Ionians power to victory over Hull
HULL Ionians' forwards provided the platform and the tries to gain a bonus-point 27-22 derby victory over Hull RUFC.
In a tense game which was as hot as the weather, it was visitors Hull who made the better start.
Sustained ball retention against a solid defence finally forced a penalty, struck by Greg Lound.
Straight from the restart, Ionians had an attacking line-out from which Richard Fletcher and Joey Martin went through the middle, only for the ball to be lost at the line.
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A clumsy high tackle saw a Lound penalty fall just short, but Hull kept play in the attacking 22.
From a resulting line-out, they moved the bal wide, and when Steve Slingsby committed the last two tacklers and slipped the ball to Will Robinson, he raced under the posts. Lound converted.
Ionians needed a reply and did so immediately with Mike Bateman's chip forcing a five-metre scrum.
After a series of drives Kerry Wood finally powered over.
Mark Wigham and Joe Makin then combined to take the game to Hull and after some sustained pressure, a scrum on the 22 saw a blind-side break launched by Danny Hague and Adam Thomas, resulting in Bateman passing inside for Wigham to level the scores.
Ionians then took the lead to close the half, as another five-metre scrum set up Wigham to cross again. This time Chris Reakes was within range to add the goal.
Hull were lively after the break and immediately created an opening which was wasted by a wild pass.
Having regained possession, Oli Cook made ground and a recycled ball saw Dan White dummy over to score. Lound converted and the scores were level.
Another strong run by Richard Fletcher took play into the 22 where Reakes kicked a penalty to give Ionians the lead again, before 10 minutes later, they went two scores ahead.
A penalty to the corner saw Makin take the line-out, from which Wood sent Johnson diving over unmarked for the bonus-point try.
Reakes added the touchline conversion, but Hull hit back again, and with 10 minutes to go their forwards pressed for the line but were well held out.
However, the ball was then released to the backs and Robinson raced through to set up a tense finish.
But Ionians' defence held out though for a well-deserved victory that sees them as joint league leaders, one of five teams with the maximum 10 points.
Prop Steve Johnson took the man-of-the-match award in a game where all the pack shone, as did centres Richard Fletcher and Joey Martin.