In a very well contested and bruising encounter at the Ferens Ground, Harrogate, as expected, pushed Hull all the way but the final try tally of four to two gave Hull a well-earned bonus point leaving the visitors with just one losing bonus point, which many thought was a poor reward for the effort they put in.
Hull kicked off and for the next seven minutes that was all they saw of the ball as Harrogate laid siege to the Hull line reducing the home side to a period of desperate defending which saw the visitors twice held up over the line. After Hull had infringed once too often the referee awarded Harrogate a penalty try for a 7-0 lead. Hull roared back up the field in fine style and it was then their turn to be held up. They kept up the pressure with two line-outs and from the second the Hull pack drove their counterparts over the line for a well worked catch and drive try, credited to No8 Joe Stafford, which was not converted.
This was in the twelfth minute and for the next twenty minutes they had a lot of possession which ‘Gate did well to defend against. Fly-half Simon Humberstone was kicking to good effect to the right wing and Mike Adlard went very close. During this period the visitors rarely got into the Hull half but their defence was very good, until the second minute of added time when a fine move across the face of the Harrogate posts resulted in centre Tomasi Tumani scoring in the right corner, too far out for the conversion and Hull led 10-7.
Two minutes into the second half a kick to the right flank from the ‘Gate fly-half Cail Cookland looked to be going into touch but a fortunate bounce saw it picked up by right-winger Harry Barnard who made the most of his good fortune to score a good try ten yards in from touch which was converted by Cookland to give his side a 12-10 lead.
In the 61st minute Cookland missed a penalty from a very kickable position and Hull swept back upfield to win a couple of line-outs and from the second swift handling by both forwards and backs saw left-winger Ben Winterburn crash over in the left corner, too far out for the conversion. 15-14 to Hull and although ‘Gate rarely threatened Hull’s try-line they missed a second penalty attempt in the 75th minute. Due to stoppages for injuries there were eight minutes of added time played and in the fifth of these Hull centre Ali Heard broke out of defence to race sixty metres up the left wing for a fine individual unconverted try. The final three minutes saw the Hull pack retain possession and deny Harrogate any more ball to post a very important victory after one of the toughest games they have had this season.
The result was made much sweeter when the other results recorded that joint-leaders Billingham had lost away to bottom-placed Vale of Lune leaving Hull four points clear at the top of the table.