Four-try Ben Crooks helps Hull KR get off to a winning start against Wakefield

31st January 2020, KHull College Craven Park , Kingston upon Hull, England; Betfred Super League, Hull Kingston Rovers v Wakefield Trinity : Ben Crooks (2) of Hull KR celebrates his try

Hull KR opened the Super League season with a 30-12 home win over Wakefield, with winger Ben Crooks crossing for four tries.

Tony Smith’s new-look side were well led by new recruit Shaun Kenny-Dowall who was one of four debutants that started for the home side.

Wakefield coach Chris Chester would also have been concerned by an injury to Danny Brough which forced the influential scrum-half to leave the field early in the second half.

Wakefield started well as Brough set up an early chance for Joe Westerman and then Greg Minikin did well to deny Tom Johnstone shortly after as the Rovers defence held firm once again.

Rovers had given away early penalties but it was from a Wakefield error that the home side took the lead. A missed pass by Harvey Livett sent Crooks over in the corner with nine minutes gone.

Rovers chose to run another penalty four minutes later and doubled their lead as fine work by Jamie Ellis and Adam Quinlan set up Minikin who went over wide on the right, with a conversion from Ellis making it 10-0.

31st January 2020, KC Stadium, Kingston upon Hull, England; Betfred Super League, Hull Kingston Rovers v Wakefield Trinity : Ben Crooks (2) of Hull KR goes over for a try

Johnstone then knocked on a high kick from deep in the Wakefield half but Rovers were unable to make them pay.

Just over a quarter of the way through the game former Hull FC loose forward Westerman stretched to touch down under the posts to punish another mistake from Rovers who had coughed up possession. Brough’s first kick made it 10-6.

Both sides continued to hand over possession as the error count spiralled for the remainder of the half which the home side ended narrowly in front.

The second half continued in the same vein but after a try-saving tackle from Quinlan, a knock on by Ryan Hampshire at the other end saw the home side go further ahead.

Crooks grabbed his second from a Kane Linnett pass after Ryan Brierley opted to run on the final tackle.

Last-ditch defending by Rovers kept Wakefield out and with Brough leaving the field because of a thigh injury suffered in the first half the game looked to be turning in favour of the home team with 25 minutes remaining.

Rovers claimed their fourth try and Crooks his third after Johnstone was robbed coming out of defence.

Livett kept his cool to draw his defender and Crooks touched down near the posts, with Ellis’ second conversion making it 20-6.

31st January 2020, KHull College Craven Park , Kingston upon Hull, England; Betfred Super League, Hull Kingston Rovers v Wakefield Trinity : Joe Westerman (13) of Wakefield Trinity scores his try

But Rovers quickly gave possession back and they were punished as Josh Wood got over from dummy-half and Hampshire added the extras with 16 minutes to go.

Crooks got his fourth as he climbed highest to grab an Ellis kick with 12 minutes remaining to make it a 12-point game.

Hull KR: Quinlan, Minikin, Kenny-Dowall, Linnett, Crooks, Ellis, Brierley, Lawler, Litten, Murray, Livett, Storton, Abdull. Subs: Mulhern, Garbutt, Maher, Minchella

Tries: Ben Crooks (7′)(47′)(62′)(67′), Greg Minikin (12′), Ryan Brierley (77′). Goals: Jamie Ellis (13′)(63′)(78′)

Wakefield: Hampshire, Johnstone, Tupou, Lyne, Atkins, Miller, Brough, Kopczak, J Wood, Tanginoa, Pitts, Ashurst, Westerman. Subs: K Wood, Navarrete, Tangata, Kirmond.

Tries: Joe Westerman (22′), Josh Wood (65′). Goals: Danny Brough (23′)(65′)

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