IT took two tries in the last ten minutes to finally put this game to bed, writes Graham Henthorne.
But it was the determination and tenacity of the Saints not to give up their unbeaten home record that won them the game 30-18.
Hull FC came over the Pennines smarting from the hiding the Saints had handed out to them only a month ago and intent on revenge.
In that game the Saints had fielded a very young side. Today’s team were slightly more experienced but this was challenged as young full back Matty Costello, who had been deputising in Ricky Bailey’s absence, was taken ill. Up stepped 18th man Rob Fairclough at 20 minutes notice to play in such a key position. A position he had never played in his life before.
They are a big, physical side all around the park and were uncompromising from the start but it was the Saints who took the lead.
Bolstered by Fairclough’s confident first take of a high ball, and the fact that he got up from a high shot, the forwards marched their bigger counterparts down field. Whereupon Jonah Cunningham showed the family trait of an eye for a gap at dummy half at the line diving over for the opening score.
That didn’t worry the visitors a jot, however, and led by halves Tyson-Wilson and Dean they proceeded to test the Saints out wide and drew level with a try on the overlap in the left corner.
The Saints struck back in the most dramatic of fashions as Calvin Wellington showed some great skills. He firstly chased the kick off regaining possession as it had been left to bounce. Then secondly it was his deft grubber to the corner that was pounced upon by Regan Grace for the first of his two.
With five minutes to the break the visitors drew level as their left centre out jumped Dave Eccleston to fall over the line.
However, the game turned on two incidents. On the stroke of half time Hull sub Ross Osborne was ruled to have bounced the ball over the line as he strode through some wafer thin tackling.
The second was when FC stand-off Harry Tyson-Wilson kicked out on the full on halfway. This was all the more remarkable as it occurred ten minutes into the second period and FC were sitting on an eight point lead courtesy of two more unconverted tries.
The Saints took full advantage of the error going straight down the other end and scoring through Morgan Knowles off Danny Richardson’s short ball.
The visitors conceded a penalty straight after the restart and when Ross McCauley poked his nose through and offloaded to the supporting Cunningham the Saints had the lead again.
But the visitors proved they are a genuine force to be reckoned with as they then battered the Saints line producing some heroic defence to keep them out.
As in the first team game the night before something had to give and again as before it was the visitors who flinched first.
Saints were pressing down the right only to spread it left for Grace to round his man for his second try of the afternoon.
The icing on the cake was provided by Jake Spedding who stepped inside his opposite number to give the Saints breathing space.
This was undoubtedly the hardest game of the season so far with neither side giving or taking an inch.
The pace and guile of the Saints Welsh side was always a threat and the midfield triangle of Danny Richardson, Lewis Fairhurst and Morgan Knowles moved the team around with skill.
But tied for Men of the Match were Rob Fairclough, for the consummate ease with which he filled some big boots and talking of big boots Ross McCauley. As we saw with Mose last night it’s never easy to stop a big ‘un, especially one who can offload.
Tries: Jonah Cunningham (6, 56), Regan Grace (26, 73), Morgan Knowles (52), Jake Spedding (75).
Goals: Danny Richardson 3.
Hull FC U19s:
Tries: Jack Logan (35), Josh Poskitt (23, 47), Zeus Silk (42).
Goals: Reece Dean.
Half Time: 10-10
Full Time: 30-18
20. Rob Fairclough; 2. David Eccleston, 3. Jake Spedding, 4. Calvin Wellington, 5. Regan Grace; 6. Danny Richardson, 7. Lewis Fairhurst; 8. Ross McCauley, 9. Jonah Cunningham, 10. Joe Ryan, 11. Olly Davies, 12. Liam Cooper, 13. Morgan Knowles.
Subs: 14. Josh Eaves, 15. Levy Nzoungou, 16. Ben Morris, 17. Matty Lees.
1. Jack Sanderson; 2. Mike Adlard, 3. Zeus Silk, 4. Jack Logan, 5. Josh Poskitt; 6. Harry Tyson-Wilson, 7. Reece Dean; 15. Masimbaashe Matongo, 9. Brad Harrison, 10. Joel Marquez-Laynez, 11. Brad Clavering, 12. Jack Downs, 13. Brad Fash.
Subs: 8. Charlie Weaver, 14. Ross Osborne, 16. Matty Liggins, 17. Jez Litten.