Hunslet Hawks showed no sign of playing a second game in a little over 24 hours as they comprehensively outplayed Doncaster to secure a morale boosting 42-12 victory and regain the John Sheridan Shield this afternoon (25 January 2015).
After two matches on the energy sapping mudbath that is the pitch at the South Leeds Stadium, the immaculate turf of the Keepmoat must have been a sight for sore eyes for the Hunslet players. On a perfect surface for play running rugby, the Hawks produced a scintillating display of running rugby to put the home side to the sword.
It took just six minutes for the Hawks to breach the Doncaster try line. Danny Ansell’s huge up and under was not gathered by the Doncaster full back David Scott and Hunslet gained six more tackles deep in the home side’s territory. Using this extra set allowed prop forward Michael Haley to barge under the posts with a couple of Doncaster players hanging on to him, but unable to prevent him from grounding the ball for the opening score.
After a severe work out against Leeds and Salford, the Hunslet defence has been well drilled and apart from a couple of strong efforts from Brett Waller, Doncaster were finding it difficult to make any impression. On the other hand Hunslet were gaining impressive yards on every set and doubled the lead on 13 minutes with Haley crashing over again under the posts.
Four minutes before the break, Hunslet scored their third try of the afternoon to cap an impressive first half display. Callum Casey sent Mufaro Mvududu away and the summer recruit from London Skolars burst through the Doncaster defensive line, drew the full back and fed Jimmy Watson to finish under the sticks. Ansell made it three from three with the boot to make it 18-0 at the break.
The second half saw Hunslet continue to dominate their South Yorkshire opponents and they were gifted a fourth try in the 45th minute, Scott spilling a high kick by the impressive Andy Kain, gifting Richie Barnett the simple task of gathering the ball and strolling under the posts.
Jimmy Watson scored his second and Hunslet’s fifth on 55 minutes backing up Danny Grimshaw’s excellent break to cap a superb 60 yard break, Ansell’s conversion off the post handing the Hawks a convincing 30 point lead.
Watson though was culpable of too much ambition eight minutes later when, after a superb take of a high kick, his pass went to ground and Doncaster eventually crossed the line moments later on the other side of the field through Jack Walton.
Hunslet though restored the 30 point gap nine minutes from time when Kain capped his performance with a jinking swerve of the hips to break through the Doncaster defence before sending Liam Mackay away to score.
Doncaster’s man of the match Scott went over for a late consolation, but right on the hooter the impressive Mvududu streaked away to score under the posts and with Ansell completing a perfect day with the boot, sealed an comprehensive victory for Hunslet.
The Hawks have a deserved week off next week and then face a final pre-season fixture against Rochdale before the serious business of the Kingstone Press Championship begins with a trip to face a formidable Featherstone Rovers side. However if Hunslet continue to perform as they did on Sunday, the season ahead should be an exciting one.
DONCASTER: Scott, Doherty, Cowling, Waterman, Sanderson, Cooke, Kittrick, Waller, Kesik, Robinson, Kelly, Snitch, Emmett. SUBS – Carbutt, Welham, Leaf, Wilson, Walton, Vincent.
HAWKS: Watson, Barnett, Cook, Mvududu, Finnigan, Kain, Ansell, Haley, Lee, Houston, Lyons, Casey, McKay. SUBS – Grimshaw, Cosgrove, Agoro, Reed, Broughton, Brennan, Akedaire, Darby, Backhouse, Martin, Conway.