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Friday 13th September 2013, 20:00 - Round:Play Offs
|Jamie Shaul, Gareth Ellis,||T|
Danny Tickle 3,
Thomas Bosc 2,
Attendance: 4,970 Official: B Thaler Venue: Kingston Communications Stadium
A glorious 80-metre solo try from 21-year-old full-back Jamie Shaul helped keep Hull FC alive in the Super League play-offs and brought the career of 39-year-old Steve Menzies to a soggy end.
Shaul, deputising for the injured Australian Shannon McDonnell, provided the highlight of a tight and tense elimination play-off as Hull booked a place in the preliminary semi-finals.
Defeat brought Catalan Dragons' season to a close and signalled the end of the road for popular Australian second-rower Menzies, who hung up his boots and trademark headguard after 21 years as a professional, while skipper Remi Casty bowed out of Super League in disappointing fashion as he heads for the NRL with Sydney Roosters.
A damp and miserable night in Hull, in front of a crowd of just 4,979 in the cavernous KC Stadium, might not have been the most appropriate setting for Menzies' farewell and he was denied a consolation try just before the end.
But the Black and Whites will not be complaining after successfully following up their Challenge Cup quarter-final win over the Dragons.
In conditions made difficult by persistent rain, the Catalans sorely missed the kicking game of scrum-half Scott Dureau, who was absent for the start of the season after undergoing brain surgery and missed the end of it with a quad muscle injury.
The only try of an error-strewn first half came two minutes before the interval when rising star Shaul collected Leon Pryce's towering kick on his own 20-metre area and sprinted through a fragmented defence for a solo score, his sixth in just seven Super League appearances.
Danny Tickle added the conversion, to make up for an earlier long-range penalty miss, as Hull led 6-2 despite being on the back foot for most of the opening half.
The Dragons actually adapted better initially to the greasy conditions and forced three early goal-line drop-outs to lay siege to the Hull line.
The home side's defence held firm, although Catalan centre Elliott Whitehead would surely have scored but for dropping the ball in a promising position.
The visitors' only first-half points came from the boot of scrum-half Thomas Bosc, deputising for Dureau – who succeeded with a 32nd-minute penalty after missing with an earlier attempt.
It was not until the second quarter that Hull began to pose any problems for the Dragons defence and Shaul might have scored an earlier try had he been able to finish off a break by veteran centre Richard Horne, who was also inches away from touching down Daniel Holdsworth's grubber kick.
Shaul's try initially acted as a spur for the French side, who dominated the early stages of the second half but without finding the craft to unlock Hull's defence.
The Catalans cut the deficit to just two points on 56 minutes when Bosc opted to kick for goal when Hull were penalised for offside in front of their own posts.
It seemed a surprising decision to kick for goal and the points were cancelled out a minute later when Dragons replacement hooker Eloi Pelissier was pulled up for foul play and Tickle kicked a second penalty.
It appeared that Tickle's team-mate Danny Houghton was in front of him when he kicked the goal yet it became irrelevant when scrum-half Jacob Miller went on a jinking run and got skipper Gareth Ellis over for the clinching try on 67 minutes.
Tickle's third goal made it 14-4 and that is how it stayed after video referee Ian Smith ruled that Menzies had lost control of the ball as he drove for the line two minutes from the end.