Surely after 13 weeks of defeats and with a position so low down in the table a win was in store for us today? Barrow was the challenge for the Hawks today and after last time’s close defeat today was sure to be an exciting encounter.
As the game got under way, the aggression was clear to see; the Hunslet forwards were powering down centre field trying everything to get the first points on the board by getting themselves into good field position. Tommy Haughey took the ball to the Raiders and got the ball away to winger Waine Pryce who finished it off, Jack Latus added the two as usual and making it 6-0. It was Barrow who looked to be scoring next when they worked their way up field and towards the line but a terrible pass saw the ball go loose and into the arms of a confident Danny Ratcliffe who managed to escape the defence and race towards the line. He caught a glimpse of a waiting barrow defender and cleverly tossed the ball to Prycey who was more than happy to slide over for his second. Latus bobbed the ball over and after 25 minutes a 12-0 advantage meant things were looking good. To make sure that they did not allow the Raiders to add any of their own this first half the Hawks defence would have to be on top form and that it was, with the likes of John Oakes and Adam Sullivan stopping the visitors way into their own half and easing the pressure. Hunslet saw sight of the line again though and the constant attacking pressure left numbers lacking outside, which caught the eye of Danny Grimshaw who managed to grab a hold of the ball and attack the gap touching down for the third. The scoring did not stop there! Barrows strong kicker Jamie Rooney attempted to put a neat grubber through the line but an alert Waine Pryce caught the ball instead and set off down towards the try line and a perfectly timed late pass to Danny Ratcliffe resulted in yet another 6 points added to the board. Some brilliant rugby followed both sides contesting well and successfully completing sets with minimal errors. Barrow looked to be grabbing some points of their own before the break when Andy Ballard gave a wide ball to Gary Broadbent; the Raiders were sure they were across but the officials called the pass to be forward and the try was ruled out. On 39 minutes the score board must have got the better of some of the Barrow players and their mouthing awarded Hunslet a penalty on the hooter which Jack Latus slotted in style between the sticks. A 26-0 advantage at the break should have been a real confidence booster to the Hawks and a display which will hopefully be mirrored into the second half.
The game was restarted and surprisingly things didn’t turn out as planned; a short lapse in concentration and the Raiders crossed the line in the form of Mark Gleeson for their first, Michael Knowles added the two and Barrow were making it clear they were not going down without a fight. But Hunslet returned strong with a try of their own. Danny Ratcliffe this time making the break a short pop up ball to Prycey who crossed the line for the third time, Jack just missed the conversion and the score was 30-6. The Hawks were making constant changes to their forwards meaning that they had a side which was able to keep up with the fast pace of the game. Tommy Haughey took the next one driving himself into the line, the Raiders unable to stop him, he dropped it off to Marchy, Paul controlled the ball until the time was right he then slipped it out to Danny Rats who scored a well deserved try under the posts making it easy for Latus to convert it. The tries kept on flowing though this time it was the visitors, Gary Broadbent set it up perfectly for Jamie Rooney to wiggle his way across the line. After all this frantic play things settled down but the importance of today’s game was obvious, the battle to steer clear off the bottom of the table. Hunslet managed to find the spark; Marchy dummied it left from hooker but sent a lovely pass out right to Waine Pryce who settled the game with his fourth and grounded the winning try. A great game all round.
Today’s victory is just what the lads needed as the end of the season lurks the points will have been a real bonus and the win was well deserved. Hopefully a repeat performance against Halifax will keep the Hawks well away from the dreaded drop.
Well done to Paul and the boys.
See you at the South Leeds in 2 weeks time.