As we ventured to the Tetley Stadium for today’s fixture against Dewsbury, players and fans alike knew it was going to be a tough battle. With things so tight down at the bottom of the table both Hunslet and Dewsbury would be fighting for the 3 points.
As the sides took to the pitch and the fans began cheering the game kicked off. From the word ‘go’ Hunslet were defensively brilliant, racing to meet the Rams and forcing them to make countless errors. This was exactly the fast pace the Hawks needed by keeping Dewsbury firmly in their own half, the pressure on themselves was eased. 8 minutes in and Marchy scooped up the ball from the play, dummied his way past 2 defenders and leaped over the line the first points of the game had been scored. Jack Latus easily converted to add the next two 6-0 after just 10 mins! Despite the fact Hunslet were playing brilliantly and the game was flowing a shortwhile later the Hawks were left one man short when David Clayton tackled Austin Buchanan the referee ruled it to be high and sent him to the bin for 10. On the next play the Rams thought they had managed to level the score only to have the try cancelled out for obstruction. Play continued and the game was starting to become tense, Dominic Brambani constantly sending up the high cross field kick trying to force the error, but did not phase the confident Waine Pryce who looked to take every ball with ease despite the Dewsbury forwards chasing him down. 10 minutes before the first half was over and ideally the Hawks should have continued the alert defence we saw for the first 20 minutes to make sure they kept hold of this advantage into the break. But the lads failed to drift with the ball leaving the right wing open for Michael Wainwright to slip himself into, and score Dewsbury’s first. Patrick Walker bobbed the ball between the sticks and things were level. With only a couple of minutes until the hooter, the Hawks thought they had grabbed a chance to get back in front when the referee awarded the penalty and the Hawks opted to take the two. Unfortunately Latus pushed the ball on to the upright and it bounced back into play. As the first half came to an end everyone was optimistic, an eager defence, good attacking play and with the scores level could the Hawks win today and grab the all important points?
The second half was much a tale of tries and penalties. The first one to the Rams, a dangerous tackle allowed Walker to add two more to the tally, then when Brambani sent the ball flying into the corner a waiting Patrick Walker was happy to ground and convert his own. The bad start only got worse when in the next 7 minutes Ayden Faal managed to score one and yet another penalty against the Hawks, the board now stood at a gloomy 6-20. The Hawks needed to find that first half spark and score some points of their own. The ball landed in the hands of a determined Ritchie Barnett who powered through the Rams line, leaving the defence puzzled and a late pass to Danny Ratcliffe who must have been relieved to ground it just under the sticks, the ever reliable Latus gave us two more and the Hawks were back in it. Just two minutes later it was try time again this time Oakesy and Grimma were the ones who set it up, again with the late pass to Danny Rat who slid across for his second; conversion added and the game was really on.
Play calmed down for a while with both sides struggling to create anything, although the fans were impressed with the hardworking forwards. John Oakes and Andy Yates were both really working to get the Hawks to the line trying their best to tire the defence and create much needed opportunities for point scoring. Hunslet were doing a good job of keeping their opponents out but on the last tackle the official called a surprise high tackle giving the perfect opportunity for the Rams to jump another 2 ahead. The Hawks now knew that preventing Dewsbury scoring would be essential and were happy when they managed to stop Josh Tonks short of the line, but memories of previous weeks arose and both the touch judge and referee failed to see it and awarded the Rams the try. With only a minute left to go the Hawks knew there was no getting back into it but it didn’t make it any easier when just on the sound of the hooter a final unexplained penalty was given, leaving the scoreboard looking much worse than it was at 30-18.
Everyone knew today was a challenge and the hard work, enthusiasm and all round good rugby of the Hawks did not go unnoticed. Despite the score the Hawks were unlucky to have lost! Maybe next week our luck will change and we will come out with the win we have been waiting so long for. Well done to Paul and the boys.
See you next week for the game at the South Leeds, against visitors Barrow Raiders.