Hull 12 Wirral 14

WITH both teams still in the running for a play-off position this was an important game, Hull needing a win to hold any realistic chance of catching Wirral.

Playing against the wind in the first half, Wirral were on the defensive for the first quarter of the game and it was Hull who took the lead through their number eight Price when he dived over from a metre out. The try was not converted.

Gradually Wirral worked their way downfield and settled in the Hull 22metre area.

A penalty try was denied when a Wirral player was tackled off the ball but the sustained Wirral pressure resulted in a rolling maul and a slip pass from Chris Burrows to Keith Mahon who crashed over in the corner.

Against the strong crosswind, James Annetts converted from the touchline to give Wirral the lead.

Back came Hull utilising the wind and, with the first half coming to a close, they were awarded a controversial penalty try which was converted to give Hull the lead at 12-7.

On the stroke of half time, Hull were awarded a penalty 18m out in front of the posts and Wirral had captain Craig Harvey sin binned.

The kick was missed which was eventually going to prove expensive to Hull.

The vast majority of the second half was played within 30m of the Hull line as Wirral strove for an opening to score that elusive try that would at least level matters.

Wirral turned down a number of kickable penalties as they continued to probe a strong Hull defence. It was not until the 69th minute that the breakthrough came when from a scrum 15m out, Rob Pearl went blind, drew three defenders before releasing Adam Sheldon who scored in the corner.

The scores were level when James Annetts stepped up to kick his second touchline conversion.

Missed penalty on stroke of half time is costly for Hull in one of season's hardest matches to Billingham this week.