A 24-28 win at Newcastle Thunder this afternoon has given the Hunslet Hawks their first points in the Kingstone Press League 1.
Hunslet travelled to Kingston Park Stadium with good wins in the Challenge Cup, but three straight defeats in the league this season. Coach Matt Bramald talked in the week of bringing their cup form to league matches and they certainly fought to end today.
The game swung back and forth with the lead changing hands seven times. Eleven tries were scored but it was not a day for the kickers with only four conversions.
The Hawks went out to an early lead scoring from their first set. A chip kick on the fifth tackle led to a scrum on Newcastle’s 10m line and Danny Ansell went over for his first try of the afternoon try, but was unable to add the extras.
Hawks extended their lead on 18 minutes when Matt Carbutt scored and Ansell converted taking the score to 0-10.
A dramatic break out by Newcastle full back Tom Reugiger was stopped on Hunslet’s 20m line, but a penalty gave the Thunder another set. Reigiger finished the job on the fifth tackle and Benn Hardcastle converted moving the score on to 6-10 after 25 minutes.
Newcastle Thunder took a 12-10 lead on 37 minutes when Vincent Rennie scored and Hardcastle kicked the conversion.
The Thunder tried to capitalise on their momentum by attacking straight from the kick off, but they dropped the ball. Richie Barnett was able to recover the ball and with the defence absent was able to score easily. Ansell missed the kick, but Hunslet went in at half time 12-14 up.
The second half started with George Flanagan going over in the corner for the Hawks, but Ansell again missed the conversion.
Newcastle struck back five minutes later with Derrell Olpherts scoring in the corner. Hardcastle was unable to bring the scores level with his conversion. The score moved on to 16-18 with 48 minutes played.
Newcastle regained the lead when a penalty against Hunslet gave the Thunder a set 30m out. Jared Simpson scored, once again in the corner and Hardcastle’s kick bounced out off the post.
The lead lasted only five minutes as Ayden Faal scored for Hunslet after Olpherts was yellow carded for a dangerous tackle.
Newcastle were next to score on 68 minutes with Rhys Clarke going over. As the clock ran down Hunslet piled on the pressure, but the Thunder stood firm.
Then with two minutes to the hooter, Danny Ansell crossed the line for the Hawks and kicked the goal. Hunslet held onto a precious four point lead to see the game out.
Final score: Newcastle Thunder 24-28 Hunslet Hawks.
Hunslet Hawks: Watson, Duckworth, Mvududu, Faal, Barnett, Thomas, Ansell, Carbutt, Lee, Haley, Williams, Normington, MacKay. Subs: Flanagan, Bell, Robinson, Crane.
Newcastle Thunder: Reudiger, Fox, Blair, Olpherts, Simpson, Paterson, Hardcastle, Rennie, Teroi, Clarke, Aldous, Parker, Thorburn. Subs: Simons, Stoker, Wood, Welsh, Atkinson, Brown.
Referee: John McMullen Attendance 604