West Hull 58 Longhorns RL 10
By Mark Chestney of League Weekly
When the draw for the first round of the 2018 Ladbrokes Challenge Cup was made it served up some interesting ties. For Ireland champions Longhorns RL it was a trip to England to take on one of the most successful amateur teams in the country, West Hull.
Longhorns RL who had won the All Ireland title last year are the first team from the Emerald Isle to play in the most prestigious competition in the last 20 years. They gave it their all and although defeated walked off with their heads held high.
The visitors certainly matched the hosts with their physicality but maybe they lacked the guile and experience of top class amateur rugby league. West Hull have, and will continue to, play in many top games and it showed in their approach to the game.
It wasn’t for a lack of effort for the boys from Ireland as they were truly committed which was proven in taking the game to West Hull for full eighty minutes. It is fair to say the word experience will crop up time and again but it is fair to say the Longhorns lads will have benefited from this ‘experience’.
West Hull took a fourth minute lead playing into a very strong wind when Danny Ward crossed for the first of his four tries. Quick hands saw the ball go wide for the winger to cross and Ryan Wilson to step up and land the first of seven conversions.
The lead was doubled on ten minutes when the Longhorns were again caught out wide with a similar move. Callum Windley, who plied his trade with Oxford in League One last season, whipped the ball out for the winger to score as Wilson again landed the conversion from out wide.
This seemed to signal the visitors into the game despite being 12-0 in arrears as they rolled up their sleeves and gave West Hull something to think about. They were denied a certain try when Jordan Hylton took a loose ball around his boot laces only to be called back for the smallest of knock forwards.
It was then back to defending as West Hull rolled forward and from a quick play the ball hooker Nathan Powley nipped over the line. Wilson landed the conversion before Longhorns came up with their best spell of the game and grabbed a deserved try.
Great Longhorns defence forced a West Hull knock on and the visitors took the game to them from the resultant scrum. The ball went wide through Robert O’Meara and Matthew Connolly before it was turned inside for substitute Andrew Coade to score but brother Matthew failed to convert.
The momentum continued but wrong options let the Longhorns down as West Hull replied with two more tries before the break to lead 30-4. It was the first of a brace for stand off Scott Spaven with Powley and Wilson the two providers as Wilson converted both.
Four minutes into the second half it was effectively game over as Powley was held up over the line but a quick Windley pass saw Louis Crowther go in. Wilsonlanded another conversion and you just saw the Longhorns head slightly drop.
Two more tries in six minutes saw the score extend to 44-4 as man of the match Ryan Steen and Windley combined to send in Ray Brown. Then, after lost possession by Longhorns, Ben Arbon added another as Spaven missed both goal attempts.
It took nearly an hour for West Hull to concede their first penalty but Longhorns failed to capitalise as the home side scored again down the other end. A kick to the corner was collected by Ward to complete his hat-trick.
Three minutes later the winger was in again by the corner flag as West Hull reached a half century of points. The last try for the home side saw Wilson power over from close range and he added the conversion for good measure.
The biggest cheer of the afternoon was saved for six minutes from the end when Longhorns scored their second try. It was a superb sidestep from stand off Andy McMahon who raced away to the posts leaving Matthew Coade to land the conversion.
WEST HULL: Ben Rowan, Josh Nicklin, James Goldsboro-Miller, Jack Lazenby, Danny Ward, Scott Spaven, Callum Windley, Ryan Wilson, Nathan Powley, Zeus Silk, Jacob Moore, Louis Crowther, Ryan Steen Subs: Dean Thompson, Ray Brown, Oscar Ellerington, Ben Arbon
Tries: Ward (3, 10, 62, 65), Powley (18), Spaven (33, 39), Crowther (44), Brown (50), Arbon (56), Wilson (68) Goals: Wilson 7
LONGHORNS: Eathon Moloney, Robert O’Meara, Matthew Connolly, Casey Dunne, Jordan Hylton, Alan McMahon, Matthew Coade, Ryan Healy, Connor Philips, Gareth Gill, Emmet Banahan, Richard McHugh, Wayne Kerr Subs: Simon Deevy, Andrew Coade, Conor Creaby, Luke Lehane
Tries: A Coade (24), McMahon (74) Goal: M Coade
REFEREE: Greg Houston
MAN OF THE MATCH: Ryan Steen (West Hull)
SIN BIN: None
SENT OFF: None
WEATHER: Mild but windy