looking a certainty until they considerably broke the salary cap to stay up. To no surprise the RFL overlooked it, because what would Super League be without Wigan. Braces for Motu Tony, Nathan Blacklock and Kirk Dixon secured the win, with Paul Cooke landing all nine conversion attempts.
5 – Hull 28 Bradford 12 – This game will probably be remembered most for Hull wearing their away kit for a home game. It wasn’t the first or last time Bradford conveniently brought the wrong kit, but it didn’t matter, as a masterclass from Paul Cooke and Richard Horne ripped them apart, ensuring Peter Sharps first official win as Hull FC coach.
6 – Leeds 28 Hull 44 – Vintage Hull FC display at Headingley. The Black and Whites were 36-6 up shortly after the half-time break. The final result looks much more respectable than the game actually was. Paul Cooke at the peak of his powers was unplayable during his Hull FC career and this was as good as it got.
7 – Hull 19 Huddersfield 6 – Richard Horne with a try and drop goal had a huge influence in turning this win in Hull FC’s favour. Huddersfield were finding their feat in Super League and were starting to emerge as a top end side, but Hull, soon to be second in the table, were too strong.
8 – St Helens 26 Hull 27 – Without any doubt the greatest side in the history of Super League, this St Helens team was incredible, and the way Hull beat them on this occasion was astonishing. 16-6 down Hull clawed their way back to lead 16-26, thanks largely to who else but the magnificent Paul Cooke, who after Saints levelled at 26-26, kicked an insane 40+ metre drop goal to win the game. Scenes. Absolute scenes. To think what the club could have achieved if he wasn’t a dickhead and buggered off to the old enemy.
9 – Hull 30 London 16 – Hull FC’s form slightly deteriorated after the Saints win, but it didn’t stop them winning rugby league matches. A Richard Horne try brace was enough to seal the win against the Londoners. Amongst the likes of Paul Cooke and Richard Swain, the Hull-born half back was in the form of his life, with his trademark fend and footwork kick-starting his record equalling try-scoring run.
10 – Hull 28 Castleford 10 – Cas scored straight from the kick-off following a rare Cooke mistake, but he, along with his team-mates, soon made amends. Motu Tony at this stage was really excelling at fullback and found himself on the score-sheet again, amongst regular try scorers Richard Horne and Nathan Blacklock.
11 – Catalans 16 Hull 24 – The second trip to France of the season ended with another hard fought victory. In form Richard Horne starred yet again and there was only ever one outcome, with the returning Shaun Briscoe diving under the posts for a try on his return to the side, thanks to the half backs brilliance.
12 – Salford 20 Hull 24 – Gareth Raynor’s controversial try was the games major talking point after this late comeback. Luckily for Hull a desire to keep the ball alive paid off, with Raynor finishing to the disgust of then Salford coach, and former Hull player, Karl Harrison. On a lighter note, both Horne brothers scored tries, with Richard, following Graeme’s try, breaking the Super League record for successive try-scoring appearances.
13 – Hull 36 Warrington 24 – On a hot summers night, it was another significant contribution by the Horne family that secured the final win in the thirteen game sequence. Horne, just one try off equalling Jack Harrison’s long standing record, got his moment, thanks to younger brother Graeme, who supplied his elder sibling when he could have quite easily scored himself. A sentimental moment in a season to savour.