Hunslet RLFC won a close match against Newcastle Thunder on Sunday (16 July 2017) with the last kick of the match at South Leeds Stadium.
The match swung back and forth but neither side were ever more than one score ahead throughout the game. The final score: Hunslet RLFC 26-25 Newcastle Thunder.
The game was preceded by an impeccably supported minute’s applause for Evan Hawksworth, who tragically died following an injury playing for Stanley Rangers under 14s last weekend.
Hunslet opened the scoring halfway through the first half through Michael Haley, who finished a fluent passing move by the Parksiders, scoring in the left hand corner. Joe Sanderson kicked the conversion and Hunslet were 6-0 up.
Newcastle relieved the pressure on their line when full back Lewis Young intercepted a kick on his own goal line and ran the length of the pitch to score. Benn Hardcastle kicked the extras to level the match.
Jimmy Watson responded with his own individual try running from just inside Newcastle’s half to score an excellent try. Sanderson again converted to restore Hunslet’s six point lead. George Flanagan had a try ruled out just before half time, so Hunslet went into the break leading 12-6.
Newcastle came out of the blocks fastest in the second half taking just three minutes to equalise through Steve Snitch, with Hardcastle’s conversion. George Flanagan restored the Parksider’s advantage minutes later with a trademark try, darting over the line from dummy half. Sanderson converted to take the score to 18-12.
Newcastle Thunder equalised with a contested try scored by Benn Hardcastle close to the posts. Hardcastle then converted his own try. Five minutes later Lewis Young scored his second try to put the Thunder in front for the first time in the game. With Hardcastle’s fourth conversion Newcastle led 24-18.
Hunslet fought hard to get back in the game keeping up the pressure, helped by a series of penalties conceded by Newcastle. Both Mvududu anf Flanagan were held up over the line. Eventually George Flanagan scored his second try, again from dummy half and Sanderson kicked the extras to tie the game.
With time running out Hardcastle kicked a drop goal for Newcastle taking the score to 24-25, and seemed to have won the match. But Hunslet kept pressing and were rewarded with a penalty in front of the posts. The hooter went as Joe Sanderson prepared his kick, which was successful, giving Hunslet the win by 25-26.
The win means that Hunslet finished the regular season with 14 points in the Kingstone Press League 1. But with results in other games going against them, Hunslet finished in 10th place and will go into the Super 8s competing only for the League 1 Shield.
Speaking to BBC Radio Leeds after the match, Hunslet coach Gary Thornton said:
“We showed terrific spirit to keep going right to the death. We never gave in today and that’s all I asked of the boys: just give 100% for the full 80 and that’s what we did.
“We wanted to finish (the season) on a high note. We let ourselves down badly last week, it is what it is. We want to now go and win all seven games.”
Hunslet RLFC: Jimmy Watson, Mathew Cook, Mufaro Mvududu, Cameron Leeming, Thomas Brierley, Shaun Roberts, Joe Sanderson, Lewis Reed, Jack Lee, Mathew Nicholson, Liam Mackay, Jack Walton, Nyle Flynn. Subs: Daniel Williams, Jack Coventry, Michael Haley, George Flanagan.
Newcastle Thunder: Lewis Young, Joe Brown, Dan Parker, Derrell Olpherts, Tyler Craig, Danny Nickals, Benn Hardcastle, Liam McAcoy, Evan Simons, Rhys Clarke, Harry Aldous, Steve Snitch, Jack Aldous. Subs: Callum Bustin, Sam Luckley, Vincent Rennie, Brett Waller.
Referee: M Griffiths