YORK'S visit to North Two East league leaders Hull ended in a respectable 37-20 defeat.

The result was achieved by a makeshift team as York protected the fitness of players ahead of key fixtures against teams more within their range than the Humberside table-toppers.

York even took the lead after six minutes, reacting to an early drop goal from Hull fly-half Carl Paterson by scoring the game's first try.

Centre Sean Bass burst down the left and the ball was quickly recycled right where winger Nick Taylor sliced through a huge gap and sped 25 metres down the line for Ben Quick to convert.

Hull's mobile pack, led by former York player Lee Denham, began to impress and Patterson replied after the visitors were penalised for not releasing.

Shortly afterwards, a Quick clearance missed touch and the Humbersiders wasted no time in releasing the searing pace of left winger Leroy McKenzie, who ran 50 metres to score, and Paterson, the former Selby RU and York RL player, then goaled to secure a lead of 13-7 after 20 minutes.

Although the York pack was under a lot of pressure, the match was being well contested with both teams' outsides prominent.

A Rob Taylor burst almost got York clear but the only scores were an exchange of penalties until, just before the interval, Hull were awarded a somewhat fortuitous try.

They spurned a kickable penalty to take a lineout from which Hull prop Adam Atkinson scrambled over only to lose possession but the referee awarded a score and Paterson converted to give the Humbersiders a 23-10 interval lead.

The Clifton Park boys started the second half well although only a fine tackle from full-back Mike Ford prevented McKenzie from scoring.

York scrum-half James Arkle took a quick penalty to penetrate the opposition 22 where Hull gave Quick a gift penalty opportunity.

Hull introduced sub Chris Tanner, who broke away at great pace and a straighter angle would have given McKenzie a run-in score but the stretched York defence trapped Tranmer in the corner.

However, York were sufficiently disorganised to allow Atkinson to scamper in for a Paterson-converted try.

The visitors continued to scrap for every ball and their defence performed well.

Grant Williams came on for Nathan Savage and completed a close handling move by forcing his way over for a Quick conversion to keep York in touch at 30-20.

Ultimately, Hull possessed too much pace and strength for York to contain indefinitely and they stretched the lead to 37-20 when Denham completed a move started when winger Jim Wilson made a fine run down the right.

Next Saturday, York have an important home fixture against lowly Sandal, who are beginning to show improvement after a poor start.

It will be a telling marker for York's expectations over the rest of the season.

Updated: 11:18 Monday, October 20, 2003