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Hull keep pressure on top three with Sandal victory

Hull not only beat Sandal, but they also managed to pick up a bonus point at Chants Ave.

A narrow 26-20 victory was secured thanks to three second half tries against a very determined Sandal side who remained competitive throughout despite being reduced to twelve men at one stage after they attracted the ref’s wrath and three yellow cards in quick succession in the second half.

Hull lost possession at the kick-off and then lost a lineout to invite some early pressure from the visitors.

Sandal should have gone ahead after seven minutes with a penalty but their off-half James Ellar dragged his kick wide.

A few minutes later, Hull lost possession in midfield and Sandal were able to keep the ball for several phases ending in their off-half Ellar going in for the try near the right hand corner before stepping up to land a fine conversion on 18 minutes.

This galvanised Hull into action and their response was immediate.

A scrum 35 yards out saw number eight Joe Stafford pick up and feed his backs culminating in winger Callum Lancaster touching down too far out for the try to be converted.

Despite having the better of the scrum exchanges, Hull were not able to impose themselves on Sandal and it was the visitors who struck next in the 33rd minute when their centre Steve Nolon rounded off a good handling move going in under the posts giving Ellar the easiest of conversions.

A late Ellar penalty giving Sandal a useful 17-5 half-time advantage.

The second half started well for Hull as they changed their tactics and sought to use their forward power.

Sandal conceded penalties and this resulted in two early catch-and-drive tries from lineouts within 10 metres of the visitors’ line.

The first try was credited to prop Mike Dias whilst the second effort went to his front row colleague Ben Bootham.

These scores were in the 43rd and 49th minutes respectively.

In between, Sandal’s Ellar slotted over a penalty which meant Hull were still a point in arrears, 19-20 at the 50 minute stage.

Hull were now able to pressurise the Sandal line more or less continuously and the visitors lost their discipline losing three players to yellow cards in quick succession.

However, Hull were unable to take advantage of their numerical superiority and Sandal seemed to have weathered the storm until an uncontested scrum saw Hull move the ball right and manage to get winger Callum Lancaster in at the right hand corner after 70 minutes.

Steve Johnson’s magnificent touchline conversion gave Hull the lead by six points.

Sandal’s grandstand finish threatened to spoil Hull’s day but the home side’s watertight defence held out for a vital but hard-earned victory. 


Richard Gore

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