Hull FC Reserves have had more fifty point wins this year than Jamie Peacock’s had five-year plans, but here they were once again clinical, beating a strong Keighley outfit 50-8 at Brantingham Park.
The West Yorkshire outfit brought with them many of their first team squad, including Hull 2005 Cup winner Jamie Thackray, but there were no match for an FC side that boasted some very promising youngsters and a dash of fringe player quality.
Following on from a big win for the Hull FC Ladies side, the Reserves turned it on. In the first half they were okay, but in the second they were ruthless, with a total of nine tries scored. Youngsters Jez Litten and Jack Brown both got a try brace each. Litten ran the show from hooker and played the full game. He’s electric from the play of the ball and has so much speed, as demonstrated by his second breakaway try. Litten is a talent, make no mistake there, he’s far too good for this level, yet first team opportunities for one reason or another have been limited this year.
Brown on the other hand is looking really promising. He’s still a teenager but he’s ticking all the boxes. He expertly twisted out the tackle for his first try and ran a great line for his second. More importantly though he ran hard all game and put some hits in. He’s not the most tallest of props but packs a punch.
There was a welcome return to the field for Jordan Lane too, who has sat out the past few months injured. Lane played big minutes and was solid in everything he did, and is now another option for Radford to use should he wish to freshen up or rotate the squad.
Reserves coach Richard Tate gave a run out to Danny Washbrook, as well as first team players Dean Hadley, Kieran Buchanan and Lewis Bienek. Buchanan played at full back, easily scooted over for one try, and was solid. The club seem keen to try the young man out in a few positions, but he’s doing really well wherever asked and his attitude seems exemplary. Washbrook meanwhile perfected his right foot step for his try, whilst Hadley was solid as you would expect him to be at this level. Bienek was okay, but with his frame you want to see him powering over players like in his Academy highlight reel.
Keighley competed well in the first half but Hull ran away with it in the second. The Black and Whites played some good stuff. Of course there were errors but the general ball movement was good and they scored some eye-catching tries. One of those was from speedster winger Charlie Graham, who touched down to add to his impressive try total. He’s a good lad is Graham, in his first year at Hull, he works hard and fits well into the team.
In the three-quarters Joe Rustill got himself a try, whereas Jack Bartlett got another go at this level. Ben McNamara rounded off the try-scoring with an excellent team try, and of the amateur contingent, Harvey Gotts looks the part. The loose forward is from the old school. He’s not the biggest but his ball skills are first class. The no-look pass for one of Brown’s tries was sublime. Elliot Townsend and Ryan Price also ran hard at prop, and fit into the side well.
In truth more tougher run outs for this side will be most welcome indeed. The Reserves’ only two defeats this year have come at Featherstone, and they’ve come with more youthful line ups named. Wins meanwhile have generally been comfortable and there’s a longing for the full-blooded competition next year, and the challenges that say a Wigan or St Helens provide.
That’s not to disrespect Keighley or this side at all. Playing is better than training after all, but rugby league needs to give it’s developing players the very best opportunity to reach the top level, and you achieve that by playing in matches that offer the most intensity and quality.
Still, this was an impressive showing from Hull, who be content with their efforts. On the dual reg front, both Levy Nzoungou and Connor Wynne played in a Doncaster side that hammered West Wales, whilst both Liam Harris and Cameron Scott played in York’s win at Sheffield on Friday night.
Hull Reserves Starting XIII: Kieran Buchanan, Charlie Graham, Ryan Johnson, Jack Bartlett, Joe Rustill, Ben McNamara, Kieran Smith, Jack Brown, Jez Litten, Elliot Townsend, Dean Hadley, Jordan Lane, Danny Washbrook. Interchange: Harvey Gotts, Ryan Price, Ryan Langton, Ryan Devaney, Lewis Bienek.
Hull Tries: Litten 2, Washbrook, Buchanan, Graham, Rustill, Brown 2, McNamara. Goals: Litten 6/8, McNamara 1/1.
Keighley Starting XIII: Alfred Seeley, Marcus Webb, William Cooke, Macauley Hallett, Jordan Fitzpatrick-Parry, Billy Gaylor, Benn Hardcastle, Kieran Moran, Christophe Cullimore, Spencer Darley, Daniel Parker, Aaron Levy, David Weetman. Interchange: David Dixon, Jack Coventry, Jamie Thackray, Luke Million, Matthew Bailey, Mark Barlow, Jack Arnold, Jordan Cella, Morgan Robinson, Adam Allerton, Brandon Godward.
Keighley Tries: Dixon, Robinson. Goals: 0/2
Scoring System: 6-0, 12-0, 18-0, 18-4, 24-4, 30-4, 34-4, 40-4, 46-4, 46-8, 50-8