Wakefield Trinity Wildcats failed to secure back-to-back Super League wins over the Easter weekend as Hull FC left the Rapid Solicitors Stadium with a 34-22 victory.
Wildcats, buoyed by their derby victory over old foes Castleford Tigers on Good Friday, looked good early on as they raced into a 10-0 lead against Peter Gentle’s side through tries from Peter Fox and Danny Kirmond.
The Black and Whites were still smarting from defeat in their derby game against Hull KR but battled back to lead 12-10 and eventually eased to a first away win of the season, helped by three tries in nine second-half minutes.
The match was packed with errors from both sides and was not one for the purists, something undoubtedly hindered by the quick turnaround from the Good Friday matches.
Wakefield made just one change to the side that won at Castleford with Andy Raleigh back in for Vince Mellars. The visitors were hampered by injuries, notably to former Wildcat Gareth Ellis and Daniel Holdsworth, and they handed a debut to young full-back Jamie Shaul.
The hosts started well and after Tom Briscoe was penalised for a challenge on Wildcats skipper Danny Kirmond, winger Peter Fox forced his way over the line from the next set for the opening points. Sykes could not add the conversion.
It got better for Richard Agar’s side minutes later when Ben Cockayne produced a brilliant run across the FC line and fed Kirmond, who darted under the posts. Sykes’s kick made it 10-0 and Wakefield were looking good for back-to-back wins.
Hull’s first spell of pressure came after the ten minute mark but Wildcats defended their line well. Joe Westerman’s grubber kick caused problems but Richard Mathers punched the ball out of play to alleviate the pressure.
Agar’s men looked to have the game back in their control but the Black and Whites responded with a try out of nothing after 21 minutes. It came from impressive full-back Shaul, who brilliantly burst through the Wakefield line on halfway and raced clear for a superb try on his debut. Tickle added the extras.
If that was a moment of magic then it was a moment of madness that allowed the visitors to get on level terms. Wakefield did well in winning the ball back in the tackle but from the resulting scrum Tim Smith’s pass to Dean Collis was read by Ben Crooks, who nipped in to steal the ball and eventually touch down after Aaron Heremaia sent the ball back inside. Tickle’s conversion gave Peter Gentle’s men the lead for the first time.
Hull had the momentum and came close to extending their lead minutes later when Horne’s grubber kick had Liam Watts with the line at his mercy but the prop forward knocked on and Wakefield were let off the hook.
The visitors looked to be heading into half-time with the lead but Wakefield managed to get on level terms when a couple of penalties against the visitors allowed Sykes to kick a penalty from in front of the sticks and make it all-square at the interval.
It was an error-strewn start to the second half from both sides but Hull managed to regain their lead six minutes after the restart. Horne’s grubber kick took a few deflections close to the line and Shaul was there to pounce for his second try of the match. Tickle comfortably converted.
Errors and penalties were moulding the game and it was from another penalty that Wakefield scored the next try to get back in the contest. Westerman was penalised for holding down in the tackle and from the next set Lee Smith took a Mathers pass to dive over. Sykes failed with the kick to leave the hosts two points behind.
Instead of buckling under the pressure, Hull raised their game to score three quick tries and seal their first two points on their travels this season.
They were helped by some Wakefield errors at the back, with a stray pass from Cockayne inviting pressure on the Wildcats line and it allowed Heremaia to produce some neat footwork and ease through a flimsy home defence in the 64th minute.
Five minutes later Hull all-but sealed the points when good defence from the visitors forced Mathers over his own line and from the next set Crooks touched down when Lee Smith failed to intercept a Heremaia pass.
The Black and Whites rubbed salt into the Wakefield wounds with a sixth try seven minutes from time through Briscoe before Dean Collis scored a consolation try, converted by Sykes, on the full-time hooter.
Wildcats: Mathers, Fox, Collis, Lyne, Cockayne, Sykes, T Smith, Poore, Aiton, Wilkes, Lauitiiti, Kirmond, Washbrook. Subs: L Smith, Raleigh, Amor, Annakin.
Hull FC: Shaul, Lineham, Arundel, Crooks, Briscoe, Horne, Heremaia, Watts, Houghton, Lynch, Galea, Tickle, Westerman. Subs: O’Meley, Whiting, Johnson, Crookes.
Referee: James Child.