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On 9 February 2003, the first ever Rugby League match at the KCOM Stadium between Hull FC and Halifax took place.
We’ve teamed up with KCOM Stadium to give you a hint of nostalgia, showcasing some of the most memorable events at the venue. With both resident teams, Hull FC and Hull City, having a rich history spanning over three centuries, it’s no surprise that there are some fascinating stories to tell.
Today, we’re looking back fifteen years to the day that Hull FC managed to defeat Halifax 24-16 with only eleven men in the second half. With a 15,300-strong audience, this was the biggest home crowd since the 1980s for Hull FC.
However, the game didn’t get off to such a great start. Australian captain and linchpin of the team, Jason Smith, was sent off after twenty seconds for a high tackle on the second play of the game. This knocked Hull FC back to twelve men.
The situation was made worse in the second half, when Richard Fletcher met the same fate and was sent off for a similar offence.
Nevertheless, this didn’t stop Hull restricting Halifax to a single penalty in the remaining thirty minutes. Not only did FC hold their 20-14 lead, but they even managed to extend it thanks to two fantastic penalties from Matt Crowther.
“That must have been some sort of record,” Shaun McRae, Hull’s Director of Rugby, exclaimed at the time. “I can’t remember seeing a team down to eleven men for that length of time and winning the game. You can certainly win a game with twelve, as we showed in the first half, but when you go down to eleven, you start to think you maybe can’t.”
It could be argued that it was Richie Barnett and Colin Best who stole the show. Both new overseas signings at the time, they won the match by each scoring a first-half try.
Of course, for Halifax, this was an embarrassing defeat, especially after a bright start. Dane Dorahy established an 8-6 lead and added to this with a second penalty to level with Hull 10-10. Their inability to score against an eleven-man team ultimately cost them the game.
Can you remember this incredible day? If you have a story to share about KCOM Stadium, let us know in the comments as we’d love to hear it. We’ll be covering historic events at both KCOM Stadium and KCOM Craven Park Stadium in our regular On This Day feature.
See what Hull FC is up to next.