Hunslet RLFC 21-8 Oldham RLFC
Hunslet gained revenge for their 40-20 defeat in early June at the Vestacare Stadium with a 21-8 victory today (16 July 2023) over fourth placed Oldham at the South Leeds Stadium to keep the Parksiders second in the Betfred League 1 table.
Hunslet are unbeaten at home in League 1 and it’s their mean defence that is winning them games, conceding only one try today, which occurred in a fairly freaky nature.
Both sets of forwards tried to get on top early on and the game settled into an arm wrestle. Hunslet were guilty of overplaying at times and coughed up possession in their own 25 on too many occasions.
Although Oldham had a try cancelled out on 7 minutes for a forward pass the Hunslet defence was strong and forced the visitors into over-cooked kicks and plays.
Eventually Hunslet got up field and Steve Crossley was unlucky with a ball bounce, before Matty Beharrell tried to open Oldham up with a smart kick.
It was a tight game and it took until the 32nd minute for the first points of the game. A Ridyard penalty giving Oldham the lead after a high tackle. 0-2
Sam Hallas sparked Hunslet into life with a scything run through the middle, Olly Burton continued it and although play broke down, on-loan half back Myles Lawford stepped his way through the Roughyeds’ defence to score a now typical try. Beharrel converted 6-2.
With only minutes remaining in the half the Hunslet try demoralised Oldham and from the short kick-off Adam Ryder was able to bust a hole through the Roughyeds’ defence. Myles Lawford saw a long ball to Jack Render and the winger scored one of this trademark diving tries which with Beharrel’s conversion gave the Parksiders a 12-2 half time lead.
Hunslet have been good in the second half this season and started strongly again today. A Myles Lawford kick bounced funnily but Oldham hacked it out inviting more pressure.
Jimmy Watson went close before, on 44 minutes, Matty Beherrell sent a lovely ball for Joe Burton to stroll over for a try. 18-2
Oldham now started to concede penalties and after Matty Beharrell had forced a drop out the Roughyeds kicked it out on the full giving Beharrell an easy 2 points and the lead became 20-2.
It was all going Hunslet’s way, but from the short kick off Connor Carr got the bounce of the ball and without breaking stride picked it up, and with no Hunslet defenders prepared, his momentum carried him over for an unusual try 20-8 on 55 minutes.
It was now or never for an Oldham comeback and a clever kick was well read by fullback Jimmy Watson who didn’t put a foot wrong under any high ball or grubber kick.
Both wingers Jack Render and Alfie Goddard were putting the hard yards in and eventual Man of the Match Joe Burton was a tough man to bring down ably fed by his brother Ollie.
Oldham were their own worst enemies on 61 minutes when Deane Meadows was sin-binned for halting Jimmy Watson from taking a quick tap. Then on 68 minutes they were down to 11 as Luke Nelmes had to leave the field for ten minutes for another late tackle.
They did though have a chance to score when good passing opened up Hunslet, but a reverse kick did not work as Jack Render was clearing up and eliminated the danger.
On 73 minutes game management kicked in as Hunslet stretched the lead to 13 points. The ball went back to Beharrell who wisely passed to Michael Knowles who slotted over a fine drop goal. 21-8
Oldham continued to try and force an uncomfortable last few minutes for the hosts, but when they looked on to score the ref pulled them back for an obstruction.
In the end it was Hunslet’s mean defence that won them the game. Being able to scramble and keep the Roughyeds out meant that Hunslet could strike against a deflated opponent.
Joe Burton was excellent with ball in hand, as were Lawford and Beharrell at half back. Jimmy Watson was solid in defence and Lewis Wray is making a mark off the bench as a real game changer.
Coach Alan Kilshaw will look to a fortnights time (30 July) when Hunslet entertain league leaders Dewsbury. The Rams are unbeaten, but a resurgent Hunslet will fancy their chances at home in front of what should be a good crowd.
Hunslet RLFC: Jimmy Watson, Jack Render, Adam Ryder, Joe Burton, Alfie Goddard, Matthew Beharrell, Myles Lawford, Harvey Hallas, Sam Hallas, Steve Crossley, Josh Jordan-Roberts, Aaron York, Michael Knowles. Interchange: Ollie Burton, Lewis Wray, Marcus Green, Jordan Syme. 18th Player:Brad Wheeler.
Oldham RLFC: Gregg McNally, Nicholas Rawsthorne, Connor Carr, George Hirst, Andrew Gabriel, Martyn Ridyard, Kian Morgan, Luke Nelmes, Matt Wilkinson, Josh Johnson, Zac Baker, Callum Cameron, Emmerson Whittel. Interchange: Sean Slater, Deane Meadows, Patrick Moran, Harvey Wilson. 18th Player: Dominic Newton.
Photo: Myles Lawford scores. Credit: Paul Butterfield
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