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Heart-breaking defeat for Hull FC
Hull FC 14 – 15 Wigan Warriors (Thursday August 1)
By Beverley Fm sports reporter Ian Judson at the KCom
Hull FC slipped to a controversial, heart-breaking late defeat at home to champions Wigan Warriors, in a game that was overshadowed by bad tempers and questionable refereeing decisions.
Hull players were incensed when Wigan forward Willie Isa was allowed to remain on the pitch after a vicious, late hit on Marc Sneyd, which saw both teams trading blows soon after.
In the end a drop goal by former England international Zak Hardaker proved the difference and moved the Warriors back within two points of Hull in the coveted 3rd place.
Josh Griffin started at centre, making his 200th career appearance as the Black & Whites welcomed reigning champions Wigan to the KCOM Stadium.
Coach Lee Radford brought Masimbaashe Matongo in on the bench for his first game back after compassionate leave, which was followed by an injury.
England international Jake Connor remained on the bench at the start with Albert Kelly continuing to partner Marc Sneyd in the halves, and Carlos Tuimavave still at Centre alongside Griffin.
Mark Minichiello continued in the 2nd row for Hull, making his first appearance since announcing his intention to retire at the end of the season.
The game got off to a to and fro start with opportunities wasted at both ends in the opening five minutes, and both defences clearly on top.
A delicate kick by Albert Kelly provided Hull with a platform as the ball was knocked into touch by a Wigan player, with a resultant penalty knocked over by Marc Sneyd to give Hull an early lead.
A mistake by Hull in their own half gave Wigan territory and possession, but resolute defending by the home side saw the chance come to nothing for the champions.
On their next set Wigan were forced into touch in their own half which set up another opportunity for the Black & Whites to test their defensive line.
More ill discipline from the Warriors then presented Sneyd with another penalty from 36 metres out and the scrum half had no problem doubling the Airlie Birds’ lead.
Hull were clearly bossing the opening quarter of the game, but needed more points on the board to assert their authority.
A poor kick by Sneyd, however, presented the visitors with a seven tackle set and winger Liam Marshall pounced to score the first try of the game, courtesy of the video referee.
Former England player Zak Hardaker gave the champions an ill-deserved lead with the conversion before adding a controversial penalty as well.
On their next attack Wigan forced Jamie Shaul to kick the ball dead for a goal-line drop out. Another penalty straight in front of the posts gave Hardaker the chance to extend their lead, which he took.
Controversy reigned again going into the break as referee Ben Thaler failed to produce a card for Wigan forward Willie Isa for a blatantly late hit on Sneyd.
Sneyd duly added the two points from the resulting penalty and both teams had to be separated as they came to blows heading off the pitch for the break.
Half Time: Hull FC 6 – 10 Wigan Warriors
The second half started at a fast pace as both sides went toe-to-toe, with the balance swinging from end-to-end.
A one-on-one ball strip by Wigan gave them another chance, and they profited as Marshall crashed in at the corner to extend their lead.
Back-to-back penalties close to the Warriors’ line allowed Hull to crank up the pressure, from which a Sneyd kick forced a goal line drop-out.
A knock-on by Burgess from a kick by Connor gave Hull another attacking scrum and this time the Warriors line was breached as former Wigan prop Scott Taylor crashed over beside the posts. Sneyd duly made it a two point game with the conversion.
Another penalty for Hull gave Sneyd the chance to tie the game up again, the scrum half duly obliged from 25 metres out, with nine minutes remaining on the clock.
The Warriors re-took the lead with a drop goal from Hardaker with five minutes left to play.
Final Score: Hull FC 14 – 15 Wigan Warriors
Beverley FM Stats:
Hull FC: Jamie Shaul, Bureta Faraimo, Josh Griffin, Carlos Tuimavave, Ratu Naulago, Albert Kelly, Marc Sneyd, Scott Taylor, Danny Houghton, Chris Green, Mark Minichiello, Jordan Lane, Joe Westerman. Interchange: Jake Connor, Masimbaashe Matongo, Brad Fash, Gareth Ellis.
Wigan Warriors: Zak Hardaker, Liam Marshall, Dan Sarginson, Oliver Gildart, Joe Burgess, George Williams, Thomas Leuluai, Romain Navarette, Sam Powell, Oliver Partington, Willie Isa, Liam Farrell, Morgan Smithies. Interchange: Tony Clubb, Sean O’Loughlin, Liam Byrne, Jarrod Sammut.
Hull FC: Tries: Scott Taylor (65) Goals: Marc Sneyd 5/5
Wigan Warriors: Tries: Liam Marshall (26, 48) Goals: Zak Hardaker 3/4
Drop Goal Zak Hardaker
Wigan Warriors: 8
Goal Line Drop Outs:
Hull FC: 2
Wigan Warriors: 1
Attendance: 10, 153
Man of the Match: Danny Houghton