Hunslet’s season finally kicked off with a win against the Dewsbury Rams at the South Leeds Stadium, in a game largely fragmented by the referee.
The game started as the heavens opened over South Leeds stadium, both teams struggling to settle in the early stages – the sudden downpour making conditions less than ideal. Hunslet looked the stronger of the sides early on, completing their first sets and pinning Dewsbury deep in their own half with a great kick.
With the pressure firmly on the visitors, they struggled to gain any distance. The kick to complete the set blocked and neatly picked up by Kienhorst who managed to make 20 meters before he was tackled.
The Hawks started just 35 meters from the line, Dewsbury’s frustration at a poor start showing as the Hawks were awarded a penalty for interference, the home side making the most of the opportunity and taking the two, Simon Brown kicked the penalty to give the home side the lead just 8 minutes into the game.
The Rams’ ill-discipline quickly cost them as they again were penalised this time from kick off the Hawks starting just 30 meters out, another penalty gave the Hawks a second set of 6 this time just 25 out, the frustration in the visitors again showing as they attempted to steal the ball giving Hunslet a second penalty in just 5 minutes. Again Simon Brown, continuing his early season form, kicked the penalty and the Hawks led 4-0 with twelve minutes played.
The Hawks looked spurred on from the early pressure and success completing the next set sending the kick high. It appeared to have been dealt with but a fantastic chase lead to him fumbling the ball and giving the home side the ball just 20 meters out, the Hawks looking to capitalise rushed their set spilling the ball on the line.
The Rams got the restart and quickly tried for a 40/20 but failed to make the kick, Hunslet looked set to attack again but the Rams slowly gaining a footing in the game forced the kick which tumbled through the end.
Dewsbury started on their own 20, now trying more and more tricks to get into the game. A kick over the top, fortunately grabbed by Jimmy Watson who looked to be running away from the Visitors who struggled to transition onto defence, but he was caught.
Hunslet lost possession on midfield when they gave away another penalty, the Rams now back into the game, behind only on the scoreboard started just 25 meters out and looked to have scored a try but the referee chalked it off for an offside player.
The Rams if anything took strength from the disallowed try, stepping up their defensive effort, managing to keep the Hawks pinned within their own half, the kick to Pryce the only escape from the Hawks half.
Dewsbury were now well and truly into the game matching the home side set for set, both teams pinning the other deep in their own ends of the pitch. This saw both teams’ defences becoming the stars of the game with only 10 minutes remaining in the half.
The teams stayed at a stalemate. The Hawks slowly edging more and more back into the game – great passing, freeing the Hawks who managed to get within 20 for the first time in some time. Brown’s kick was caught in the end forcing a drop out, the home side won a penalty from the drop out – the pressure again bringing ill-discipline out in the Rams. Brown’s kick again sailing through, the Hawks now leading 6-0 with a few minutes left in the half.
The Hawks completed a set from the kick off, Brown’s kick and an excellent chase forcing the Rams to knock the ball on. The great possession in sight of the line was a gift George Flanagan accepted graciously diving over the line to score seconds before the hooter, Simon Brown again kicking the extras. The score on half time: 12-0 to the home side.
The second half started before Hunslet did in a similar situation to last week’s Batley game, fortunately though the Hawks woke up in time to stop the visitors causing any damage, great defending late in the set saving the Hawks.
With both teams trading sets the Hawks momentum from the first half began to build back up. Another knock on from the away side, gave the Hawks the ball just 20 meters out, the pressure now piled onto the Rams forcing a drop out.
Now fully in top gear, Vinny Finigan found a gap and scored the second try of the game for Hunslet, the kick unfortunately swung wide nevertheless the home side were well in the lead with just 50 minutes gone 16-0.
The visitors soon countered with a fantastic attacking spell. The Hawks initially withstood the pressure of the visitors who forced 2 drop outs, but a penalty following the second and it was inevitable, Ryan Hepworth taking the ball over, Tom Hemingway converting. The score 16-6 after 57 minutes.
The spell from the Rams didn’t let up following the try, but the Hawks matched them set for set defensively. Dewsbury’s pressure let up slightly as they dropped the ball 20 meters out, the Hawks attack raring to go taking the ball to halfway where they were awarded a second set of 6.
Hunslet used their set wisely with Jimmy Watson being tackled just a meter from the line to turn over the ball, but the attack from the Hawks seemed to alleviate the pressure that had been applied for the last 10 minutes. It wasn’t the end though as the Rams used their possession to take back control of the game.
The Hawks defending really became the star of the game with 10 minutes to go, constant pressure on them not showing in their defensive effort. A forward pass 25 meters out summing up Dewsbury’s game, despite having the ball they failed to create and finish any real chances.
Another turnover on the Rams next set with just five minutes to play killed what was left of their momentum and just over a minute later another penalty allowed Simon Brown his fourth Penalty of the game. Again he kicked it, taking the lead to 12 points to the home side: 18-6.
The Hawks neatly gathered the short kick off. With time running out Dewsbury looking truly frustrated by the outcome of the game.
Full time at South Leeds Stadium 18-6 to the Hawks, a great display from both sides. The Rams were the unluckier of the two, but the luck finally swinging in the way of the Hawks, only two games two late. In the end, ill-discipline and mistakes costing the visitors.
Hunslet: Watson, Duckworth, Keinhorst, Maun, Finigan, Brown, Ansell, Houston, Lee, Yates, Walters, Casey, Mulhern. Subs Flanagan, Briscoe, Mackay, Brennan
Trys- Flanagan, Finigan. Goals- Brown (5)
Dewsbury: Pryce, Grant, Crookes, Grady, Morton, Wildie, Thackeray, Haggarty, Hemingway, Spicer, Hale, Brown. Subs- Hyde, Farrell, Adamson, Aizue
Trys- Thackeray Goals- Hemingway