Hunslet Hawks were humbled by local rivals Dewsbury Rams on a difficult afternoon at the Tetley Stadium, crashing to a 40-4 defeat in the Kingstone Press Championship.
On an emotional afternoon for all concerned with Rugby League there was an impeccable minute’s silence held for Danny Jones, the Keighley Cougars halfback who tragically lost his life last weekend, prior to the kick off.
Once the action got underway, Dewsbury handed Hunslet the initiative straight from the kick off, with the swirling wind which would cause problems all afternoon, taking the ball straight into touch and giving the Hawks a penalty. The visitors capitalised on the gift with Charlie Martin crashing over the line seconds later to put Hunslet 4-0 ahead, Simon Brown’s conversion controversially waved away by the officials despite seeming to go straight through the posts. Not much would go right for the Hawks from that moment onwards.
Hunslet were on top in the opening stages of the game spending most of the opening ten minutes camped in the Dewsbury half, but too often both sides fell foul of the decisions of the man in the middle as referee Sweet punctuated the action with a host of penalties.
Hunslet had chances to extend the lead in the first ten minutes. Michael Haley was held up over the line and Danny Maun was fingertips away from grounding a grubber kick from Brown, but from the tap that followed the centres inability to ground the ball, Dewsbury showed the speed of thought and foot which would cause the Hawks problems all afternoon as Anthony Thackeray raced 60 metres from the tap to put Dewsbury on the attack, a spilled pass moments later letting Hunslet off the hook.
However it would not be long before the Rams levelled matters as they profited on a couple of errors from the usually reliable Jimmy Watson. Firstly the fullback handed Dewsbury possession with a slack pass which did not find a team mate before moments later knocking on a kick through which bounced up awkwardly as he tried to gather the ball. From the ensuing scrum Dewsbury moved the ball out to Luke Adamson who capitalized on some slack tackling to slide across the field before going over in the corner, Brett Seymour adding the extras to put Dewsbury in front.
The next ten minutes or so saw the teams struggle with both the conditions and the officials as the game degenerated into a scrappy contest full of handling errors and penalties, with both sides reduced to 12 men as Seymour for the Rams and Danny Ansell for Hunslet were sent to the sin bin for separate offences.
12 minutes before the break Dewsbury added a second try as Richie Barnett failed to gather a high kick in his own in goal area allowing Dale Morton to touch down for his first try of the afternoon to give the Rams a 10-4 lead at the break.
The second half saw Hunslet come out with some excellent intensity in defence, particularly in the kick chase department with James Duckworth in particular showing excellent commitment to the cause. However when the Dewsbury pack pushed the Hawks off the ball from their own scrum, the Rams showed their overpowering strength and intent which would see them bully their visitors into submission.
Hunslet held out manfully until the 50th minute, but when Aaron Brown broke through the Hawks line before feeding Thackeray to score under the posts, the floodgates were opened.
Hunslet were not helped by a nasty injury to Duckworth on the ensuing kickoff, the winger going down with a leg injury which saw him stretchered off and from that moment the Hawks spirit seemed to be broken.
A stunning 60 yard score by Dale Morton extended the Rams lead on the hour and minutes later the game was gone when Toby Adamson barged over with both tries converted by Seymour. The half back then added a try of his own to put Dewsbury 34-4 ahead before Morton completed his hat-trick in the closing minutes to complete the rout.
The Hawks now have a couple of weeks to lick their wounds, with the clash against Leigh Centurions, scheduled for next weekend, postponed as the league leaders are in Challenge Cup action. Barry Eaton will need to get his side to rediscover their attacking spark before they face bottom of the table Doncaster in the Summer Bash at Blackpool on Bank Holiday Weekend.