This was a bit more like it. After a difficult few weeks with some disappointing results this was a good win for Beverley and their best performance for some time. Much of the drive and slick movement of early season which has been missing in recent weeks looked to be coming back. It was by no means a simple pushover though. Hullensians, struggling at the foot of the table, showed plenty of endeavour and might have felt slightly hard done by at the margin of their defeat but they were never able to match Beverley’s superior finishing power.
The game itself was a stuttering affair with play too often interrupted by stoppages and tedious re-setting of scrums. Nonetheless Beverley had the result and bonus point wrapped up by half time with four converted tries. Liam Butler went over following a penalty kick to the corner and then soon after burst through for a second try after a scrum on the 22. Two further tries in the space of two minutes followed from Jack Foster with a powerful run down the left and then fellow wing Jacob Holmes, put clear by an inside pass from Luke Hazell. There is no doubt that the return of Hazell and Foster has restored much of the fizz of early season to the backline which looked far more dangerous here than it has for some time. Phil Duboulay was outstanding today with his control of the game as was the sniping Rob Smith at scrum half who was a constant threat around the fringes.
Early in the second half Dom Bloomfield went over in the corner for Hullensians for a try which was splendidly converted from the touchline by Josh Abbott. It was no less than Hullensians deserved but it proved to be their only tangible reward for an afternoon’s hard endeavour. A fifth Beverley try, the most impressive of the game, quickly followed. Duboulay set it up with a break in midfield and, after some slick handling through several pairs of hands and a clever slipped pass from Smith, touched down in the corner.
Foster might have had another but knocked on when picking up a crossfield kick on the line. There was plenty of determined foraging by the forwards with Matty Brown, Danny Morris, and Isaac Keighley always prominent. Jack Houseman frequently made good ground but his propensity to lose possession in the tackle is never far away. Substitute Tom Megson having been yellow carded made amends on his return by touching down in the corner for Beverley’s sixth try after smart work by Smith and Holmes down the blindside.
With time running out a lengthy period of scrappy play in the corner ended with a yellow card for Hullensians number eight Jason Conroy and the award of a penalty try to Beverley which took them to forty five points and a convincing victory. Duboulay was successful with four of his six conversion attempts in difficult wind conditions.
A pleasing feature of Beverley’s game was the vast improvement in the scrummaging. Too often in recent weeks they have been pushed back alarmingly in the set pieces. Today they drove forward determinedly and there was far more aggression in the open play. There was also some welcome improvement in the line-out. The throwing-in in recent weeks has left much to be desired but today they did at least win as much lineout ball as they lost, which is something.
Next week at Heath will be a different kettle of fish but if Beverley can maintain this level of performance and get something from what will be a difficult game a play-off place might still be achievable. With Heath unexpectedly losing today a win for Beverley would put them right back in the mix. It could well to be a defining match of the season.