In the second instalment of matches from Super League’s Easter weekend, Hull FC edged a one point win over Wakefield while Leeds nilled Salford at Headingley. In something of a shock, Warrington turned Castleford over in West Yorkshire while there were also wins for Wigan and St Helens over Hull KR and Widnes respectively.
In a tight game at the KCOM Stadium, the Airlie Birds overcame a ten point half time deficit to beat Wakefield Trinity thanks to a late Marc Sneyd drop goal. In response to Bill Tupou’s first half brace and Mason Caton-Brown’s effort, all kicked by James Batchelor – whose brother, Joe of York City Knights, has been watched by St Helens – Hull FC crossed through Jordan Abdull, his converted try being the only score for the hosts other than an early Sneyd penalty. However, an Albert Kelly effort coupled with Fetuli Talanoa’s brace turned the game on it’s head. After Talanoa’s first, the hosts had the lead briefly before Batchelor kicked a goal to level the game at 20-20. The free scoring winger, however, quickly crossed again and had it not been for a loose FC pass the scoreline may have had a more comfortable look to it. However, with seven minutes left on the clock, Caton-Brown raced in after claiming the loose ball forty metres out and crossed, Batchelor goaling. However, Hull FC boast arguably the best kicker in the competition and Sneyd duly put a long range drop goal over with two minutes left, handing the black and whites a one point victory.
Leeds returned to winning ways after a loss and a draw in their last two games with a comfortable victory over Salford Red Devils at Headingley, nilling the Lancastrians. Tom Briscoe broke the deadlock early on and the in-form Ash Handley, surely putting a real marker down and signalling his intention to keep hold of the left centre position following his seventh try in four games, doubled the scoreline, Kallum Watkins converting the latter. Barring two goals from the Leeds captain, there was no other scoring until the 76th minute when Josh Walters crossed for his first try since June 2016 and, with Watkins kicking his, fourth goal of the game, the scoreline hit 20-0. Leeds introduced Stevie Ward back to the fold for the first time since February’s World Club Challenge and will be glad that the second rower came through the game unscathed with a potentially tricky trip to Wakefield coming up on Sunday.
Warrington registered their second win of the weekend after beating Castleford 18-6 in abject conditions in West Yorkshire. Holding a 10-0 win at half time thanks to two Stefan Ratchford penalties and a converted Toby King try, the Wolves stayed strong enough to ensure the Tigers couldn’t close the gap. The second half saw a try apiece as Oliver Holmes crossed before Daryl Clark could do the same late on to confirm Wire’s victory over his former side. The weather, however, ensured that the ‘summer rugby’ fallacy was made a mockery of; rain lashed down throughout the game and there were large patches of water on the pitch which promptly turned into mud baths. With that in mind, it isn’t really a shock that free-flowing rugby was sparse today at Wheldon Road.
Wigan’s Liam Marshall crossed four times for the cherry and whites as they eased to a 44-6 win over Hull KR at the DW Stadium as the Warriors recovered from their late defeat to St Helens on Good Friday. Sam Tomkins, Liam Farrell (2) and George Williams crossed in the first half, the latter coming before Marshall’s first, giving the hosts a strong 26-0 half time lead. KR’s Chris Atkin – the recipient of Bureta Faraimo’s late hit during Good Friday’s Hull derby – crossed in the second half but that was as good as it got for the Robins who also saw Josh Johnson spend ten minutes in the sin bin with Marshall, who had already responded to Atkin’s effort, scoring twice when Wigan had the one man advantage.
That win ensured that the gap between Wigan and the top of the table didn’t grow from four points as St Helens continued their strong form, joining only Hull FC and Warrington in being the teams boasting two wins from the Easter program. Their 28-6 victory away to Widnes saw the league leaders cross six times with Ryan Morgan and Ben Barba joining Mark Percival and Tommy Makinson – the latter two with braces – in scoring for the Saints. Makinson’s second was his 100th try for the club and, despite being reduced to twelve men following Luke Douglas’ sin-binning, were able to repel Widnes’ efforts and limited their hosts to just one try, scored through Wellington Albert.