Last Saturday our side were given one of their hardest games of the season when they defeated Harrogate 20-14 at the Ferens Ground. ‘Gate dominated the first seven minutes after taking residence in our ten-yard area and were rewarded with a penalty try for their efforts. Hull hit back with tries from Joe Stafford and Tom Tunami to lead 10-7 at the break but an opportunist converted try by Harry Barnard put the visitors ahead by 14-10. Hull took control in the remaining part of the game and a try by Ben Winterburn made it 15-14. The final try came from Alex Heard who picked the pocket of his opposite number to race 60 metres for an outstanding individual try to clinch a very close and hard-fought victory for the Ferens men.
Elsewhere in the table Alnwick kept up their recent good form with a 20-13 home win over Sandal and Ilkley got back to winning ways after four defeats on the bounce with a very close 20-18 win over fellow strugglers Lymm. It what was a very tight game at Kendal the Cumbrians posted only their third win of the season by beating visitors Wirral by 8-3 while at Kirkby Lonsdale the home side had a very good 25-22 win over Rossendale who seem unable to put a decent winning run together this season. Bottom side Vale of Lune shook the division to its foundations with their first win of the season against second-placed Billingham by 21-19. This moved them up by one place and did ourselves a huge favour as we are now four points ahead of the Wearsiders. Finally, Wilmslow went down by 38-5 at home to Blaydon and now prop up the table.
All this means that Hull remain top of the table with 49 points, Billingham are on 45 and Blaydon move back to third on 39 points. In the nether region Wilmslow are on 8 points behind Vale of Lune on 12 and Kendal on 13 points. The gap between Kendal and Lymm has now narrowed to 6 points after Lymm’s defeat at Ilkley.
This week’s fixtures brings up some interesting clashes with maybe a couple of surprises in store. Billingham will be eager to make amends from last week when they entertain seventh-placed Alnwick who will be no pushover after beating Sandal but it is likely that home advantage will prove to be the difference. Blaydon v Kendal can be thought a banker for a home win and Lymm will not fancy the trip up to Harrogate who, after last week’s great display at Hull, will be favourites for this one. Fifth plays thirteenth when Rossendale entertain Vale of Lune and a home win is very likely. Sandal v Hull, where fourth play first, is my choice as the game of the day. Sandal have won five of their six home games after losing to Harrogate on the opening day and Hull have won five of their six away games after losing at Rossendale on the same day, as well as winning all of their home games. It should be an intriguing game which could go either way but I expect (and hope!) that Hull’s fine run will continue. The final game is Wirral v Kirkby Lonsdale and I expect that KLon will have the edge in this game.