It was anything but ‘summer rugby’ at the South Leeds Stadium on Sunday (21 February 2016) for the first round of the iPro Cup as the wind blew and the rain fell from kick off to closing time.
All photos by Steve Gaunt / Touchlinepics.com
Prior to kick off the talk had been of York potentially entering the game a little undercut after having three winter friendlies cancelled and managing only one warm up game against Castleford, while Hunslet managed four pre-season friendlies and after beating Keighley the previous week should have entered the game in high spirits.
But it was York who left South Leeds with the spoils after an error strewn and often bad tempered cup clash which will leave new Hawks coach Matt Bramald with plenty of thinking to do ahead of next week’s Ladbrokes Challenge Cup clash with Barrow.
The main talking points from a dour first half was the growing penalty count, the flurry of ball fumbles from both sides and whether the posts would make it through the full 80 minutes as the wind and the rain swirled round the ground making playing conditions difficult for both sides.
York headed into the sheds 4–0 up after a try on 4 minutes from winger Brett Turner and they extended their lead early in the second half when Nev Morrison picked up a loose Hawks pass to race fully 70 metres to score.
However, Hunslet did show signs of fighting back early in the second half with the introduction of George Flanagan inspiring a momentary revival and it was wingman Richie Barnett who dived over on 50 minutes to bring the Hawks within six points of the visitors.
But the revival proved immaterial as York pulled further away on 64 minutes when Russ Spiers crossed the whitewash after neat approach play by impressive York stand off Jonny Presley before live wire full back Richard Wilkinson put the final nail in the Hawks’ coffin just moments before the final whistle when he raced away to score between the sticks to the delight of his York team mates.
All in all a disappointing result for the Hawks who exit the iPro cup in the first round. They will need to sharpen up in a number of areas next week if they are to get anything from the game with Barrow.
Full time: Hunslet Hawks 4-24 York City Knights
Hunslet Hawks: Watson, Agoro, Duckworth, Mvududu, Barnett, Brown, Ansell, Reed, Lee, Carbutt, Crane, Normington, Mackay. Subs: Flanagan, Haley, Robinson, Waterman.
York City Knights: Wilkinson, Morrison, Moorland, Bower, Turner, Presley, Nicklas, Applegarth, Emmett, Spiers, Mallinder, Smith, Aldous. Subs: Carter, Nicholson, Waller, Tonks.
Referee: D Merrick