Albert Kelly hat-trick fires Hull to win at Castleford

Hull consolidated their top five place with a fine 31-18 win at Castleford.

Trailing 14-4 at half-time, the Airlie Birds fought back in the second half, scoring some excellent tries, with centre Jake Connor and half-back Albert Kelly in the thick of the action.

Even two controversial video referee judgements, one going either way, couldn’t stop Hull who move up to third in the table.

Castleford led early through Greg Minikin, before Connor got the first of his assists on the night by putting up a fine offload for Ratu Naulago to score in the corner.

A Peter Mata’utia penalty put the Tigers 6-4 in front on 24 minutes, and he added another two points before also converting Junior Moors’ try to give them a 10 point cushion at the break.

The game lit up in the second half, Hull making the most of some gifted territory from a penalty to spread the ball wide for Naulago to score his second.

Castleford took the game back up the other end, forcing a drop out when Jamie Shaul got trapped in-goal, but Hull would hit them from deep in their own end.

The excellent Connor managed to find space and get away, with Naulago on his outside he took the ball inside and looked like he might get tacked, but kept an arm free to put up a superb offload for the supporting Kelly who raced in for a try, Sneyd converting for 16-14.

A Sneyd penalty from the centre of the pitch extended Hull’s lead further, only for Castleford to level things up on the hour when Greg Eden wriggled free of Kelly to put the ball over the line.

Then came the two main talking points of the match. A kick on the last by Sneyd saw Connor jump above Chayse Blair and knock the ball back for Kelly to drop on it for a try, with suggestions in the replay that the ball could have gone forward, though after much deliberation the video referee went with the on-field call.

That made it 24-18, and on their return to the other end, Hull would have another possible try sent upstairs again as a try.

This one did seem more clear cut, Connor this plucking a kick from Sneyd out of the air, and then passing the ball from the floor for Jamie Shaul to touch down. Again after a lengthy judgement, the video referee said that Connor’s arm had hit the floor as he switched the ball from right arm to left and pop the pass up.

That kept Castleford within a score, and they probed again, forcing a drop out off Jake Trueman’s kick.

Off the next play, a quick attack left broke down with a pass dropping behind Greg Eden, his opposite number Naulago wasted no time and collected the loose ball, pinned his ears back and raced away, putting Kelly around the covering defenders for his hat-trick.

Sneyd ended the game as a contest four minutes from time by knocking over a routine drop goal, as he passed 1000 career points for Hull on the night.

Castleford: Mata’utia, Clare, Minikin, Blair, Eden, Rankin, Trueman, Watts, McShane, Smith, Sene-Lefao, McMeeken, Massey. Subs: Millington, Milner, Moors, Cook.

Hull: Shaul, Faraimo, Buchanan, Connor, Naulago, Kelly, Sneyd, Green, Houghton, Paea, Hadley, Minichiello, Westerman. Subs: Taylor, Fash, Washbrook, Savelio.