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Round 4: Battling Harlequins topple Hull
Harlequins defied their winless start to the engage Super League season to spring a minor upset and topple Hull 10-6 at a bitterly cold KC Stadium.
Despite not troubling Hull?s defensive line in the whole of the second half, Tony Rea?s men can point to an outstanding defensive performance, keeping their hosts scoreless in the second period, coupled with an efficient and disciplined first 40 minutes as the key factor behind their first win under the Harlequins brand.
After defeat at Warrington last weekend, Hull need not look any further than themselves for the root cause of their loss, after a performance littered with handling errors and poor decisions with ball in hand, that defied their position as the league?s highest tryscorers going into the clash.
Hull were able to welcome Ewan Dowes and Chris Chester back into their side after injury, while Harlequins were able to call on Luke Dorn after a hamstring problem, but remained without their injured captain Mark McLinden.
After both sides spent the opening exchanges adapting to the conditions, Harlequins were the first to trouble the scoreboard with a quickfire double of tries within five minutes of each other.
First Thomas Leuluai capitalised on poor marker defence from Hull to scoot over the line from dummy half, before Dorn sent Tyrone Smith into a gap to score in the corner. Paul Sykes converted the former to hand the visitors a 10-point lead.
Hull were slow to respond and struggled to gain any significant field position as all too often they spilled possession early in the tackle account, and aside from Kirk Yeaman spurning a chance to post his eighth try of the season when he knocked on over the line, they rarely threatened.
However, in spite of their profligacy, they went into the interval just four points behind after Shaun Briscoe?s 32nd-minute effort. After moving downfield on the back of a penalty, Briscoe seized on a static Harlequins defence to race 50 metres to the left corner. Danny Brough converted from the touchline.
Hull began to probe with far greater purpose in the second half, and were denied scores twice when Yeaman?s score was chalked off for an earlier indiscretion, while Motu Tony was dragged into touch with the line at his mercy.
Leuluai then denied Richard Horne with a crunching last-ditch tackle as Hull struggled to find a way to break down Harlequins? resilient defence.
Yeaman then went without the ball after Paul Cooke had fashioned a half-chance and then slung the ball in touch when trying to find Gareth Raynor with the equalising try beckoning.
As Harlequins began to close the tie out, Jamie Thackray was held up just over the tryline, before Matt Gafa collected Horne?s kick in goal despite intense pressure from the onrushing Richard Whiting to put the seal on the win.
Hull: Briscoe, Tony, Domic, Yeaman, Raynor, R. Horne, Brough, Dowes, Swain, King, Radford, McMenemy, Cooke.
Replacements: Thackray, Carvell, Chester, Whiting.
Harlequins RL: Lucky Luisi, Gafa, Sykes, Smith, Bradley-Qalilawa, Dorn, Leuluai, Mills, Weisner, Tookey, Purdham, Hopkins, Temata
Replacements: Williams, Haumono, Heckenberg, Lolohea.
Hull: (6) 6.
Harlequins RL: (10) 10.
Tries: Leuluai, Smith.
Referee: A Klein (London)