IT IS a fair bet Gareth Ellis can not remember the last try he scored in English rugby league – for his information it came for Leeds against St Helens on September 19, 2008.
That run ended as Hull took one step further towards a Wembley return last night, just weeks after he feared he would never touch down on home soil again after suffering a foot injury in the warm-up ahead of his Super League return.
Few people are more relieved to see Ellis back on a rugby pitch than the man himself after he cut such a disconsolate figure minutes before the campaign kicked off at Leeds, although club coach Peter Gentle and national boss Steve McNamara will also be among those exhaling in delight.
After successfully coming through his comeback last week, Ellis then set his side on the way to the Tetley’s Challenge Cup quarter-finals with the sort of powerful effort that made him such a star in the NRL.
Once he received Shannon McDonnell’s pass close to the line, Wakefield centre Dean Collis stood little chance of halting the second-rower’s progress and once his touched the ball down, Hull proceded to take the game from the Wildcats in ruthless fashion.
Today marks 50 years since Wakefield last lifted the Challenge Cup with a 25-10 win over Wigan at Wembley.
Sadly, there is to be no repeat this season as Richard Agar’s men were left standing by a five-minute blitz that saw Hull run in three tries.
It is already a busy year for Kirk Yeaman as the Hull centre celebrates his testimonial, with a reunion of the 2005 Cup success one of the planned events. On this showing, there is no reason why the class of 2013 can not aim for a similar success.
The KC Stadium was still reverberating after the amazing way in which Hull City secured promotion to the Premier League just six days previously, but for the Black and Whites this was a big chance to go one step closer to their own glory.
Owner Adam Pearson has made no secret of his desire to see his side challenging for honours and has invested substantial amounts of money to realise that. So, an early exit at home would not have gone down well.
Intriguingly, Hull are stringing together an impressive run and with Ellis and Daniel Holdsworth back in their starting line-up, they have added potency to complement an exciting three-quarter line.
Contrast that with Wakefield who are without influential half-back Paul Sykes for up to the next eight weeks and were also missing prop Justin Poore and full-back Richie Mathers. Three big cogs of their machinery reduced to spectators.
The Wildcats still made the brightest start, however, as neither side really threatened each other’s line and Hull suffered a blow when Liam Watts limped off after picking up a knock while taking the ball up.
However, Agar would have been upset at the slack defending that allowed Richard Horne to stroll through a yawning gap from Andy Lynch’s pass and race 30 metres to open the scoring after rounding Lee Smith.
After showing very little in attack, Hull then cut loose with Ellis rounding off a fine move that saw Ben Crooks kick inside from the right touchline and Jay Pitts cleverly bat the ball backwards before the finish close to the left touchline.
Yeaman was next to cash in with his 150th try in Hull colours from Tom Briscoe’s neat kick.
The stuffing was well and truly knocked out of Wakefield, who had high hopes going into this clash but could not convert the possession they had close to Hull’s line.
McDonnell produced a fine challenge to stop Vince Mellars’s charge while Paul Aiton was held just short in a set of six that would have given Gentle as much delight as the tries and on 54 minutes, Horne’s break was backed up by Pitts and the former Leeds man finished.
For all Wakefield’s endeavour, Hull had the extra touch of class when it mattered. Class that will surely stand them in good stead both in the Cup and Super League, provided their big players can stay fit. Sadly for them, Richard Whiting joined Watts on the sidelines with what appeared to be a knee problem.
Ali Lauitiiti finally got Wakefield on the scoreboard with a try on 59 minutes while Lee Smith, who converted that score, was convinced he had put them back in the game, only for referee Tim Roby to rule he was short.
That summed up the Wildcats’ night, as did the awful mess that allowed Pitts to touch down Crooks’s kick after three players missed it to round off the night’s scoring.
Hull FC: McDonnell; Lineham, Crooks, Yeaman, Briscoe; Holdsworth, Horne; O’Meley, Houghton, Watts, Ellis, Whiting, Pitts. Substitutes: Lynch, Johnson, Heremaia, Green.
Wakefield Trinity Wildcats: P Smith; Fox, Collis, Lyne, Cockayne; Wood, T Smith; Wilkes, Aiton, Raleigh, Lauitiiti, Kirmond, Washbrook. Substitutes: Amor, Mellars, Annakin, Molloy.
Referee: T Roby (Leyland).