Hull FC overcame injuries to Leon Pryce and captain Gareth Ellis tonight at the KC Lightstream Stadium to beat Hull Kingston Rovers 12-22, securing their place in the top eight and almost certainly condemning the Robins to the Middle Eight when the season splits after next weekend’s final round of fixtures in the regular season.
Hull lost Pryce to a shoulder injury within the opening ten minutes, and Ellis suffered an Achilles tendon injury after 33 minutes, at which point the Robins were leading 12-10.
They had taken the lead shortly after Pryce’s injury with an opportunist try by hooker Shaun Lunt, goaled by Josh Mantellato.
But Hull pulled a try back when Steve Michaels touched down Marc Sneyd’s kick, although Sneyd couldn’t add the goal.
Mantellato then scored a converted try that came from a superb bomb by Albert Kelly that was knocked back by Kris Welham, with Mantellato stepping inside Fetuli Talanoa to touch down.
Hull winger Tom Lineham then stepped up to the mark, scoring two tries before half time, both of which Sneyd converted to give Hull a 12-16 lead at the interval.
In the second half the Black and Whites dominated territorially and Michaels scored his second after Ken Sio dropped a kick from Jordan Abdull in the tackle, with Sneyd converting to complete the scoring.
Hull showed great defensive resolve when Tony Puletua was held up over the line, and with four minutes remaining Puletua had a try disallowed for a forward pass from Kelly.
The Robins still have a mathematical chance of overtaking the Catalans Dragons and making the eight, but, with a 75 point disparity in points difference, the task looks beyond them.
And the hopes of Widnes Vikings and Salford Red Devils were also dashed tonight, after defeats by 20-10 at Wigan and 70-6 at Leeds respectively.
The Rhinos scored 13 tries against the Red Devils and retain their place at the top of the table, while Wigan had a much harder struggle against Widnes at the DW Stadium, scoring two tries by Ryan Hampshire and Anthony Gelling in the final ten minutes after the Vikings had held them to 10-all with tries by Tom Gilmore and Chris Dean, in reply to Wigan tries by Josh Charnley and Joe Burgess.
The Catalans Dragons will play Huddersfield Giants later today in Perpignan, with the Giants hoping for a win to retain their hold on fourth place in the table.
Full reports and photos from all the Round 22 games will feature in Monday’s edition of League Express.