Hunslet’s discipline costs them dearly

Hunslet RLFC 18-48 Rochdale Hornets

Hunslet’s discipline cost them the third versus fourth contest at the South Leeds Stadium yesterday (23 June 2024). Having won earlier in the season at Spotland the bounce of the ball went for the visitors on a hot sunny day rather than Hunslet and after conceding three tries whilst fullback Jimmy Watson was in the sinbin, the Parksiders could never wrestle the game back.

Rochdale are a free scoring side and took the lead on only 11 minutes when on the last tackle Martyn Ridyard put a kick up for the leaping Dan Nixon who clung on to score. 0-6

Hunslet replied straight away on 15 minutes when on-loan halfback George Flanagan hoisted a kick. The Rochdale defence fumbled the bomb, but unaware the tackles had been wiped Flanagan hacked on to score a fine try. Beharrell converting 6-6

Rochdale were finding gaps in the Hunslet defence, and on 22 minutes an attack down the left saw Lewis Else come infield and find former Hunslet captain Duane Straugheir charging onto a ball. No one could stop Straugheir as he powered over. Hornets lead 6-12

On 25 minutes things got worse for Hunslet as Gregg McNally put in an early kick after Hornets failed to make many yards, the bounce was cruel and McNally swept up to score. 6-18 and work for the Parksiders to do.

It still felt as though Hunslet were in the game, and on the half hour mark a searching Cam Berry run was rewarded when Matty Beharrell scored brilliantly when it looked unlikely. 12-18

With not long to the break Hunslet would have taken 12-18, but another piece of luck went against them. A Hornets kick through took a cruel bounce and Jimmy Watson miss-fielded, then Mackenzie Scurr slipped and Lewis Else rounded him to score. 12-24 at the break.

Hunslet had to come out on the front foot in the second period, and that they did as Ethan O’Hanlon busted through and Watson fed Berry who was held just short. The next play saw a kick to Jack Render. But the big winger couldn’t take the ball to score one of his trademark tries.

Phoenix MOM Ethan O’Hanlon on the charge. Photo: Craig Irvine

On 47 minutes though Hunslet did reduce the arrears when after O’Hanlon had again caused havoc Cam Berry switched a ball to Michael Knowles who powered over. 18-24

Hunslet were now on top as Rochdale kicked out on the full and Hunslet looked to attack.

Passing to the right set up Joe Law with a chance, but the ball came loose at a crucial moment and Rochdale pounced to attack. With defenders scrambling back Jimmy Watson held on too long and the Referee sent him to the sinbin for a professional foul.

This gave the advantage to Rochdale who now looked to punish the 12 men of Hunslet. Rochdale used the numbers to send Jordan Andrade over on his return to South Leeds on 54 minutes, and straight from the kick-off Rochdale scored a good team try started by Duane Straugheir and finished by Jonathan Openshaw. 18-36

Desperately trying to get back into the game Hunslet came close, but Jordan Syme looking for support passed to Duane Straugheir and the chance was gone.

Andrade added another try for Rochdale on 65 minutes, and although both Michael Knowles and Jack Render went close for Hunslet it clearly wasn’t their day.

A flare up near the hooter ended with Matty Fletcher for Hunslet and Luke Nelmes for Rochdale being sent off before on 80 minutes Gregg McNally scored his second try cutting through a tired Hunslet defence. Martyn Ridyard converting his 8/8.

The game was summed up when a George Flanagan kick was chased down by Harvey Hallas, but the bounce went against him as it had done all day for his team mates.

So plenty to ponder for Coach Dean Muir, who admitted his side had not been good enough. Muir pointed to the poor discipline, but was confident his team were honest enough post-match to get back on the horse next week in a tough match at Oldham (30 June 2pm).

Matty Beharrell received the Sponsors’ Man of the Match whilst Etan O’Hanlon got the Phoenix Supporters’ Man of the Match. There were also good performances from Cam Berry and Michael Knowles.

Hunslet RLFC:  Watson, Scurr, Law, Ferreira, Render, Flanagan, Beharrell, Hallas, Whitmore, Fletcher, Jordan-Roberts, Knowles, Syme, Berry, Shaw, O’Hanlon, Coventry, Levy.

Rochdale Hornets:  McNally, Nixon, Darbyshire, Dalton-Harrop, Forber, Ridyard, Else, Roberts, Roren, Nelmes, Forster, Straugheir, Whittel, Openshaw, Andrade, Spencer-Tonks, Meadows, Killan.


Main photo: Sponsors’ MOM Matty Beharrell.  Credit: Craig Irvine


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