Hull FC came into tonight's round four fixture against St Helens on the back of a big win over the Huddersfield Giants and full of confidence. Saints were looking for some 2017 form and seeking to put last weekends loss at home to Wakefield Trinity behind them, and lift themselves into the top eight.
Lee Redford was marking his 100th game in charge of the Airlie Birds as the two beaten semi-finalists in 2016 came up against one another in an important early season match up.
Although playing for the Steve Prescott Trophy, there was little love in evidence between the two sets of players.
It took twelve minutes for FC to take the lead thanks to the outstretched arm of Albert Kelly as he bounced off one tackle and ducked under a second. Marc Sneyd kept his seasons 100% record going with the conversion.
A bizarre try from Dominique Peyroux put Saints back level when he collected a ball which was pinging around in a confused FC defence to dive over to score and when Mark Percival added the extras it was 6-6.
Hull had a couple of kickable penalties but four minutes from the interval, and following interference at the play the ball, it was the boot of Saints' Percival who kicked the goal for the two points on offer and a narrow lead.
At the break the game was still there for both sides to win.
A high tackle from Kyle Amor gave Saints the chance to level the score on forty-four and the dependable boot of Sneyd kicked the two. Sneyd soon kicked his third goal of the night after he was obstructed five out from the Saints line.
On fifty-eight a moment of stupidity from Jansin Turgut saw him put the elbow in on Alex Walmsley while he was on the ground. After initially missing the incident the referee put the offender in the sin-bin and Percival kicked the penalty from forty metres out.
Before FC could get the ball back, Saints took the lead when Percival slid over off a Zeb Taia pass but Percival couldn't convert his own try, leaving his side with a four point lead at 14-10.
Excellent hands from Hull, after a period of good pressure, saw Tuimavave go in to score. As he grounded the ball Walmsley appeared to drop on the scorers back with his knees. Referee Bentham awarded an eight point try and Sneyd kicked both the conversion and the penalty for 18-14 with ten minutes to play.
Saints bombarded the FC line in the dying minutes but it was FC who scored a breakaway try as Albert Kelly went in his second after Scott Taylor broke the Saints line and passed to him twenty metres out. Sneyd kicked the extra two for a final score of 24-14.
There was nothing pretty about a rough a tough game which lifted FC to third in the table and condemned Saints to their third consecutive defeat in Super League XXII and with results elsewhere saw them drop to tenth place.
FC: Shaul, Fonua, Tuimavave (T), Griffin, Talaonoa, Kelly (2T), Sneyd (6G), Taylor, Houghton, Bowden, Manu, Minichiello, Thompson. Subs: Green, Washbrook, Turgut (SB), Matongo.
Saints: Makinson, Owens, Morgan, Percival (T, 3G), Swift, Fages, Wilkin, Walmsley, Roby, Douglas, Taia, Peyroux (T), Knowles. Subs: Amor, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Walker, Lee.
Referee: Phil Bentham.