In a game that ebbed and flowed throughout, with the momentum moving from one side to the other, it was Hull’s stamina and ability to defend under extreme pressure that eventually won the day. Sedgley displayed all the credentials you would expect from a side sitting second in the league with ambitions to return to National League One.
The visitors started at a furious pace and had Hull defending a series of attacks for the first 12 minutes. In that time they had a couple of chances to break Hull’s defensive cover, but handling errors under pressure prevented at least one scoring chance being converted.
Hull worked their way into the game and after quarter of an hour, they powered their way into the Sedgley ’22’ only for a catch-and-drive attempt from a line out to be held up. With the home side’s confidence growing, and their scrummaging giving the visitors cause for concern, Hull finally broke the deadlock when they emerged from their own half with prop Loma Kivalu making a break before passing to back row man Laurence Cowan who fed winger Mike Adlard who raced past three defenders running 45 yards to score a spectacular try. Reece Dean converted very well from seven yards in from touch to see his side lead 7-0.
Both sides were looking to play expansive rugby in the perfect conditions, but it was Hull who struck again after 33 minutes. Hull’s pack drove hard from a lineout bringing in a number of Sedgley’s pack. When quick ball was released, Dean was involved twice in a pin point accurate passing move that resulted in winger Keane Naylor rounding off the move with a try in the right hand corner. Dean’s beautifully struck conversion gave Hull a 14-0 lead at the break.
The second period began with Sedgley catching their own kick off and immediately surging through the middle of Hull’s defence for their prop John Blanchard, who was backing up, to go in unopposed under Hull’s posts. His off-half team-mate Stephen Collins added the conversion.
A minute later, a near carbon copy of the first try was scored by Sedgley Park centre Matt Riley again converted by Collins which brought the scores level at 14-14 within four minutes of the restart.
Hull’s resilience has never been in doubt this season and as the forwards started to gain real ascendancy at the scrummage, penalties came Hull’s way. Dean converted one of these after 50 minutes but missed another a few minutes later which would have opened up a six-point lead.
Another forward drive by Hull, after several scrums, saw back row man Will Hall get the touch down after 70 minutes with Dean converting again to give the home side some breathing space with the score 24-14 in their favour.
Sedgley had other ideas and a well worked unconverted try by their winger Rhys Henderson after 73 minutes set up a battle royal of a finale that included everything that Sedgley could throw at Hull. However, the league’s best defence held firm to seal an enthralling win and keep themselves top of the league with a 100% home record.