2nd Team, Home

Seconds put Phoenix in their place

Following their last pre-season outing (and victory) against BP, Hull Seconds’ final warm up match saw them face the much tougher prospect of a highly rated Doncaster Phoenix side.
From the outset the physicality of the opposition was apparent, and with a big squad on a hot, hot day the game looked to provide the test of fitness this Hull side needed.
The home team boasted several new faces amongst their numbers, with Taz Mursal, Liam Fitts and Oli Peter making only their second run out whilst prop John Aikman joined to bolster the forward line. With Hull’s youngsters Alex Neave, Brandon Stead, Harry Hodgson and Connor Hamilton now seasoned pros to senior rugby, the Hull squad looked strong around the park on paper.
Hull started off the better in the early exchanges, Oli Ainsworth at scum-half making a nuisance of himself with his trademark darting runs. Strong work from Ryan Fox and Liam Fitts turned over good early ball, whilst Adam Corkish and big Taz provided the power in Hull’s engine room. Doncaster stood up to the early pressure, but as their forwards were inevitably sucked in-field room started to appear on the flanks. Good work footwork from Connor Hamilton took advantage of the space to run in Hull’s first try of the game.
With the heat beating down and a sizable squad needing a run out, both sides rang the changes on the 20 minute mark, with Dane Campbell taking to the field at number 8, whilst Joe Garwell and Andy Angell switched in with the backs. Despite the changes Hull continued to play with good understanding, with the older heads Aikman and Fitts marshalling the home defence.
At set pieces, Dom Hardman’s throwing-in looked on point, and with the scrum dominated by a Hull front row Hardman, Aikman and Hull youngster Matt Skipworth, the home team looked a far cry from the fragile team of last season. With Jay Sugden still to return and Aaron ‘Chubby’ Richardson absent for the weekend, the pack certainly looks a different prospect for the season ahead.
With Ainsworth continuing to find space and the Hull backs linking well, the home team’s confidence grew. Able to live with a superior placed league side in Doncaster, this early success spurred the home team on, with impressive work rate from Oli Peters, Harry Hodgson and Hull interchange Alex Neave. With Damo Radke added power from the bench and Josh Milner bringing some deft hands to the backs, this Hull side began to look the part.
Both sides swapped tries in the blistering heat, but Hull with their noses in front looked comfortable and in control.
With Steve Payne settling in nicely to his more familiar full back role and Oli Ainsworth looking sharp at scrum half, it was almost inevitable when Ainsworth pulled up in the second half, his hamstring tightening painfully following a seemingly innocuous turn. Oli’s injury was the only real blemish on an otherwise positive spectacle for Hull RUFC, and it goes without saying we all hope the injury isn’t as bad as first feared.
As the final whistle sounded, much to the relief of everyone melting in the sun, the final score read Hull Seconds 28, Doncaster Phoenix 12.
With Andy Angell jetting off to Thailand for three weeks – lucky git – there’ll be no let up for the team over the coming month, with the season not starting in earnest until the opening league fixture on 30th September, Away to Withernsea.
Until then stand-in coach Dylan Bridges has promised a gruelling finale to pre-season, with a final warm up game still on the cards. It will be a long old season but the aim still has to be to bounce back at the first time of asking.
How the team will fare? It’s far too early to tell.
Then again, two wins from two in pre-season, it’s a case of so far, so good!

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