Hunslet continued their recent good run with a comprehensive victory against Doncaster at the Kingstone Press Championship Summer Bash in Blackpool.
Backed superbly by a vociferous travelling support, the Hawks ran in four tries and with Danny Ansell producing an excellent display with the boot ran out 25-12 winners to move up to 8th position in the table, leapfrogging Batley Bulldogs who lost in the first game of the day to Dewsbury.
All photos by Steve Gaunt / Touchlinepics.com
There was a unique atmosphere throughout the day, with supporters of every club in the division inside Blackpool’s Bloomfield Road ground, and the Hawks supporters were in particularly fine voice right from the opening kick off. This backing saw Hunslet start the game brightly, moving the ball well in attack and proving to be keen in defence, pinning Doncaster back in the early stages.
It took just nine minutes for Hunslet to get on the board as Andy Kain, who produced a host of intelligent kicks, lifting the ball into the corner where Jimmy Keinhorst was able to force the mistake from the Doncaster defence and touch down in the corner. Ansell kicked the first of his five goals on the day to give the Hawks a 6-0 lead.
Doncaster were handed a route back into the game by some Hunslet indiscipline as a series of penalties saw the ball moved inside the 10 metre line, with Richard Wilkinson burrowing over from short range, Hunslet remaining in the lead after the conversion was missed.
It was time for Hunslet to roll their sleeves up as the try gave Doncaster a lift and they put the Hawks under real pressure with repeated sets of six. However the side stood firm and were rewarded for their defensive efforts midway through the half as they scored their second try of the afternoon, Jimmy Watson grabbing it with a superb effort. The full back collected a pass and jinked his way past a couple of defenders to dive over in the corner. Ansell’s kick made it 12-4 in favour of Hunslet.
The Hawks were on fire now and were scything through the Doncaster defence. Keinhorst made one break but was hauled down just short of the Doncaster line, but with their next possession Hunslet crossed for try number three, as Danny Maun ended a brilliant handling move to dive over, Ansell blotting his copybook by failing to convert, his only failure of the day.
The Hawks had a little wobble just before half time as they conceded a second try when Shawn Leaf barged his way over the line from short range but Tom Hodson somehow contrived to miss the conversion from next to the sticks by hitting the post to leave Hunslet eight points clear.
When Watson spilled a high kick deep in Hawks territory a moment later it looked as if their would be a huge momentum shift, but the team showed guts to hold Doncaster out, with Watson himself rescuing the situation by pouncing on a loose ball to snuff out the danger and see Hunslet safely to the hooter.
The second half started quietly on the field as both sides struggled to get going after the interval, but it certainly wasn’t quiet in the stands as the Hawks supporters sang their hearts out for the remainder of the game. Even when Doncaster managed to grab a third try, Kyle Kesik bouncing a pass along the floor for Hodson to score in the corner, the Hunslet support never wavered.
The match was now in the melting pot as Doncaster sniffed a chance of a comeback, but once again Hunslet dug in and showed great resolve to take control of the match. Ansell added a penalty goal on 59 minutes to extend the lead back to six points.
With 17 minutes remaining Doncaster were again camped on the Hunslet line but a dropped pass by Kesik allowed Hunslet to launch a superb counter attack. Robbie Ward picked up the loose ball but didn’t have the legs to go the full length of the field, but a couple of plays later Luke Briscoe crossed the line for the game clinching score, Ansell converting to put the Hawks 24-12 in front.
Doncaster were unable to make any impression in the final minutes of the game, Hunslet always looking the most likely to score, but only an Ansell drop goal was added to give the Hawks the victory their performance thoroughly deserved. Final score: 25-12.
Andy Kain was awarded the man of the match, for probably his best performance of the season although he must have been run close by Jimmy Watson who was once again terrific in all aspects of play. The big winners of the day though were the supporters who were magnificent in their backing of the team and thoroughly deserved their big night out in Blackpool.
TEAM: Watson, Briscoe, Keinhorst, Maun, Finigan, Kain, Ansell, Yates, Ward, Haley, Martin, Casey, Mackay.
INTERCHANGE: Flanagan, Mulhern, Lyons, Mvududu.