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Hull leave it late to beat Harrogate

Hull maintained their unbeaten record in the game at Rudding Lane as their defence held out against a Harrogate side who had the the better of the territorial battle but who ultimately could not defend well enough against Hull’s counter attacking style.
Hull’s four tries earned them another maximum points haul to keep them near the top of the league.
The early exchanges saw Harrogate start with more purpose and they quickly scored an unconverted try from a rolling maul and a penalty from their off half Luke White to see them leading 8-0 with just ten minutes played.
Hull struck back with a penalty goal from their off half Steven Johnson after thirteen minutes. Hull then went ahead after twenty eight minutes when they used a rare excursion into the home sides half to move the ball to their left wing and with Mike Adlard coming off his wing to inject pace into the move Hull’s other winger , Stephen Hihetah was able to burst through the last tackle to score a fine try converted by Steve Johnson to put Hull ahead for the first time.
Harrogate roused themselves and just three minutes later were awarded the full seven points as they were given a penalty try as Hull pulled a maul down near their own try line. A penalty for Harrogate just five minutes later looked to given them a useful lead but Hull’s ability to bounce back came to the for when they used good lineout possession to fashion a slick handling move resulting in a try for full back Lee Birch to see Hull trail by just three points at half time.
The second half was only six minutes old when Hull brought on front row man Mike Jobling for the injured Ben Bootham but Hull maintained their unity with Jobling and number eight joe Stafford prominent in the loose .
Despite having the better chances in the second period it was not until Hull’s winger Mike Adlard latched onto a bouncing ball on the halfway line to sprint through a bemused defence that Hull regained the lead.The simple conversion by full back Lee Birch ,who had taken over the kicking duties from the injured Steve Johnson, saw Hull lead 22-18.
Harrogate’s response was immediate and a catch and drive try after sixty nine minutes saw the lead change hands once more but when the simple conversion was missed it left Hull trailing by one point.
With just four minutes remaining Hull mounted yet another attack from near the halfway line and their pace was too much for a tiring defence and Lee Birch dived in at the corner for the winning try. The full backs conversion attempt from wide out hit the post but Hull held on to the lead to see them record their third victory and remain unbeaten so far this season.

By Richard Gore

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