Magnificent effort falls just short of victory
Hunslet Hawks RLFC 12 v 16 Toulouse Olympique
The visitors from France narrowly came out on top against a valiant Hunslet side on a rainy Saturday (3 September 2016) afternoon in South Leeds to defend their no-loss record. Before the game a minute’s silence took place in memory of two Hunslet legends, Harry Jepson and Frank “Shanks” Watson, who sadly both passed away in the last week.
The first half started well for Hunslet, Richie Barnett scoring a great try before Toulouse hit back with one of their own. But Toulouse ended the half well, Tony Maurel adding to Kuni Minga’s earlier try to mean they led 10-6 at half time.
The second half was points wise all square, however Hunslet undoubtedly were the better outfit. Scoring very early through a George Flanagan scoot, Hunslet looked the more controlled side – Toulouse’s few chances being blighted by errors. However, in virtually the final minute of the match, a fantastic try took Toulouse home with the points.
The conditions dictated early play, both sides playing it safe with strong drives as their method of making metres. Hunslet seemed to have the slight upper hand though, measured kicks gaining them territory and strong drives paving the way up field. And when in the ninth minute an amazing kick to the touchline bounced into Richie Barnett’s hands for him to race away under the posts an unlikely home victory looked possible. The try was converted to make it 6-0.
Not long later though, after a period of Hunslet keeping the French side out, a grubber was latched onto by winger Kuni Minga for Toulouse to score. The try went unconverted, the effort at goal rebounding out off the post. That meant the scores stayed at 6-4 to the home side.
The tough game remained incredibly closely contended – no tries being scored before slick hands created the overlap for Tony Maurel to slide over near the touch line. This time Toulouse full back Mark Kheirallah excellently converted from far out, and the visitors led 10-6, taking that score into the break.
The first half was incredibly close, Hunslet playing to the conditions and kicking well while Toulouse looked constantly dangerous on the break.
Hunslet kicked off the second half in the best possible way- Simon Brown kicking the ball out after the bounce for Hunslet to get the ball back. Some strong drives took them to the Olympique line- where George Flanagan scooted over from dummy half, putting Hunslet into the lead. The points came just over a minute into the second half and after the conversion the South Leeds side led 12-10.
And Hunslet continued on top, spending much of the time on Toulouse’s line. Both sides looked dangerous on the attack, dogged defending the only thing stopping a high scoring match.
The game, seemingly rooted at 12-10, looked sure to be Hunslet’s for the taking until a great length of the field try gave Toulouse the win moments from full time, the score 12-16.
After the game Matt Bramald said he was very happy and immensely proud with the performance, talking of Hunslet’s great defence. He also said that that Hunslet deserved to win, with one tackle being the difference between victory and defeat.
Hunslet Hawks: Jimmy Watson, Stewart Sanderson, Kyran Johnson, Mufaro Mvududu, Richie Barnett, Simon Brown, Danny Ansell, Michael Haley, Jack Lee, Lewis Reed, Callum Casey, Jake Normington, Daniel Williams. Subs: George Flanagan, Matt Carbutt, Jose Kenga, Jack Coventry.
Toulouse Olympique: Mark Kheirallah, Tony Maurel, Bastien Ader, Gavin Marguerite, Kuni Minga, Jonathon Fort, Daniel Hulme, Clement Boyer, Anthony Marion, Samy Masselot, Sebastien Planas, Cedric Mazars, Constantine Mika. Subs: Mourad Kriouache, Gregory White, Justin Sangare, Tyla Hepi.
Referee: S. Mikalauskas.
This post was written by Nathan Kirk using our Create an article for South Leeds Life page.