Hull 20 Wharfedale 10
Hull deservedly won a tense and hard-fought Yorkshire Cup final played in taxing and sodden conditions at York, leaving Wharfedale yet again as in recent seasons the empty-handed bridesmaid at this now rather tarnished feast.
Clifton Park in particular has proved a veritable graveyard. This was third successive Final loss at the ground and although Wharfedale punched their weight in previous defeats against Doncaster the same could hardly be said of this latest encounter.
Hull were superior in most respects though in the end they owed their victory as much to the grit and determination shown by their defence near their line as to their surer handling in the wet and shrewder direction of the game.
Wharfedale paid the penalty for attempting ambitious running from deep in the opening quarter and thereafter until near the end were largely on the defensive. The Greens began with a flourish propelling a controlled maul thirty yards but the commendable early running from both sides led inevitably only to knock-ons and the surrender of promising possession – and in Wharfedale’s case a forty-yard retreat following opposing scrum-half Dan White’s powerful box-kicking.
A missed penalty apiece by respective fly-halves James Cameron and Tom Barrett looked to be the nearest the half would come to seeing a score before a fine mid-field break by full-back James Wigglesworth threaded through the defence to send winger Will Robinson racing in at the corner for a five-nil interval lead.
Despite the loss of Dan Solomi at the break after some impressively heavy tackling duty Wharfedale it seemed had only to shed their sluggish play and concentrate their efforts closer to the opposition line to regain control.
Any such hopes exploded immediately after the resumption when Robinson was over again after profiting from a piece of good fortune close to the home line as Lloyd Davies slithered on the wet surface and his clearance kick went astray. Cameron’s conversion put Hull a hefty 12-nil ahead given the worsening conditions.
It was Wharfedale’s turn to profit from a yellow card to lock Chris Murray, a forceful physical presence and fringe opportunist at the breakdown. The Greens at last began to look truly threatening and a though a period of intense pressure near the line met with dogged resistance an eventual penalty try converted by Davies put them back in firm contention.
But despite being a man down a confident Hull surged forward to increase their lead with a Cameron penalty.
Though Wharfedale rallied strongly to claim belated control they could only claim and answering penalty from Davies before Hull stretched the advantage to 20-10 with a corner try from flanker Anthony Maca after Wharfedale spilled the ball near their line.
Thought the Greens ended strongly exerting immense pressure close the Hull earning repeated penalties in their favour Hull were in no mood to let their historic moment of Cup glory to slip from their grasp.
As for the Greens, for all their respect and commitment to this venerable competition, this was perhaps a game to far at the end of a demanding season, well though individuals like the outstanding lock Richard Brown and stalwart hooker Steve Graham played in a lost cause.
HULL: J Wigglesworth; J Donkin, S Slingsby, M White, W Robinson; J Cameron (Capt), D White; A Longbone, S Plevey, K Fullman; C Murphy, P Murphy; R Devonshire, A Maka, O Cook
WHARFEDALE: L Davies; J Druce, A Hodgson, J Tincknell, D Hart; T Barrett (W Bell 60), P Woodhead; C Steel (J Altham 62), S Graham, M Tampin (N Dickinson 70); R Brown, R Rhodes; J Holland (J Mason 62), D Solomi (C Howick 45), R Baldwin (Capt)
REFEREE: A Vertigan (RFU)