1st's Match Reports

Birch keeps promotion hopes alive

Hull needed to beat Morley with a try bonus to keep their promotion hopes alive, and they did after leaving it late.
A Lee Birch try deep into injury time gave Gary Pearce’s side the five-point win they desperately needed.
It was a game full of drama and Hull were not at their clinical best as a misfiring line-out conceded possession on several occasions on their own throw and several gilt edged scoring chances were not taken. Morley were never afraid to play open rugby and and until Hull’s final try were capable of springing a surprise result.
Hull started as they had planned to do and after just nine minutes a penalty saw them use the resulting line-out very well. A neat blindside move and excellent handling saw winger Ashley Smith score in at the corner.
Hull’s fly-half Tomasi Tanumi landed an excellent conversion to see Hull into an early seven point lead. After 16 minutes another dominant attack saw Hull’s other winger Steve Hihetah go in for a try which was not converted.
Better was to come when after twenty six minutes full back Lee Birch made a searing break and slipped the ball to back row man Paul Hamber who crashed over for Hull’s third try to see them pulling away 17-0.
At this stage it seemed a matter of time before Hull wrapped up the game. However shortly after this score Hull’s scrum half Harvey Harding was sin binned for an illegal tackle and Hull lost rhythm. They conceded a try immediately to Morley’s winger Lee Hutson as the home side made best use of their numerical advantage. Hull responded well and were able to mount attacks of their own but as half-time approached another Lee Birch break seemed certain to lead to another Hull try but but the ball was lost over the line and Hull went in leading 17-5 at halftime.
Hull were forced into changes as Steve Hihetah was taken off injured and newcomer Tyler Price came in at fly-half with Tomasi Tanumi going on the wing. As Hull looked to settle into their new formation Morley were still prepared to run the ball whenever they could and after 54 minutes their adventurous style paid off when winger Lee Hutson made a break from his own half and handed on to his centre Scott Glynn who raced over for a very good try converted by his captain and fly-half Mark Chester to put his side right back in contention at 21-17.
Three minutes later Hull’s nerves were settled a little by a Tyler Price penalty but they were shredded when within a minute Morley scored a converted try through Ollie Hutson to get within a point of the visitors.
Typical of Hull’s afternoon was their immediate response which saw them take the restart and surge to the Morley line only for a certain try to be thwarted by a knock on a yard from the try line.
Hull kept their heads up and were now constantly pressuring the home side’s line but as the clock ticked towards full-time another gilt-edged chance created by centre Joe Martin’s break went begging. Hull were now under increasing pressure to find a way to score their fourth try but kept their heads.
Deep into injury time Hull had a final chance and after winning a scrum near the home side’s line Hull’s forwards drove on and sucked in defenders before releasing the ball and it was fitting that full back Lee Birch scythed his way through the home side defence for Hull’s fourth try which was converted by Tyler Price to give them the five points they needed to set up the game of the season next week against second placed Rossendale.

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