The inaugural game for the Hull Seahawks was always going to be a testing affair but against a potent Leeds Knights, playing in front of a packed house, the challenge was significant. Coming into the Yorkshire Cup game, fans across the Planet Ice National League tipped Hull for a high finishing position and that may remain so. However, ahead of this fixture, Hull sustained significant losses to key personnel. In addition to missing imports Themar and Svec, the loss to injury of Matty Davies and absence of defence linchpin, Jamie Chilcott meant that a full line – possibly the top line – was difficult to overcome.
In a close fought match, the Seahawks acquitted themselves with a standout performance from Curtis Warburton who pulled off amazing saves to keep the contest alive. When he did concede, it was to a skilled play from the Knights.
At times the game boiled over, with one notable fight for Jordan Fisher but man-of-the-match went to Cam Hamill, whose name will be forever written into the Seahawks history books as the first ever scorer for the club. Cam demonstrated why the Seahawks have expended so much faith and energy into recruiting the Northern Irish player and left Matty raving about his performance.
Despite their brave resistance, the Seahawks could not level the game from 2-1 down and an empty net goal was perhaps an unjust outcome for a gutsy performance. Leeds certainly edged the game on the night with a standout display from Cooper but the performance of Hull boded well.
Sunday’s second Yorkshire Cup game, at home to Sheffield Steeldogs, was thought to be the more winnable of the two weekend’s fixtures. At 4-0 down in the first period, reality struck. A near capacity crowd had been patient waiting for the start of a delayed game but were treated to a thrilling encounter. Boasting several former Pirates, Sheffield were relaxed in the barn of their old foes. As with most of the derby fixtures with Sheffield, there was plenty of competitive spirit on evidence. Hull, already missing key players, were weakened further when Sam Towner was withdrawn under a head injury protocol following a severe hit to the head in Leeds the night before. Saturday’s hero, Curtis Warburton, was also missing having been recalled to EIHL side, Sheffield Steelers.
Matty had drafted in several players on loan from Blackburn Hawks and Hull Jets to fill the void caused by the absence of key players. It took some time for them to adjust but after being stunned by four unanswered goals, the team began to gel and fought back to 2-5 with goals from Nathan Salem and Jordan Fisher. Former Steeldog and man-of-the-match, Cam Brownley, snatched another goal to set up an exciting finish but penalties hindered the Seahawks comeback and the game ended Seahawks 3-5 Steeldogs.
GM Sport, Matty Davies knew that the opening fixtures for the Seahawks were going to be tough with so many players absent but the additional absences from Sunday’s game left his squad threadbare. In the coming weeks, imports Themar and Svec will vastly improve the squad once their post-Brexit entry visas are issued. However, this has been a great opportunity for Hull fans to see the up and coming talent emerging from Hull Jets and the development programme.