Chev Walker celebrated his testimonial in front of 1,158 fans at South Leeds Stadium last Sunday (3 January 2016); but he ended on the losing team as his Hunslet Warriors side were edged out by Hunslet Club Parkside in the inaugural State of Hunslet clash.
Before the derby match, the crowd were entertained by Hunslet Warriors and Hunslet Club Parkside U7s and U8s. Then Hunslet Hawks Legends faced a daunting task as they took on the Rugby AM All Stars, who’s side, captained by Sean Long, contained an array of former Super League and Internationals such as Robbie Hunter Paul, Keith Senior and Lee Gilmour.
Photos courtesy of Paul Johnson of Pheonix Photography
Despite the weather both sides showed great skills in the wet conditions. Skipper Stephen Pryce rolled back the years as he led his side which at first was an arm wrestle. The deadlock was broken when centre Martin Gleeson broke clear to score, Hawks replied and should have scored when Chris North went in at the corner, but the touch judge ruled him to be in touch.
The Hawks Legends, with Roy Sampson ringing the changes, made a determined start to the second half before the All Stars scored two quick tries. The first by Alan Hunt and then followed a 70m metre try from Mark Calderwood. Long failed to convert any of the tries making the score 12 – 0. Hawks Legends staged a comeback and a kick through was grounded by hooker Richard Pachniuk just before the dead ball line, with Craig Booth converting. Unfortunately, despite constant pressure on the All Stars line, they were unable to convert this into points with the All Stars running out 12 – 6 winners.
On to the main event as Hunslet Warriors and Hunslet Club Parkside squared up to each other. It was the first meeting between these two great rivals in five years and the weather conditions could not have been worse at a sodden South Leeds Stadium.
This far from dampened the spirits of the two teams though as from the very first tackle, made fittingly by Chev, the game was played at an incredible pace and in a superb spirit.
It was Chev’s Warriors who struck first as Caldon Bravo powered over from close range to give them the prefect start. The joy was short lived though as Mark Stubley burrowed his way in to reduce the deficit to two points.
Despite this, Warriors carried on having the better field position and they took advantage of this as Darryl Gaunt evaded two defenders to score, with the conversion making it an eight point ball game.
As half-time approached Parkside hit back with a crucial try as Wayne Foster somehow managed to ground the ball with four defenders around him. The conversion made it 12-10 to the Warriors at half-time.
After a cagey opening to the second half it took a moment of brilliance to register the next points as Jonathan Schofield, son of Rugby League legend Garry, took an intercept to race 80 metres to put Parkside in front for the first time.
Jordan Gale, brother of Castleford scrum-half Luke, missed a sitter of a penalty to level the score for the Warriors and he was made to pay for that miss.
The final 15 minutes were tense as the rain got heavier and more mistakes were made, but Hunslet Club Parkside held on for a memorable win to claim the inaugural State of Hunslet trophy.
Thanks to Paul Thorpe, the general manager of the Hunslet Club Parkside, for the State of Hunslet match report.