Salford Red Devils 36 Hull FC 4 Match Report
Salford Red Devils kept up their pressure for the number one place at the top of the Championship League table, with their completing their second ‘double’ of the season over Humberside opposition, with this rather harder fought return encounter with the side from West Hull.
A recruiting drive of some significance was responsible for the considerable strengthening of the Hull team for Thursday’s Double Header opener, compared with the one which had turned out against the Reds, back in mid-June. Among those who had been acquired were two French players, who paired up on the left wing to form a strong attacking force, whenever the ball found its way into their hands.
Nevertheless, it was less than five minutes into the game when the home side opened their account as a result of a break from centre, Sade Rihari, supported by fullback, Alex Simpson, who went over between the posts with Demi Jones slotting over the goal.
Those who might have thought that this would herald an ever-increasing number of such scores were to be somewhat surprised to find that it took almost twenty minutes of hard graft in the ensuing arm-wrestle, before the Reds were able to improve on this. Twenty-two minutes in, however, an extremely strong run by substitute forward, Casy Naylor, set them up for the ball to be swung from left towards the right until Simpson cut through the defensive line, leaving Jones again to complete the doubling of their score.
Four minutes later the Red Devils backed this up with what was undoubtedly the try of the match. Support play of the highest order saw the ball go through several pairs of hands before being sent out to left winger, Kate Garry, who had already caught the eye with some creditable attacking touches, taking her first scoring opportunity well, to go got over in the corner, thereby celebrating what coincidentally happened to be her birthday.
The resultant score line of 16-0, was then defended by the Reds right through to the half time interval, the resumption from which saw Abi Collins show a remarkable turn of speed for a prop, from Jones’s pass, to extend their lead, on 45 mins, to 22-0, with the addition of Jones’s conversion.
The tightness of the contest was underlined, once more, with a further ten-minute period with the two sides battling for supremacy, but this time it was the visitors who broke the deadlock. A set-restart was awarded to them, and they used the extra tackles to notch their try, too far out for it to be converted.
It was to be all Salford from this point on, however, with Taz Corcoran crossing twice in the left corner, in almost identical spots, on 65th and 80th minutes, and although neither was converted, the fact that Jones’s first attempt hit the crossbar from so far out, served to underline the considerable progress she has made with her kicking during the season.
Sandwiched in between those two scores came the remaining Jones-converted try, on 69 mins. The ball was again moved along the line towards the right, and when it came to Rihari she cleverly stepped inside her opposite number to ground the ball close to the right upright.
So the Salford players gained a further couple of points to sustain their battle of attrition with Oulton for prime league position. The two sides will face each other at the A J Bell, next weekend for what would probably be regarded as a ‘four-pointer’, even though, of course, the winner will only come away with two. Certainly, this latest, tougher than expected, encounter should stand them in good stead for that, and with only one further league game thereafter (for Salford away at Stanningley) the league placings might even have been decided before then.
Alex Simpson, Lauren Ellison, Sade Riahari, Brogan Evans, Kate Garry, Louise Fellingham, Demi Jones, Megan Condliffe, Tamzin Corcoran, Abi Collins Helena Walker, Victoria Kini, Sarina Tamou
Darcey Price, Kayleigh Bradshaw, Hannah Wicks, Yasmin Parton-Sotomayor, Casey Naylor, Laura Bent, Gabrielle Chaplin
Steve McCormick, for above photograph showing Demi Jones’s fine kicking style