Super League Round Ten – Friday 10th April – Hull 22 Widnes 8 – KC Stadium
A hat-trick for the flying pig, aka Tom Lineham proved decisive for Hull FC on Friday night, as the Black and Whites followed up from their win at St Helens on Easter Monday to achieve a feat managed only once previously in Lee Radford’s reign; back to back victories, and much needed ones at that.
Played in front of the Sky camera’s it certainly wasn’t the most spectacular of affairs, but after all two points is two points, and it doesn’t matter how you get them. Grinding out the win in workmen like effect, four tries proved enough, as Hull took advantage of a pretty poor Widnes outfit.
It was man of the match Tommy the Tank who got the ball rolling, with a brilliant leaping finish those who regularly attend Hull matches are now all too familiar with. Trademark, classy and certainly not pig like. Rankin, now beardless, and deployed with the tee in Marc Sneyd’s absence, missed the difficult conversion.
Hull just like at Langtree Park were camped on their opposition line, chance after chance went by, and at the time the hosts were made to regret their mistakes, as Kevin Brown responded for the visitors, despite an obvious knock on by Patrick Ah Van the play before.
Referee Richard Silverwood in all honesty had a torrid night, his poor decision making was on the back of a very skinny ten, which hindered the entertainment value. Though with officiating something like eight games in eight days, one could maybe forgive some lapses, and for the sake of positivity put this down as a minor blip – or a failure to attend his Specsavers check-up.
Never-the-less the home side reinstated their authority, and it was the pick of the bunch Tom Lineham who raced away for his second, intercepting a looping Kevin Brown pass there was no stopping him, as he raced down the right touchline to the delight and cheer of the vocal and passionate East Stand. Rankin added the extras, ensuring Hull took a deserved six point lead into the break.
The second half started in the same manner as the first, and in a sense of de-ja-vu to the finale sprint in that famous Black and White nillin’ of Rovers last season, Lineham completed his hat-trick, with another inception, and a carbon copy of that famous try and drubbing of their nearest and dearest. Displayed at the same side of the pitch to last year’s effort, it was certainly a flashback, and further elevated the flying pig’s status, boy he can sure run.
Hull with a two score lead then got the game-breaker, with fullback Jamie Shaul adding the gloss to the victory, touching down a Jordan Rankin grubber that bounced off the post padding. An element of luck about it, but still well executed. It made a nice change to the usual chip to corner, or ‘up and under’.
Widnes’ Patrick Ah Van had the game’s final say, finishing superbly in mid-air, but it was little too late, as Hull ran out deserved winners, 22-8 the final score.
For Hull it brings them out the bottom two, and in touching distance of the top eight, and that makes for much better reading. Despite Tom Lineham’s heroics it wasn’t the most appealing night of rugby league, but as in the words of Leon Pryce, “it’s better to win ugly than lose pretty”, and after suffering numerous defeats by six points or less this year, few can dispute with that.
Hull Starting XIII: 1. Jamie Shaul, 2. Tom Lineham, 19. Steve Michaels, 5. Fetuli Talanoa, 20. Curtis Naughton, 6. Leon Pryce, 32. Jordan Rankin, 8. Mickey Paea, 9. Danny Houghton, 22. Josh Bowden, 3. Setaimata Sa, 12. Mark Minichiello, 13. Joe Westerman. Interchange: 14. Feka Paleaaesina, 16. Jordan Thompson, 23. James Cunningham, 34. Stuart Howarth.
Hull Tries: Lineham 3, Shaul. Goals: Rankin 3/5
Widnes Starting XIII: 1. Rhys Hanbury, 15. Jack Owens, 4. Stefan Marsh, 3. Cameron Phelps, 5. Patrick Ah Van, 6. Kevin Brown, 7. Joe Meller, 8. Eamon O’Carroll, 9. Lloyd White, 35. Gil Dudson, 14. Chris Dean, 11. Danny Galea, 25. Alex Gerrard. Interchange: 33. Aaron Heremaia, 23. Phil Joseph, 10. Manase Manuokafoa, 28. Matt Whitley
Widnes Tries: Brown, Ah Van. Goals: Owens 0/2
Referee: Richard Silverwood