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Bradford 16-22 Hull

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After a poor first-half, Bradford pushed Hull hard to try and get level

Bradford (6) 16
Tries: Tupou, Sykes Goals: Harris (4)

Hull (16) 22
Tries: Sing (2), Byrne Goals: Tickle (5)

By Chris Whyatt

Hull booked their place in the Challenge Cup semi-finals after beating Bradford in a pulsating match at Odsal.

Referee Steve Ganson had a busy first-half sin-binning three players before Matt Sing intercepted a Iestyn Harris pass 80 yards out to finish.

Todd Byrne finished off a brilliant Hull try before half-time then Sing added another after the break.

With intense pressure, Bradford hit back through Tame Tupou and Paul Sykes tries, but ultimately fell short.

From the start, the home side started on the front foot but Hull should have scored after swiftly moving the ball along the line from 10 yards out only for Danny Tickle to misjudge the crucial pass.

Bradford did put the first points on the board when Harris, kicking in the absence of the injured Paul Deacon, converted a simple penalty after Shaun Berrigan had strayed offside.

Hull FC coach Richard Agar praises his side's defence

Indiscipline rapidly crept into the game and referee Ganson penalised Bradford for holding on as a Tickle penalty levelled for Hull.

With cheap penalties being given away, Harris bisected the posts from 30 yards before Tickle sent a long, 40-yard punt over the posts to keep Hull in touch.

Overworked Ganson soon lost his patience with the players' misdemeanours and sent Bradford's Ben Jefferies to the sin-bin for persistent holding before doing the same to Lee Radford for a niggling foul.

Harris added another penalty then Jamie Thackray was yellow carded for dissent.

But with Hull down to 11 men against Bradford's 12, the game exploded into life as Sing intercepted a drifting Harris pass and sprinted fully 80 yards with Dave Halley in hot pursuit for the game's first try with Tickle adding the extras.

Bradford continued to waste opportunities near the Hull touchline and, after Halley was sinbinned for preventing a quick restart, they paid the price.

Danny Washbrook dropped his shoulder 60 yards out, passed neatly to the onrushing Graeme Horne who, exploiting the angles, took on the full-back before putting an inside ball into the path of Adam Dykes.

With bewitching movement, Hull had torn the Bradford defence apart and all Dykes needed to do was pass inside for Byrne to finish off a sensational try as the visitors took a 10-point lead into the break.

Hull picked up from where they left in the second half as, putting the ball through hands when feigning to kick, Radford then Tickle sliced through Bradford for Sing to touch down in the right-hand corner.

But, in front of an increasingly boisterous Odsal crowd, Bradford hit back.

Playing closer to Hull's tryline, some neat interplay on 45 minutes was rewarded with a superb offload from 19-year-old Sam Burgess which enabled Tupou to score.

Tickle converted his fifth five out of five before an opportunist Terry Newton 'try' was disallowed by the video referee for offside.

In damp and misty conditions, the pace of the game became ever more frenetic with Bradford pushing hard.

But Berrigan and a physical Hull stood strong in defence as much as Harris probed left and right with his passing and Thackray drove forward at the front when he could to relieve the stress.

But Paul Sykes's try brought the deficit back to six points with four minutes remaining though Harris could not finish the extras.

Hull then put in the six big tackles required to join Leeds, St Helens and Wakefield in the last four.

Bradford coach Steve McNamara:
"It's hugely disappointing. We've not performed well at all.

"Sixteen points in those conditions is a lot to catch up but we should never have got ourselves in that position.

"They defended strong but we didn't throw much quality at them. Our skills were really poor."

"Terry [Newton] ran his blood to water. He tried desperately hard to get the side playing with more fluency."

Hull coach Richard Agar:
"We had to defend and it was quite heroic the way they just kept getting up to make last-ditch tackles.

"I thought we coped tremendously with the sin-binnings. It was 13 against 11 at one stage and all defensive patterns go out of the window. It was every man for himself.

"We gained a lot in attitude during that time. The way we thrived and buzzed off the errors we forced helped instil the belief in us to go on and win.

"We were still not pretty with the football but the attitude really shone through in defence."

Bradford: Platt, Halley, Sykes, Hape, Evans, Harris, Jeffries, Vagana, Newton, Lynch, Solomona, Langley, Burgess, James, Finnigan, Tupou.

Sin bin: Jeffries (25), Halley (38).

Hull: Byrne, Sing, Yeaman, G. Horne, Raynor, Washbrook, Dykes, Dowes, Berrigan, Carvell, Carvell, Manu, Manu, Radford, Tickle, Wheeldon, Thackray.

Sin bin: Radford (27), Thackray (30).

Att: 5,597

Ref: S Ganson (St Helens).

see also
Hull KR 18-24 St Helens
01 Jun 08 |  Rugby League
Wakefield 46-4 Oldham
01 Jun 08 |  Rugby League
Leeds 23-16 Wigan
31 May 08 |  Rugby League
Bradford 14-30 Leeds
23 May 08 |  Rugby League
Hull 8-16 St Helens
25 May 08 |  Rugby League

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