WAKEFIELD TRINITY Wildcats’ home campaign ended on a disappointing note, but they gave a good account of themselves in an 18-12 defeat by Hull.
It was a poor game, riddled by errors and penalties, but Wakefield went toe-to-toe with the Challenge Cup winners for most of it.
The scores were all-square going into the final 10 minutes, but the visitors’ third touchdown proved the difference and kept alive their hopes of finishing top of the table.
It was Trinity’s eighth successive defeat and another loss in their final game at St Helens next week would see them end the Super-8s without a point.
They scored first, on 15 minutes, after Hull were temporarily reduced to 12 men.
Tom Johnstone backed up an outstanding break by Bill Tupou and almost got to the line, but was hauled down by Fetuli Talanoa.
Craig Hall, playing at stand-off in place of the injured Jacob Miller, kicked to the corner and Joe Arundel – a former Hull player – made the catch, then cut infield to score a high-quality try.
Liam Finn converted from wide out and added a penalty after he had been fouled by Chris Green eight minutes before the break.
Wakefield looked capable of protecting their two-score lead until the interval, but Hull’s Steve Michaels got the ball back from Mickael Simon following the restart.
Max Jowitt hacked a kick by Marc Sneyd dead, Arundel was penalised for interference on Jamie Shaul and the weight of pressure told when Danny Washbrook went over against his former club, for a try which Shaul improved.
Other than that, Wakefield defended their line strongly. Hull’s only other first half chance came on 27 minutes when Shaul weaved over, but Hall prevented him grounding the ball.
Referee Chris Campbell indicated no try and video official Phil Bentham agreed.
David Fifita was held up over the Hull line during a spell of heavy pressure at the start of the second half, then Simon spilled the ball driving for the line.
That proved costly as Trinity began to make errors near their own line. On 53 minutes Reece Lyne was tackled into touch and following the scrum Danny Houghton worked a one-two with Liam Watts and Jordan Thompson was on hand to scoot between the posts. Sneyd’s conversion made it 12-8.
With 19 minutes left Shaul failed to take Hall’s high kick and Bill Tupou touched down, but Campbell indicated no try and Bentham again backed him up.
There was no denying Trinity six minutes later though when Johnstone provided the game’s one moment of real class, diving spectacularly over at the corner from Hall’s long pass.
This time the officials gave the green light, but the conversion attempt was off-target to leave the scores locked.
They only stayed that was for five minutes. Mahe Fonua’s thunderous run was carried on by Michaels; Hall nailed him just short, but Fonua went over from acting-half and Sneyd tagged on the extras from the touchline.
Wakefield had one last chance to break their losing run, but Bill Tupou fumbled the ball a few metres out, with the line open, three minutes from time. Sneyd missed with a late drop goal attempt and a penalty – Hull’s 11th to seven for Wakefield – after the hooter.
Wakefield Trinity Wildcats: Jowitt, Lyne, Arundel, B Tupou, Johnstone, Hall, Finn, Anderson, Sio, Arona, Molloy, Ashurst, Harrison. Subs Simon, A Tupou, Fifita, Batchelor.
Hull: Shaul, Michaels, Fonua, Yeaman, Talanoa, Tuimavave, Sneyd, Taylor, Houghton, Watts, Manu, Washbrook, Ellis. Subs Green, Bowden, Thompson, Paleaaesina.
Referee: Chris Campbell (Widnes).