Last Saturday our side travelled into the wilds of Lancashire to take on second-placed Rossendale who had beaten us 30-21 on 19th November at the Ferens Ground. This time they beat us by just one point less, posting a 21-13 victory after leading 21-3 at the break with the slope advantage. We had the better of the exchanges in the second period but not enough to gain any points from the game. Hull’s only try came from Tomasi Tumani which was converted by Lee Birch and Tyler Price landed two penalty goals. Barring a catastrophic loss of form by Ross in their remaining three games this means they will finish second. Today they play Firwood Waterloo away and if they get the five points from that game they will be on 99 points and the most we can get is 97. Their other games are v Huddersfield at home and Wirral away.
Elsewhere in the division Cleckheaton won their home relegation battle against Waterloo by 28-24; Doncaster Phoenix helped their cause greatly with a 29-18 home win over Kendal; Lymm had a very narrow win at home against Ilkley by 26-25 while Morley fell further in the mire with a 60-14 defeat at home to champions Huddersfield. Today’s visitors had a tense 28-27 home win over Billingham with scrum-half James Ellar scoring a try with the last play of the match, and Stockport are still without a win after losing to visitors Wirral by 38-12.
All this means that the top four positions are unchanged while at the bottom Waterloo are likely to join Stockport for the drop while only four points separate Morley (34), Doncaster (36) and Cleckheaton (38). Desperate times for these sides.
The pick of today’s games, in my opinion, if based on league positions is the one we will be seeing this afternoon where third play fourth. Another tight one could well be the Ilkley v Kendal match where ninth play seventh and finally Billingham v Doncaster Phoenix where sixth play eleventh. All of the four teams left in the relegation battle have very tough fixtures indeed today.
Compiled by Norman Angell