WAKEFIELD TRINITY proved their record win over Hull last month was no flash in the pan, beginning their Super-8s campaign with an impressive, if slightly flattering, 31-13 win at KCOM Stadium last night.
In many ways this was a more impressive victory than the 72-10 rout 19 days earlier. That had been a must-win game for Trinity in their quest to avoid being dragged into the bottom-four.
Wakefield went into last night’s game seventh on the table, eight points outside the play-offs.
Hull were one place and a single point better off and though the semi-finals are not mathematically out of reach, neither team had much more than pride to play for.
It was to their credit that they produced an interesting, closely-fought – if not particularly thrilling – contest, but Trinity finished much the stronger scoring 18 unanswered points in the final 13 minutes.
Hull made a solid start and were 6-0 ahead when the heavens opened, the deluge dampening the hosts’ enthusiasm and allowing Trinity a way into the contest.
Seven points in the final 10 minutes of the half edged them ahead, but a drop goal on the hooter sent the teams in all-square.
Hull regained the lead early in the second half and Trinity trailed as late as the 67th minute before the home side collapsed.
The black and whites rolled forward resolutely in the opening 10 minutes and were rewarded, in a penalty set, when Scott Taylor crashed over the top of Chris Anakin for a touchdown which Marc Sneyd converted.
Wakefield were close to Hull’s line when the rain began and, with both teams exchanging errors, they stayed there.
Trinity forced several repeat sets, but Hull’s defence was in much meaner mood than three weeks ago and held out until eight minutes before the interval.
Some nice Trinity passing had come to nothing so they took a direct route to their equaliser, Craig Huby barging through from close-range – in similar style to Taylor’s try – and Hampshire adding the extras.
Wakefield got over Hull’s line twice without reward. Hampshire’s long cut-out pass found winger Ben Jones-Bishop, but he lost possession in Jordan Lane’s last-ditch tackle.
Two minutes before the interval Hull’s defence muscled up to prevent Bill Tupou grounding the ball over the whitewash, but on the next play Jacob Miller struck over a drop goal, against his former club, to make it 7-6.
There was less than a minute remaining in the half, but Reece Lyne knocked-on in the set from the restart and Sneyd landed a one-pointer with the final kick.
Max Jowitt, Trinity’s young full-back, is a star in the making and has taken his chance with injured Scott Grix sidelined.
Jowitt dealt well with some tricky kicks in testing conditions, but blotted his copybook 11 minutes into the second half when he was sin-binned for kicking the ball away after Danny Houghton had landed a 40-20.
Sneyd missed with an penalty attempt moments later, then Hull opted to tap a more kickable opportunity in the next set.
Their adventure paid off as Houghton, Jordan Abdull and Sneyd worked the ball to Jamie Shaul and he sliced through for a well-worked try which Sneyd improved.
Still down to 12 men, Trinity opted to take the two, through Hampshire, when Huby was fouled closed to Hull’s line on the hour.
Jowitt returned soon after and Wakefield opted to keep the pressure on when they received successive penalties in kickable range with 13 minutes left.
Hull’s defence had been strong and well-organised up to that point, but they were caught out when Huby and Miller linked to send Tupou dashing through.
Hampshire’s conversion gave Trinity the lead for the second time and Wakefield sealed the points when Pauli powered through from close to the line, Hampshire improving.
It got nasty for Hull after that, with their right-side defence looking particularly vulnerable.
Tom Johnstone scored a dazzling individual try, weaving through a packed defence.
Hampshire converted and added a penalty in the final minute following a set-to between David Fifita and Taylor. The restart was booted out on the full and Hampshire completed the scoring with his seventh goal, from half-way, after the final hooter.
Hull: Shaul, Faraimo, Griffin, Tuimavave, Talanoa, Abdull, Sneyd, Taylor, Houghton, Paea, Lane, Washbrook, Manu. Substitutes: Green, Fash, Downs, Bienek.
Wakefield Trinity: Jowitt, Jones-Bishop, Lyne, Tupou, Johnstone, Miller, Hampshire, England, Randell, Fifita, Horo, Ashurst, Annakin. Substitutes: Wood, Pauli, Arona, Huby.
Referee: J Smith (Warrington).