In the second Derby of the opening weekend Hull FC travelled East to face their nearest rivals Hull Kingston Rovers to see who would be the first team to claim the bragging rights in early 2019.
The new Orange Steeden balls were put to use as snow was scheduled to fall for the night ahead. Despite the conditions a record 12,100 turned up to KCOM Craven Park on the night.
With both Jake Connor and Albert Kelly out for the Airlie Birds, Danny Washbrook started in the halves alongside Marc Sneyd. Joe Westerman, Fetuli Talanoa and Josh Bowden were also unavailable for the Black and Whites.
The Robins only had Ryan Shaw unavailable so Ben Crooks was shifted to the right wing.
Rovers were the first team to put pressure on their opponents as Danny McGuire collected Craig Hall’s kick-off to put them on the front foot. Robbie Mulhern knocked on though and an early try was denied.
Hull K.R. were the first team with a clear try-scoring opportunity but Junior Vaivai was offside from Danny McGuire’s grubber kick.
Jamie Shaul seemed unsure under the high ball and conceded a goal-line drop out as the Rovers attacked the Hull line once more.
The deadlock was broken on 15 minutes though as Weller Hauraki’s knock on led to a goo platform for Hull FC to attack, the ball was shifted to the short side after a quick play the ball and Sika Manu powered over the top of the back pedalling Kane Linnett to score. Marc Sneyd added the extras for an early 6-0 lead.
Their lead was doubled just two minutes later,as a high fifth tackle kick was dropped by Chris Atkin, the ball dropped to Danny Washbrook who’s grubber kick through was then picked up by debutant Matty Dawson-Jones who jump over the line to score. Marc Sneyd was once again successful with the boot as Hull FC led by 12 points after 18 minutes.
The next ten minutes were very back and forth between the two sides but with 25 minutes on the clock, Carlos Tuimavave won a penalty for his side 35 metres out. Marc Sneyd pushed it wide of the uprights and the score stayed 0-12.
A knock-on from Hull FC allowed the Robins to attack from a scrum just 10 metres out. This allowed Hull KR to pull the scores closer just after the half hour mark after Joel Tomkins collected a short pass from Danny McGuire to slide over the Hull FC line.
Rovers were over the line again five minutes later as the marched up the field and the talisman, that is McGuire kicked a teasing grubber behind the Hull FC line and Mitch Garbutt was in the perfect position to collect the ball and score. Drinkwater was successful with both conversion attempts and the scores were level with half-time looming.
Josh Drinkwater was then successful with a penalty attempt, after more Hull FC ill-discipline, to extend the Robins lead to two points with just two minutes of the half remaining.
The Rovers were not finished though as Drinkwater broke from the half-way line. Scott Taylor managed to strip the ball from the half-back though and the Black and Whites escaped.
Half-Time: Hull Kingston Rovers 14-12 Hull FC
Hull KR started the second half the brighter as they were more physical in defence and attack, winning multiple back-to-back sets within the opening 10 minutes of the half.
This led to nothing and once again Marc Sneyd kicked deep into Hull K.R. half and the Black and Whites attacked.
A Sneyd grubber kick nearly came to fruition but Tommy Lee managed to dot the ball down in his own in-goal area and the Rovers escaped.
With no further scores before the hour mark both sides stepped up their attacking game with a riskier aspect to passes.
Marc Sneyd threw one of those risky passes out wide to Bureta Faraimo who ran down the left hand edge, flattened Danny McGuire and raced into the left hand corner to give the visitors the lead with just under 15 minutes remaining. Marc Sneyd missed the conversion and the lead sat at just two points.
The lead was nearly stretched further as Ben Crooks lost the ball in the tackle and Matty Dawson-Jones escaped to threaten the Hull KR line. However, the momentum was instantly stopped after the Black and Whites winger picked up a knock. The resulting set lead to nothing.
With five minutes to go, Joel Tomkins lifted Jordan Lane above the horizontal to concede a penalty and the pressure was once again on the home side.
As the full-time whistle loomed Hull FC took control of the game but with just over a minute to go Hull KR were given the chance to go 90 metres to win the game.
The fifth tackle kick went high, the ball was batted back by Ben Crooks to Danny Addy who shifted the ball to McGuire, who released Jimmy Keinhorst, then the German international dotted the ball down for the home side with six seconds remaining on the clock and win the game for Hull KR.
Josh Drinkwater dragged the conversion wide but that wouldn’t matter as they took their first win of the season against their closest rivals and consign them to a 12th straight defeat dating back to last season.
Full-Time: Hull KR 18-16 Hull FC
MAN OF THE MATCH: Jimmy Keinhorst
The German international centre was outstanding throughout the entire 80 minutes. Two try-saving tackles inside the final ten minutes as well as a composed finish on the full-time hooter were the cherry-on-top in what was an all around great performance from the new signing.
Hull Kingston Rovers:
Chris Atkin, Ben Crooks, Jimmy Keinhorst, Junior Vaivai, Craig Hall, Danny McGuire, Josh Drinkwater, Mose Masoe, George Lawler, Robbie Mulhern, Joel Tomkins, Kane Linnett, Weller Hauraki.
Subs: Danny Addy, Match Garbutt, James Greenwood, Tommy Lee.
Joel Tomkins, Mitch Garbutt, Jimmy Keinhorst
Josh Drinkwater (3/3)
Jamie Shaul, Matty Dawson-Jones, Carlos Tuimavave, Josh Griffin, Bureta Faraimo, Danny Washbrook, Marc Sneyd, Scott Taylor, Danny Houghton, Masi Matongo, Sika Manu, Mark Minichello, Dean Hadley.
Subs: Jordan Lane, Jez Litten, Micky Paea, Jordan Thompson.
Sika Manu, Matty Dawson-Jones, Bureta Faraimo
Marc Sneyd (2/3)