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RUGBY LEAGUE: Saints secure Shield with win over Hull FC
Hull FC failed to prevent St Helens lifting the League Leaders Shield at the Totally Wicked Stadium on Friday evening, despite a strong first-half performance, going down 38-12. Jordan Lane and Brad Fash touched down for their first senior tries for the Black & Whites, but the night belonged to the Saints who confirmed their spot and the summit of the Super League table in 2018 with the victory.
Hull went into the game with 12 first-team stars sidelined by injury, with Jamie Shaul, Carlos Tuimavave and Danny Houghton all pulling up in yesterday’s team-run with various injuries. Jake Connor meanwhile returned to action for the Black & Whites. The England international utility-man was expected to be out of action for the remainder of the season with a calf tear, but has recovered earlier than expected to feature at the back end of the Super League season. Josh Griffin also returned to action.
After a promising start for the Black & Whites in the opening ten minutes, it was the Saints who drew first blood. A break-away from Jonny Lomax in the Hull FC half was completed by Mark Percival, with the pair beating full-back Hakim Miloudi to the line. Richardson converted.
The hosts soon made it back-to-back scores with young hooker Morgan Knowles scoring an impressive try straight from dummy-half, scooting through the grasp of several defenders. Richardson doubled his tally with the boot.
Hull’s injury woes worsened even further when both Jake Connor and Sika Manu were withdrawn from action mid-way through the half.
However, an impressive first Hull FC try for Jordan Lane soon saw the deficit reduced for the visitors. Some smart dancing feet from the young back-rower saw him cross for his first try of 2018 for the Black & Whites. Faraimo converted. And after some strong pressure from Lee Radford’s men, Hull were level courtesy of Brad Fash, who also touched down for his first club try. A powerful run from the bullish forward saw him power his way through several Saints defenders to bounce off the post and place the ball down on the line. Connor drew the scores level.
It would be Justin Holbrook’s side who went into the half-time break with the lead though, with Luke Thompson touching down with seconds remaining on the clock.
HALF-TIME: St Helens 18-12 Hull FC
An edgy start to the second period saw the Saints extend their lead to eight points, courtesy of the boot of Richardson who slotted over a penalty goal with 30 minutes remaining on the clock.
St Helens strengthen their position in the contest and began to eye confirmation of top spot in Super League when Mark Percival bagged his second try minutes later, dummying his way several Hull FC defenders on his way to the line.
Welsh winger Regan Grace score Saints’ fifth try of the evening, finding space in the corner to force the ball over the line. And the youngster completed his brace with 7 minutes left on the clock, racing past Abdull and Miloudi as he broke down the left flank to score.
Hull FC: Hakim Miloudi, Bureta Faraimo, Cameron Scott, Josh Griffin, Fetuli Talanoa, Liam Harris, Jake Connor, Masi Matongo, Danny Washbrook, Scott Taylor, Dean Hadley, Jordan Lane, Sika Manu.
Hull FC Interchange: Jordan Abdull, Lewis Bienek, Brad Fash, Jez Litten.
(Report courtesy of www.hullfc.com)