SEDGLEY Tigers coach Steve Hazzelby says he was not surprised his side had to battle hard to overcome an in-form Hull Ionians 27-24 in National Two North.

Against a side they also narrowly beat in the reverse fixture on the road, it was much the same story and while Hazzelby rued the missed opportunity of a bonus point, he was pleased to come through with the win.

He said: “Hull Ionians are a team we had beaten narrowly at their ground in October and spirits were high in the Sedgley camp after the incredible win the previous week at Fylde.

“Despite this we knew that this would be a difficult game against a well-organised, powerful team who had not lost since before Christmas.

“We did have a number of opportunities to get the fourth bonus-point try but this did not happen and credit to Hull who pushed us all the way to the final whistle and deserved their losing bonus point.”

Sedgley started the game well, playing up the hill with a solid set-piece and good attacking shape.

But it was the visitors who took the early lead with a well-worked try for the fly-half, who made a good line break after just five minutes. They added the conversion to make it 7-0 and were playing with confidence and continuity.

The hosts broke back eight minutes later with a wonderful try for flying winger Jamie Harrison, who outstripped three defenders to touch down near the posts. Steve Collins added the conversion to level the scores.

It was the home team who were dominating most of the play in the first half with strong driving play from the forwards and width and pace in attack from the backs.

Sedgley went ahead with a penalty from Collins after an infringement from Hull and this was then backed up by a second wonder try for Harrison, who came off his wing to sprint 60 yards and touch down in the left-hand corner.

Collins added the conversion and the Tigers now had a 17-7 lead.

Hull continued to test the Tigers defence when they had possession but were unable to get through.

And another good passage of play between forwards and backs saw centre Oli Glasse make a line break which ended with captain Matt Riley crashing over for the hosts’ third try.

Collins again added the conversion and Sedgley went into half time with a commanding 24-7 lead.

The second half did not start well for the home team after Glasse was given a yellow card and they were down to 14 men after just 10 minutes.

It was during this period that Hull got back into the game with a try for their scrum-half who broke from the base of the scrum to score on the right.

They added the conversion and were now back in the game at 24-14.

They followed up this with an interception try after 60 minutes despite good attacking play from the Tigers to reduce the arrears to just three points with Hull looking for victory.

But another penalty from Collins in the 72nd minute gave the hosts breathing space going into the final stages of the match and they saw it out.

The victory keeps Sedgley third in the table, two points behind Rotherham and 11 points behind leaders Hull ahead of Saturday’s tough, long trip to Luctonians.