By Claire Cameron
Sedgley Tigers made hard work of disposing of a rejuvenated Hull side in National League Two North on Saturday, to record their sixth win in seven league matches.
The Tigers, lacking their usual spark for much of the game, will be grateful to have come away from the Ferens Ground with a 29-18 victory, as Hull’s efforts defied the respective league positions of the two clubs.
Tigers manager, Geoff Roberts, said: “We made really hard work of it and could easily have lost.
“It was one of those games you begin to look at and think is this going to be our banana skin after some good results?
“They tackled well and defensively they were very good, which is what you get from teams, even if they are lower down the table.
“I think Hull are putting it together a bit now. They beat Sheffield Tigers away last week and that’s a pretty good result really, so obviously the signs were there.”
After watching his side huff and puff their way to victory, Roberts said: “I felt as though we didn’t really tick like we have been doing, and we just struggled somehow.
“You know when there are little flashes of magic and it’s not put together, it seemed to be one of those days for a bit.”
With mid-table Birmingham and Solihull securing a shock 32-17 victory away to leaders Macclesfield, Roberts knows his Tigers side are in a good position, just eight points off the top.
“It’s a big bonus that Macclesfield got beat at home. It’s a real topsy turvy world. That result is really good for us and makes it so interesting. It puts us right in the mix.”
On Saturday, the Tigers entertain fourth from bottom Bromsgrove.
“They are another side that have gone okay. They are a little bit patchy, so we just have to keep our eye on it and try to get everyone to concentrate like they do when it’s a big one.
Sedgley opened the scoring at Hull through a Steve Collins penalty but the home side responded immediately with the first try of the game, which was unconverted, after some sloppy play in Tigers’ own 22.
Hooker Johnny Mathews hit back with two quickfire tries, in what was a lacklustre first period, to give Sedgley a 15-5 lead at half time.
In the second period, the Tigers, still lacking their usual cutting edge, found themselves pegged back to 15-15 after some fine play by the home team culminated in them scoring two tries.
Sedgley upped the tempo after Hull had a player sin-binned and regained the lead with James Lloyd going over and Collins converting.
Undeterred, Hull hit back with another penalty to reduce the deficit to 22-18 before missing a penalty which would have cut the gap to just one point but Matt Lamprey wrapped up an unconvincing win when he went over late on to secure the bonus point.
Meanwhile, Sedgley scrum half, Paul Urmston, was injured playing for the seconds against Sale.
“Paul got a nasty knock on the head. He had an element of concussion and they had to stop the game for about 20 minutes, but he’s okay,” Roberts said.