It’s great to be back after a long closed season and a trip to champions Featherstone Rovers on a cold and rainy day was probably what coach Barry Eaton would consider a work out for his new charges. The Hunslet supporters were keen to see how their new team would cope with a test such as this. A squad consisting of new and familiar faces to on the pitch and the game began. Something that was obvious to see from the kick off was the speed of defence and the precision in making sure that the Rovers were stopped in their tracks. Despite this only 11 minutes into the game, a slight lapse in concentration allowed Ian Hardman to pull off a successful dummy and slide over the line. Tom Carr easily added his two more.
The rain continued to pour which made handling very difficult , both teams dropping the ball giving the opposition countless yards. Barry Eaton had said that this year we were going to play exciting rugby and from the stands this is what we saw; a lot of clever passes and many of the younger players attempting new moves to gain some vital steps towards the try line. A couple of minutes before half time ex Hawk Danny Grimshaw slipped a pass to speedy winger Sam Smeaton and Featherstone were over again, although this time Carr missed the conversion but the points were creeping up. This did not knock the Hawks, whose motivation allowed them to carry on working hard until the half time hooter, managing as a team to drive the Rovers into touch and forcing errors. The first 40 minutes was over and 10-0 down to reigning champions Featherstone didn’t seem all that bad.
To start the second half with a Featherstone try I’m sure was not what the Hawks fans were hoping for; a strong forceful drive from Andy Bostock was enough to see him fly over the touchline and along with a difficult kick successfully converted the score was a comfortable 16-0. Play continued and the Haws upped their game, Matthew Harding and Luke Helliwell both showing some excellent performances in both attack and defence, neither shying away from the challenge. This was closely followed by an exciting set when a quick chip over was hastily gathered by Josh Nathaniel, which almost led to him putting the first points on the board for the Hawks, but a determined Fev side managed to wrestle him to a halt. Defence had been almost faultless up until the last 10 minutes when the Featherstone pack managed to power forward as two of their number managed to cross the muddy try line. One converted one not, the score as the final hooter blew was 24-0. A great performance from both sides in difficult weather conditions.
Fev may have managed to secure the win but Huslet could definitely be very proud of their efforts, a display that reflected the hard work done in pre-season and hopefully a positive view of things to come with the new year.
See you next week at the South Leeds Stadium