Airlie Birds make the grade against fierce city rivals

Delighted Hull FC coach Peter Gentle hailed the victory over Hull KR as “wonderful” not only for his side but the entire club.

PIC: Dave Lofthouse

Yesterday’s 38-20 derby success at MS3 Craven Park lifted them above Rovers into seventh in the table but also completed a proud treble for the Airlie Birds.

“It’s a wonderful victory for the boys and for the club,” he said, after three quickfire tries in the second half turned around an 8-6 interval deficit. “The Under-16s won the other night, the Under-19s won today and with the first team winning too it’s really great to see all three grades defeating our local rivals.

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“With all the distraction of the Challenge Cup final coming up too it was good to see how the boys dealt with all that.

“It’s an important win and there was a number of reasons we needed it, probably foremost for the fans.”

Clearly, though, it was an important victory for the coach too after club owner Adam Pearson had reminded him during the week that – despite reaching Wembley where they play Wigan Warriors a week Saturday – his position would be reassessed if they did not qualify for the top-eight play-offs.

The only negative for Hull was the sight of prolific winger Tom Lineham limping away from the action placing his Challenge Cup final place in severe doubt.

“We’ll get him scanned,” added Gentle. “I don’t know the severity. I’ve just seen him on crutches and with ice on his ankle but it’s another one we’ve just got to add to the list.

“We’ve Jason Crookes waiting to get an opportunity just as Jamie Shaul was and like Jay Pitts and Joe Arundel who also have come in recently.

“We pride ourselves on the depth we’ve got this year and told those guys who have worked their backsides off at training that, when an opportunity comes, be ready. I’m not putting a line through Tom’s name just yet but it didn’t look good.”

Already depleted Hull KR lost Rhys Lovegrove to a rib injury in the warm-up and then saw Greg Eden depart with a knee injury in the first half that rules the full-back out for the season. However, coach Craig Sandercock’s claim that Rovers had “no right” to win the game given the side they put out was perhaps pushing the point too far and was unfair on those who did feature.

“With the side we fielded we had no right to even compete with what we were up against so I was happy we competed hard,” he said, after a third straight loss.

“Of course we missed the eight players that didn’t play but we were in a position where we could have won that game against the odds. To come up short like we did was disappointing not to win.

“It was just a few real poor individual errors in the second half cost us and gifted them some tries.”