Ring-rusty Ionians stroll to home win
HULL Ionians showed superior strength, fitness and teamwork to ensure a comfortable seven-try 46-7 win over Huddersfield at Brantingham Park.
It took some time for Ionians to get their game together, but coach Gary Pearce was pragmatic.
He said: "We were a bit ring-rusty for the first half but were much better after the break.
"Players tried to play too much as individuals rather than let the ball do the work, but with 46 points on the board you can not be too critical.
"At least it was a good way to get back to playing rugby after only three games in the last seven weeks."
Joe Makin's high work rate and frequent powering through tackles saw him named the man-of-the-match award winner, with forward-of-the-match Joe Sanders and Richard Fletcher also putting in hard yards with the ball.
Huddersfield had some good early possession but were always driven backwards in the tackle as Ionians' power gave them the edge.
The early possession was 50-50 with Huddersfield using the wind well but after 11 minutes Ionians' driving play took them into the 22. After several phases, Chris Reakes ran blind and raced over in the corner for his first try for the club.
On 20 minutes, a five-metre scrum created loose ball before Isaac Green cleaned up and Jon Steel came off his wing to cut through the middle and touch down for the try by powering through the final tackle. Reakes added the conversion and a penalty.
Huddersfield made a great start after the half-time break with Joel Hinchliffe stealing a ball when it popped out of the scrum and after taking play to the 22 a quick tap penalty saw Nick Sharpe power over. Luke Booth added the goal.
Ionians reasserted command, with their pack stealing the ball at the scrums and now played much more fluently.
A five-metre scrum at the posts saw Danny Hague dive over for his 11th try of the season to increase the lead.
Eight minutes later, a penalty brought an attacking line-out from which Steve Johnson peeled round to crash over in the corner for the bonus-point try.
A Huddersfield error under pressure saw Makin steal the ball but he was stopped just short, where quick ball saw Fletcher stroll in.
A good kick from Reakes forced another five-metre line-out, from which Kerry Wood was driven over to also claim his 11th try this season.
Ionians continued to look for the points and the final play saw turn over in the tackle, with Sanders releasing Sam Wilson to score. Reakes added three second-half conversions to bring his tally to 16 points.