Hull KR 20 Hull FC 38: Derby woe for Rovers as penalty try aids Hull win

PENALTY tries are a rarity in rugby league but Hull FC rightly benefited from one yesterday to importantly turn a tense derby in their favour and continue their push back up Super League.

Tempers flare at the final whistle

Kirk Yeaman was destined to touch down his own grubber before Hull KR’s Travis Burns desperately tackled the England centre without the ball in the 50th minute.

Video referee Ian Smith made the bold decision and the visitors, who move into seventh at the expense of their fierce rivals, earned a lead they would never relinquish.

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However, it was two poorly conceded back-to-back tries soon after that did the real damage and left Rovers on the end of a third successive defeat nervously eyeing their own play-off place.

When Hull’s Jamie Shaul, the rookie full-back almost certain to play at Wembley a week Saturday, dropped Michael Dobson’s high kick near his own line it was a perfect opportunity for Rovers to get back into the match.

Instead, Craig Hall’s wide pass was intercepted by the irrepressible Richard Whiting – playing his 200th Super League game – and Shaul backed up to surge over.

Incredibly, it was his eighth try in just four senior games, fending off a hapless Burns in the process.

From the re-start, Daniel Holdsworth’s sublime pass as Rovers defenders were sucked in like a moth to the flame, saw Joe Arundel sprinting down field next but Hall and Adam Walker should still have prevented the try.

Both sides traded scores thereafter yet Rovers – who lost Rhys Lovegrove in the pre-match warm-up, full-back Greg Eden with a first half season-ending knee injury and also had three players sin-binned – were always kept just at arm’s length.

It meant Hull, after their contentious Magic Weekend victory, became the first side to win consecutive derbies in 11 meetings between the teams, their only downside being an ankle injury to winger Tom Lineham which cruelly looks likely to deny him a place in the Challenge Cup final.

It did not take long for this derby to spark up. Ten minutes to be precise with Australian stand-off Burns, always an aggressive presence, at the centre of it all having taken offence when he wasted an early opportunity.

A melee ensued, players crashing into the advertising boards, with Rovers’ Josh Hodgson and Yeaman the ones duly picked out as the first for a spell in the sin-bin.

Hull earned the penalty but Craven Park erupted as Con Mika thundered into Holdsworth to force a spilled ball on the first tackle.

There was few scoring opportunities, however, in the first half with the sides trading just a solitary try apiece.

Rovers did threaten to overrun Hull every time they ran at the visitors’ fragile left side, Burns regularly looking to find lively centre Sean Gleeson early or the dazzling Eden.

They did achieve some success making the initial break but too often wasted the chance by being too impatient or imprecise thereafter.

It was down the other side where the hosts struck first, Liam Salter juggling his way through a gap to race onto Eden’s sharp pass 10m out in the 20th minute.

Dobson converted but Peter Gentle’s side levelled again after Rovers had been reduced once more to 12 men.

Holdsworth had fired a kick downfield direct from a scrum and, though Dave Hodgson hauled in Lineham, the Rovers winger was yellow-carded for lying on.

Eventually, the extra man told as Jacob Miller finished off a fine passing movement that had started with Arundel on one side of the pitch and finished with the Australian scrum-half twisting out of some weak tackles at the other.

Tickle added the second of his seven goals but Dobson’s penalty ensured they went in 8-6 ahead. Rovers nearly extended that lead early in the second half but Salter could not keep hold of Burns’s perfect crossfield kick.

Instead, Hull moved downfield where Miller’s similar effort was palmed down for Yeaman to kick on and Burns illegally intervened.

That Airlie Birds’ swift double then put them in charge meaning, despite some impressive efforts from young forwards Walker and Jordan Cox, depleted Rovers were always struggling to revive.

Walker twisted out of some tackles close to the line to give them hope only for Whiting to quickly respond, admittedly from a Holdsworth pass which was clearly forward.

Evarn Tuimavave trundled over again from close range for Rovers – Hull will be perturbed by the slack nature of their line defence in the closing stages – only for Briscoe to reply once more as he latched onto Danny Houghton’s grubber.

Burns then finally snapped in the closing seconds as he inexplicably lashed out at Briscoe to become the third Rovers player to be yellow-carded, Tickle’s penalty from halfway finishing the job.

Hull KR: Eden; Hall, Gleeson, Salter, D Hodgson; Burns, Dobson; Tuimavave, J Hodgson, Walker, Cox, Mika, Griffin. Substitutes: Carlile, Hepi, Beaumont, Netherton.

Hull FC: Shaul; Lineham, Arundel, Yeaman, Briscoe; Holdsworth, Miller; O’Meley, Houghton, Watts, Ellis, Tickle, Westerman. Substitutes: Heremaia, Whiting, Pitts, Green.

Referee: B Thaler (Wakefield)