Challenge Cup Quarter Final – Saturday 25th June – Hull FC 22 Catalans 8 – KCOM Stadium
Hull FC’s Challenge Cup fairy-tale continued at the KCOM Stadium with a nerve wracking 22-8 quarter final victory over the Catalans Dragons.
A superb and gritty second half performance secured the win, with the home sides physicality a step up from a tight and tense opening forty. Marc Sneyd’s kicking eased Hull home, with his magical boot almost faultless from both hand and tee as he controlled the game with firm half back dictatorship.
The tension at times was unbearable as Hull and Catalans locked into each other at a frantic velocity. Both sides had almighty forward packs at their disposal and they both made them count with strong metre making and second phase rugby on show.
Mark Minichiello was outstanding for the Black and Whites, whilst Chris Green continued his fine form of late with another energetic display. Hull just had too much fire power. Liam Watts’ first stint was as domineering as it gets as Scott Taylor and co continued to lay the platform.
It was at times a brutal first half with openings and chances limited. Catalans struck first as Benjamin Garcia touched down with a fortunate bounce off a Glenn Stewart kick, but that’s as good as it got for the French outfit.
Hull absorbed the pressure and hit back with a try for Stevie Michaels. Catalans failed to deal with the bomb with the winger taking full advantage.
Popular crowd figure Frank Pritchard then smashed his way over, with Sneyd’s boot giving the home side a 12-4 half time lead.
The second half at first was bundled with errors as Hull began to chance their arm. Shaul went close as the home outfits yardage started to dominate the French side.
Scott Taylor then hit Catalan were it hurt, busting through the line and sending Danny Houghton under the posts. Sneyd converted as Hull hit a commanding 18-4 lead.
Minichiello continued to rampage his way through the Catalan defence but the video ref ruled out a fourth try.
Catalan hit back as a sweeping move was finished off by Fouad Yaha. Richards missed the conversion though, with Hull taking a ten point lead into the final twenty minutes.
The home side at times panicked, and tried to force the pass when it was not needed, but they reassured themselves with two forty metre plus penalty goals from the ever reliable boot of Marc Sneyd.
At 22-8 the game was pretty much closed out, with the home side camped on the Catalans line.
No further tries came but a more than satisfying 22-8 victory was secured as Hull FC enter the Challenge Cup semi finals.
Hull Starting XIII: 1. Jamie Shaul, 19. Stevie Michaels, 2. Mahe Fonua, 24. Kirk Yeaman, 5. Fetuli Talanoa, 3. Carlos Tuimavae, 7. Marc Sneyd, 8. Scott Taylor, 9. Danny Houghton, 10. Liam Watts, 12. Mark Minichiello, 21. Sika Manu, 11. Gareth Ellis. Interchange: 23. Frank Pritchard, 15. Chris Green, 22. Josh Bowden, 30. Danny Washbrook.
Hull Tries: Michaels, Pritchard, Houghton. Goals: Sneyd 5/5.
Catalans Starting XIII: 21. Morgan Escare, 2, Jodie Broughton, 33. Benjamin Garcia, 5. Pat Richards, 20. Fouad Yaha, 6. Todd Carney, 27. Lucas Albert, 29. Willie Mason, 16. Elio Pelissier, 10. Remi Casty, 11. Glenn Stewart, 12. Justin Horo, 13. Jason Baitieri. Interchange: 14. Dave Taylor, 15. Jeremy Bousquet, 17. Gregory Mounis, 18. Thomas Bosc.
Catalans Tries: Garcia, Yaha. Goals: Richards 0/2.
3-2-1 Man of the Match: 3pts Minichiello, 2pts Green, 1pt Sneyd.
Scoring System: 0-4, 6-4, 12-4, 18-4, 18-8, 20-8, 22-8.
Referee: Ben Thaler