St Helens 34 Hull FC 16 - Calamitous start proves costly as Black and Whites are well beaten by St Helens

HULL FC remain well in contention to finish amongst the Super League’s top six this year but a disappointing defeat at St Helens will leave plenty of questions about their title credentials.

RESULT: St Helens 34 Hull FC 16. Picture: Getty Images.

The Black and Whites got off to a calamitous start when they failed to deal with the hosts’ kick-off which resulted in a try from Jack Welsby with just over a minute played. The young winger went on to claim a hat-trick as Hull fell to a third defeat of 2021.

St Helens found plenty of joy on Hull’s left edge as they dominated the first half to lead 22-4 at the interval before a try soon after the second-half restart to put the game well out of the visitors’ reach.

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The defeat means that Hull have failed to beat any of the sides above them in the Super League table this term.

RESULT: St Helens 34 Hull FC 16. Picture: Getty Images.

Other results, like their narrow loss to Wigan Warriors and draw with Warrington Wolves, gave Brett Hodgson’s side plenty of reasons to be encouraged but there was little to take from the contest against the reigning champions last night.

It was Marc Sneyd who failed to successfully gather the kick off and from the resulting goal-line drop-out, Jonny Lomax found Welsby on the wing to nip over with just over 60 seconds on the clock. Hull had barely touched the ball before they were two tries behind when Lachlan Coote spotted a gap to reach out to score.

The Black and Whites only had 26 per cent of possession in the first half but managed to get a try on the board when former St Helens man Adam Swift, who scored 86 tries in 130 games for Saints, expertly collected a kick from Jake Connor to dot down.

The home side struck again, however, as Hull simply failed to deal with the hosts’ sharpness in attack. A third try came when Theo Fages found Morgan Knowles with a short ball and the forward bounced off the defenders to get over the whitewash.

RESULT: St Helens 34 Hull FC 16. Picture: Getty Images.

Coote kicked a penalty goal on the half-hour mark to extend the hosts’ lead to 14 points before St Helens added their fourth try with Lomax again providing the pass for Welsby to score.

The 20-year-old winger completed his hat-trick seven minutes into the second half when Connor misjudged a high kick from Fages and the ball dropped into the hands of the St Helens winger for an easy finish.

Hull didn’t spend much time near the hosts’ tryline but were effective when they did get down to the right end of the pitch. Mahe Fonua scored the visitors’ second try of the night when he powered through the defenders to plant down.

It did little to influence the final result, however, as Joe Batchelor was on the end of a fine move to re-extend the lead before Fonua added a consolation on the hooter.

Hull have now lost their last nine games against St Helens and they will be determined to stop that run stretching into double figures as the sides prepare to do battle in the Challenge Cup semi-final next weekend.

St Helens: Coote, Naiqama, Simm, Percival, Welsby, Lomax, Fages, Walmsley, Roby, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Thompson, Mata'utia, Knowles. Substitutes: Amor, Paasi, Batchelor, Dodd.

Hull FC: Connor, Fonua, Tuimavave, Griffin, Swift, Reynolds, Sneyd, Sao, Houghton, Satae, Lane, Ma'u, Cator. Substitutes: Bowden, Brown, Fash, Johnstone.

Referee: C. Kendall (Huddersfield).

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