Spirited Wirral could not hold out against Hull
By Charlotte Clynch
WIRRAL 10 HULL 31
Apologies for the delay in the report for this game but there was another injury for Wirral when Martin dislocated his shoulder at Anselmians on Saturday, which will necessitate an operation on the 11th.
With the Cup Final date changed from Good Friday, some players had arranged to have that day off but work on Saturday, however with the re arranged game against Hull taking precedence the situation could not be reversed. Taking into consideration the above there were 12 positional or different players to the team which played last week, whilst in the Hull team 17 out of the 18 who played in the home fixture were in the team- how fortunate not to have any injuries. The Wirral team was therefore:
1. Jack Yarker 2. Stuart Grattan 3. Ryan Higginson 4. Matt Dalton 5. Chris Tyson 6. Paul Lewis
7. Tom Parry 8. Matt Dowler 9. Joe Murray 10. Mark Williams 11. Matt Loon 12. Craig Harvey 13. Dan Harvey 14. Adam Sheldon 15. Ben Cornford SUBS. Steve Pendergast, Tim Hodson and Hayden Long.
There had been much rain over the past 24 hours with club officials having to fork the ground in the hours before the game- rain continued until an hour before the start. Wirral played towards the clubhouse in the first half.
Hull quickly got into the game with control of the ball as they made their way down field and slick passing led to Hull wing forward, Zakery Poole opening the scoring with a try under the posts, which was converted by Steve Johnson. 0-7 (3 mins). Wirral reacted positively to this score and soon applied pressure, which was eventually cleared but 2 minutes later a penalty from Craig Harvey reduced the arrears to 3-7 (13 minutes). Wirral were playing with a spirit not seen in recent matches and the game moved up and down the field with Hull missing a penalty opportunity. On 25 mins Paul Lewis was sin-binned for being in the path of the ball as it was passed out and from this position Steve Johnson kicked a penalty to restore Hull’s 7 point lead, 3-10 (25 minutes).
The game changed in the 30th minute when the Hull winger, Hihetah was tackled into touch but refused to give the ball to Wirral this led to friction with a Wirral player being hurled into an advertising hoarding and punches being thrown by the Hull back row. The Yorkshire referee did not appear or want to see any of the foul play and subsequently sin binned the Hull winger and Matt Dowler from Wirral - a strange decision.
Even though Wirral were down to 13 for the next few minutes all the pressure for the rest of the half came from Wirral, although the home team defended well the ball was cleared when 2 Hull players on Wirral’s side of the maul handled and were allowed to clear the ball- the referee saw nothing!. Eventually further pressure told from Wirral when from 5m out, Craig Harvey put in a short kick through and Matt Loon was on hand to collect and touch down, the try was converted by Craig Harvey to tie the scores at 10 each and this was the score at half time. In this half, Hull had been penalised on several occasions for scrum infringements.
This had been a good half by Wirral and had played well against the second placed team.
The early pressure in the second half came from Hull but good defence by Wirral kept out the Hull forwards. The turning point came in the 53rd minute when Wirral were looking to clear their line only to have the kick charged down and the Hull centre, Alex Heard was on hand just to touch down and Steve Johnson converted. Given the scrum comments made earlier a further scrum infringement led to both props, one from each side been sin binned, Jack Yarker had not been penalised during the game to date- another strange decision from the referee. Steve Pendergast came on to prop with Chris Tyson having to be sacrificed. HAYDN LONG came on for Tom Parry who had taken a knock on his ankle. Two minutes later, the Hull winger who should have not been on the field, broke through two tackles in mid field and outpaced the Wirral defence to run in from 50 metres, Johnson converted to extend the Hull lead to 10-24 (56 minutes).
Hull were now looking for their try bonus point and put pressure on the Wirral 20m area and although attacking a Hull player blatantly took out DAN HARVEY with a high shot which in its own right was a red card. Again nothing was done, who is protecting players in these circumstances, certainly not this referee. CRAIG as captain queried the decision only to be then sin binned!!- 69 minutes.
From this position with the penalty reversed, Hull applied pressure and were rewarded with a push over try by scrum half, Harvey Harding and again converted to leave the score 10-31 after 70 minutes. Tim Hodson came on for Matt Dowler. Pressure continued from Hull but could not add to their score.
Despite the number of changes this was a much better performance from Wirral when compared to previous weeks. A fairer deal from the referee would have been welcomed but the second try for Hull was the turning point in this game. Next week the first team are away at Kirkby Lonsdale.