Welcome to the Ferens Ground for our final fixture of what has been a very successful season. We can now look forward to playing at level four in the English rugby structure next season after a four year gap since being relegated from that level.
Our visitors this afternoon are Rossendale RUFC, one of only two sides to have defeated us this season. We played them on the first day of the season, losing by 29-28 and picking up two bonus points. Rossendale are on a five match winning run and their late season form has lifted them to fifth in the table and they have now won thirteen games, drawn one and lost eleven and are on 72 points. Last week they posted a 37-26 home win over Alnwick and there is no doubt that they will be eager to be the only side in the division to do the double over us. Our boys will be equally eager to make sure they don’t do just that!
It is a pleasure to welcome the players, officials and supporters of Rossendale RUFC to our ground this afternoon.
Last Saturday our side travelled to fourth-placed Billingham whom we beat 49-7 on December 8th and we fully expected a much tougher game on their G4 pitch. We went 7-0 down after 22 minutes but managed to score a try from Mike Adlard just before the break to trail 7-5. Hull got their game together in the second half and were awarded a penalty try followed by tries from Steve Hihetah and a second from Adlard, both of which were converted by Simon Humberstone. This was our eleventh double of the season and also
put a halt to Billingham’s fine unbeaten home record for this season. Billingham put up a great show throughout the game but it was our strength, power and fitness which eventually wore them down.
Elsewhere in the division second-placed Blaydon had a very easy 52-0 win over Kirkby Lonsdale to keep them one point above third-placed Harrogate who won 47-27 at home in a Yorkshire derby game against Ilkley, who picked up a try-scoring bonus point. Today’s visitors did not have things all their own way at home to Alnwick but ran out winners by 37-26 and Sandal do not seem to have recovered from their heavy defeat at Hull the previous week and were surprisingly beaten 33-34 at home to Lymm. Wilmslow won only their third game of the season with a 35-34 home win over Kendal
in a fixture between two relegated sides and finally, Wirral had a very big 75-7 home win over Vale of Lune who are also relegated.
The interest in this week’s fixtures centres mainly on the two sides battling for the runners-up place, namely Blaydon and Harrogate. Blaydon who are on 95 points travel to Vale of Lune and Harrogate who are on 94 points entertain Sandal. Both are likely to win by big margins and it looks as if Blaydon will finish second.
Who they will meet in the play-off is not yet certain and who will be champions is not yet certain. Midlands leaders Scunthorpe are on 98 points and visit fourth-placed Broadstreet while second-placed Luctonians on 96 points are at home to relegated Lichfield. The top two sides cannot be overtaken. Scunthorpe have a far superior points scoring difference and have also won one game more than Luctonians. Twitchy-bum time in both camps!!
As we go into today’s final league game supporters may be interested to know a few of this seasons playing statistics.
Steve Hihetah has scored 30 tries, Mike Adlard has scored 26, Keane Naylor has scored 13, Tom O’Donnell and Joe Stafford have scored 10 each. We have also been awarded 10 penalty tries. Simon Humberstone has kicked 75 conversions and eight penalty goals and Steve Johnson has kicked 14 conversions and two penalty goals.
Nine of our players have also made 20 plus appearances. A complete statistics sheet will be prepared and will appear on our club website in the coming days.
Hull RUFC would like to thank everyone in attendance this afternoon for your continued support during the season. We have played some excellent rugby both home and away and look forward to seeing you all next season in National Two North. If you can bring along a mate or two to double our attendances next season that would be even better! Have a good summer and see you all next season.
The referee for today’s fixture is Mr. Adam Morrison who is no stranger to the Ferens Ground as he was in charge of our home game against Vale of Lune a few weeks ago. Adam was also in charge of our away games at Harrogate and at Billingham last Saturday. We welcome him back to our ground once again and hope that he enjoys his afternoon with us.