As the Hawks traveled to The Shay a win must have been on their minds. The game saw Hunslet take on a Halifax side who, despite being only one place above us in the table, beat a previously unbeaten Leigh Centurions. With new addition Chris Hall joining the squad as well as Ritchie Barnett back hopefully we would see a similar determined performance to last week.
From the kick off the Hawks were defensively brilliant, with Halifax completing every set without getting near the Hunslet line. But on 10 minutes a quick inside ball to Jacob Fairbank put the first points of the game on the board, Danny Jones converting and Halifax were 6-0 in front. This did not affect the Hawks who were looking very confident as Joe Helme and Adam Sullivan were causing some real trouble for the defence in the centre of the field. This could not be said for the Hawks whose defence was as strong as ever with the likes of Danny Grimshaw and Luke Haigh guarding the line tightly. Both Paul and David March attempted to barge their way across the line, but it was Danny Grimshaw who finally crossed the line when, flowing a charged down kick, he tore through the Halifax line and put the ball down on 30 minutes. Danny Ratcliffe put the ball between the sticks and the scores were level. The Hawks were putting on a very good performance but 5 minutes before half time a cross field kick got the better of Dennis Tuffour as he tried to stop the ball going into touch, but only allowed Ben Black to slip in and ground it, Danny Jones missed this one and the score was 10-6 to Halifax. Despite the score line the Hawks could leave for the break feeling very positive as today’s efforts were exactly what the fans – whether at home watching TV or at the Shay – were hoping for.
The second half kicked off in a good light for the Hawks as a penalty was awarded for ripping, the ever reliable Tommy Haughey powered his way towards the line fending off 3 tackles on his way, Paul March jumped in at half back as his brother distracted the defence with a dummy run, Paul got his chance and scooted over the line. Danny Ratcliffe pushed the ball just wide but the Hawks were now level. 5 minutes later Danny Grimshaw had control again, his running cutting the line and confusing the defence a short ball to the wing and Dennis Tuffour added another for the Hawks. Danny Ratcliffe just missing the conversion, it didn’t seem to matter as the score was now 14-10. The Hunslet defence was really causing problems for Halifax as they repeatedly ran in the ball but were getting nowhere. The short kicks were meaning that the Hawks were having to push the ball out of play and for 3 consecutive sets it was all Halifax attack and Hunslet defence. On the fourth, three long passes caught the tired looking Hawks defence and Rob Worrincy slid though to score. Danny Jones also missing the conversion Halifax were catching up and the score was once again level at 14-14. A penalty rewarded to Halifax this time Danny Jones didn’t miss, 16-14. It didn’t take the Hawks long to regroup though and when David March weaved his way through the defenders and sent out a pass to Danny Ratcliffe it was inevitable that he would power his way to the line. It was David March who took the kick this time but he too narrowly missed leaving the ever changing scoreboard at 18-16. It didn’t stay like that for long as the home side were awarded a dubious penalty which they elected to kick at goal. The successful kick brought the scores level and, amazingly, it seemed that the Hawks would be disappointed to only draw the game. More heartache was to follow, however. With Hunslet in possession in the Halifax half of the field, the clock ticking down and a couple of tackles left, it was an ideal chance to work to centre field and have a go at a drop goal. Ever adventurous, and maybe recalling the heroics of Michael Mark on our last visit to the Shay, Hunslet instead decided to throw the ball wide for a winning try, but a wayward pass lead to a ‘Fax scrum. Sure enough, 3 plays later Halifax’s Green managed to offload to Paul White and, despite tackle attempts from Lowey, the Halifax full back crossed the line to snatch the victory at the death.
The lads had worked tirelessly for 80 minutes and could be proud of their performance in front of the cameras and their incredible effort levels. Now with a three week break Marchy and Lordy will have a chance to work with the players and hopefully turn the much improved performances into more points
See you on the 3rd July at the South Leeds Stadium when the Hawks get chance to do the double on Super League bound Widnes.