Hull ultimately lost a game they were leading with seven minutes left to play because they turned over the ball too often to their opponents, especially in the lineout. A minute’s silence was held prior to kickoff following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
Leading 19-0 as the first half drew to a close, Hull conceded a late try and found it difficult to reassert their superiority despite having much the upper hand in the first period.
After the kick-off, Hull were quickly into their stride and having driven upfield, a penalty saw Hull kick for touch and then advance to the try line. When the ball was released, Joe Carlisle made space for Keane Naylor to touch down after a brilliant offload by Reece Dean who converted the try.
Darlington responded immediately and a catch and drive of their own was held up by obdurate defence. Both sides had opportunities to score, but Hull were able to increase their lead when a characteristic breakout saw winger Mike Adlard held back as he and Darlington centre Checksfield raced to the ball which resulted in a yellow card for Checksfield and a penalty try for Hull after 25 minutes.
With Hull bringing on fresh props Charlie Beech and Ben Boothman, Hull’s scrummage dominance continued and it came as no surprise when Hull were awarded another penalty. The resulting lineout possession arrived with Carlisle chipping through for Dean to race through and score an unconverted try.
However with Hull continuing to struggle with their own lineout ball, Darlington were able to make use of the extra possession and a late try by substitute forward Fantini gave them a toe hold in the game at 19-5 at half-time.
The second period saw Hull once again dominate the scrums, but Darlington were growing in confidence and tries from winger Passman after 45 minutes, second row man Guest after 60 minutes and a penalty try after 73 minutes saw the visitors edge into the lead 24-19 with 10 minutes to play.
With Hull now down to 13 men due to two yellow cards, it was perhaps inevitable a further try by Darlington back row man Fantini would be the result and see Darlington seal their win. Despite these setbacks, Hull never gave up and a late penalty by Dean saw Hull earn a bonus point to open their account in this division.