Two sides, both with an excellent recent Coral Challenge Cup pedigree, were the first to clash in the quarter finals of the 2019 competition as the holders Catalans Dragons travelled to Hull to take on the Black and Whites side which lifted the trophies in the two previous years.
Hull overcame the Castleford Tigers in the last round, while the Dragons demolished lower league opposition from Doncaster. But the sides had very different fortunes last weekend at the Magic event in Liverpool with the Dragons recording a good victory over Wakefield Trinity, while FC crashed horrendously at the hands of the Huddersfield Giants.
The two sides are currently sat third and fourth in the league table, the French side with a two point advantage. The bookies had made the home side slight favourites, despite last weeks result, but expected that the holders wouldn’t relinquish their grip on the trophy without a fight.
After some good early pressure from Hull FC they opened the scoring after five minutes when a Marc Sneyd high kick caused confusion in the Dragons defence where the ball was tapped back into the hands of Jake Connor for his to touch down. Sneyd added the extra two for a 6-0 lead.
Two minutes later and Bureta Faraimo got the second Hull try after an Catalans defensive error allowed Hull to pass from right to left through a broken defensive line for the winger to go over in the corner. Sneyd added the goal, the perfect start for the Airlie Birds at 12-0.
David Mead was try provider for Lews Tierney on fifteen as the Dragons hit back after their earlier setback. Mead pulled in the defenders before freeing Tierney to score in space in the corner. Sam Tomkins slid his conversion across the front of the sticks, Catalans still eight points behind.
On twenty the Dragins were in again with Tierneys second following a penalty from a high tackle. On the first tackle Tony Gigot put in a delightful miss-out pass to his winger who had a clear run down the wing to slide in. Tomkins was again unable to add the conversion and despite it being two tries apiece, the visitiors trailed by four points.
Sneyd attempted a penalty, after the Dragons were offside, from forty-five metres just after the half hour but pushed it right of the uprights, the game reaching the interval at 12-8 in favour of the home side.
Sneyd was more successful with a penalty on forty-five to give Hull a 14-8 lead and on their set with the ball Sika Manu had a walk in try off an Albert Kelly pass, which was improved by Sneyd for 20-8.
A long range try after a Connor half break and a Ratu Naulogo sprint over fifty metres, edged Hull into an almost unreachable position. When Sneyd added the extras from in front of the uprights for 26-8 it was a mountain for the holders to climb.
Just after the hour Kelly scored a superb solo try as he threw a dummy and outpaced the Dragons defence over fifty metres to score under the sticks. Sneyd added the conversion for 32-8 and it was game over.
A Sneyd thirty metre one-pointer made it 33-8 on sixty-five, just to add insult to injury.
Naulago got his second of the night when he picked up a loose ball after a poor Dragons offload and stepped for twenty through a broken defence to drag the tacklers over the line with him for the try. Sneyd’s kick made it 39-8..
Kelly and Shaul combined for Hull’s seventh try of the night after Mark Minichiello put the half-back through a big gap. Once again the full-back’s try was under the sticks and Sneyd kicked his eighth goal of the night. It was a rout.
Mark Sneyd’s touch return pass gifted Danny Houghton a walk in try with two minutes remaining and when Sneyd addded the conversion Hull had reversed the fifty that they’d conceeded last week.
In a hot and cold season for Hull FC, tonight was one of those occasions where they ran hot, albeit against a luke warm Catalans Dragons. Hull rediscovered the team and team spirit which they misplaced last week and their stars shone bright with Kelly, Connor, Sneyd, Shaul and Naulago all impressing. The Dragons looked tired and uninterested, especially in the opening ten minutes, and for the entire second half. Coach Radford will hope that this win has set the benchmark for the rest of the season, rather than last weeks monster reversal. The Dragons have had the trophy ripped away from them, and on this performance Hull might be a worthwhile outside bet to regain it.
FC: Shaul (T), Naulago (2T), Connor (T), Griffin, Faraimo (T), Kelly (T), Sneyd (9G, DG), Green, Houghton (T), Paea, Minichiello, Manu (T), Westerman. Subs: Bowden, Fash, Hadley, Savelio.
Dragons: Gigot, Yaha, Mead, Wiliame, Tierney (2T), Langi, Tomkins, Bousquet, McIlorum, Moa, Whitley, Garcia, Casty. Subs: Edwards, Da Costa, Baitieri, Kasiano.
Referee: Ben Thaler.