Hull 40-33 Preston Grasshoppers
Poor tackling Hoppers undoing.
Having been stuck in traffic on the journey to Hull, Hoppers got off to a flying start, with three tries in the first half, in front of a sparse crowd of about fifty supporters. Hull kicked off in bright, still conditions, resulting in a line out to Preston in their own twenty two. After several phases of possession, Hull gave a penalty away which was kicked over their try line. Following the catch and drive the ball was secured and a ruck resulted in an advantage penalty to the visitors. The first Preston try was scored by Wilkinson and converted by Hunt after six minutes of play.
Strong running play developed further into a pattern for the visitors. Hull couldn’t make several counter attacks work and the visitors scored two further tries before half time, by Spence on twenty minutes and Lightowler (pictured above) on twenty eight minutes, the latter converted successfully by Hunt. The hosts’ only solace in the first half was a penalty kick by full back Dean on twenty five minutes. Hull submitted to a yellow card shortly before the half time whistle sounded.
Half time scores Hull three-Preston nineteen.
The second half commenced with a slightly overcast sky and a soft breeze behind the visiting players’ backs. A complete contrast to the first half, the hosts secured three tries by centre Faraimo, all converted by full back Dean. Hoppers had no answer to Faraimo’s strong running and deceptive changes of direction. Dean slotted three penalties in the second half, but Hoppers didn’t lose hope, with Pope driving over the try line on forty four minutes. The conversion was successful. Going into injury time, Hunt converted his own try to take the final scores to forty to Hull and thirty three to Hoppers.
Hull’s second half dominance was sufficient for the win, with the visitors going home with two bonus points for their try count and the loss by seven points or fewer.
Hull’s star player was scrum half Naylor, for his sharp thought and action, with a mention of Faraimo’s second half hat trick of tries. Preston’s equivalent award was awarded to skipper Scott Richardson.
By John Freeman.