Wakefield couldn’t make it successive wins over the Easter weekend as Hull FC bounced back from their own derby defeat to take the spoils at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium.
After a bright start in which Peter Fox and Danny Kirmond gave the Wildcats a ten-point lead, the home side looked well on course for victory. But an opportunistic try from debutant Jamie Shaul gave Hull hope and they grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck to go in front through Crooks, the young duo both going on to score further tries in the second half.
Trinity struggled for a spark after the break and tries for Aaron Heremaia, Tom Briscoe and the second four-pointers for the aforementioned Shaul and Crooks meant that Lee Smith and Dean Collis’ tries were mere consolation.
Wakefield had been boosted by the return of Andy Raleigh who took his place on the replacements bench with Vince Mellars the man to drop out from the win over Castleford Tigers on Good Friday.
The Wildcats enjoyed some early pressure in the Hull FC half, aided by a couple of penalties, and the hosts made the early pressure tell when Fox took Kirmond’s pass before powering over Briscoe to score in the corner.
It soon got even better for the Wildcats. Tim Smith had the ball stripped from his grasp on halfway to present a fresh set and after stretching the defence on the left, Cockayne ran right across the line before firing a pass to Kirmond who stormed through a gap in the defence to dot down under the sticks.
It was an opening quarter that belonged entirely to the home side, with Hull FC doing themselves no favours with errors and penalties allowing them no platform to build from. It was therefore no surprise that the visitors responded out of nothing. Young full-back Shaul picked up at dummy half, spotted Raleigh and Poore were the markers and scooted away from them before racing 50 metres to bring his side back into the game.
Unsurprisingly, this score gave Hull the spring in their step that was very much lacking in the opening 20 minutes and suddenly they looked dangerous without really threatening the Cats line. When Mark O’Meley knocked on 20 metres out the Wildcats seemed to have weathered the storm.
However, a horror pass on the first tackle from the scrum had Trinity in trouble and Aaron Heremaia swooped, passing inside to Crooks who touched down. When Danny Tickle added his second conversion, the visitors led 12-10.
Wakefield had invited Hull back into the game and things nearly got worse when Richard Horne put in the short grubber kick and had Liam Watts taken the ball, things could have been worse.
Three minutes from half-time the visitors conceded a needless penalty on the last and followed it up with another 20 metres out from their own line to give Paul Sykes the simple task of bringing the teams level at the interval.
With the game in the balance, both sides would have hoped for a fast start and it was the visitors who got it. Successive penalties marched Hull FC upfield, before a fortuitous ricochet off a Wildcats leg allowed Shaul the simplest of tries.
Wakefield desperately needed a spark from somewhere and the introduction of Lee Smith provided it. He slotted in at centre as Dean Collis went into second-row to provide plenty of strike on the right edge and it was the newly introduced three-quarter who took a Mathers pass, rode the Hull FC tackle and showed good awareness to roll over and get the ball down.
That brought the Wildcats back within two points of Peter Gentle’s side but a soft try saw the game get away from them once more as Heremaia sidestepped some weak Wildcats tackles to stride in under the posts.
Hull made a mess of the restart to concede a goal line drop-out but when Cockayne tried to kick through for himself on the last on a crowded short side, it was an opportunity wasted and Hull needed no second invitation to seal the victory.
Lee Smith raced out of the line to try and claim the intercept but was short and could only watch as Heremaia reeled the ball in and put Crooks in to score the try that sealed the game.
Briscoe got in as smart hands created an overlap for the England winger and although Collis got a score in the final minute, it was scant consolation for a frustrated Wildcats team.