John Mooney: West Hull vs Pilkington Recs
A very youthfull West Hull, with only a handful of first-team regulars available, extinguished the faint hopes that Pilkington Recs had of surviving the drop from the NCL Premier Division in a thrilling encounter at North Road on Saturday. The visitors were hoping to return to St Helens with a victory and rely on Leigh Miners beating Wigan St Pats but that was always unlikely and they join the Miners and Skirlaugh, who lost at Kells, in Division One next season.
The Recs got off to a bright start when scoring an unconverted try in the right-hand corner in the seventh minute from a pin-point cross-field kick, a theme that was to recur regularly in the game. Teenager Charlie Lumb, son of Wests former amateur international Gary, powered his way over close enough to the posts for Ryan Wilson to convert then a long period of sustained pressure finally paid off for the visitors as they went over for a converted try that took them back into the lead. Lumb went in again just before half-time and with Wilson on target for the conversion it was 12-10 to the Green and Golds on the hooter.
Recs half-backs were in the ascendancy after the break and it was no surprise when they went back in front but young Reece Gooch got on the end of a superb kick from Josh Wood to level the scores then winger Kieren Ross repeated the feat a few minutes later to put Wests back in front. Recs fullback Ryan Hillard was proving a real handful and it was no surprise when he got on the scoresheet to bring the score to 20-20 with just a few minutes remaining. With the visitors throwing everything at the youngsters it appeared to be all over when a converted try took them six points clear but incredibly Lumb got his hat-trick then Macauley Parker got on the end of a terrible defensive lapse to give the home side an unlikely victory by 30-26.
Oscar Ellerington led the home forwards in great style with Nathan Powley's darting breaks causing Recs all sorts of problems while Josh Wood, stepping into the scrum-half position for the first time, dictated play and had his hand in several of his sides scores.