Today’s game saw the start of Paul March’s much deserved testimonial. Paul has served 15 years of Rugby League playing for Huddersfield, Wakefield, York and Hunslet. In his programme notes Paul asked for players and supporters to stick together after a run of poor results. The Hawks supporters will stand by the players as long as they see them showing commitment and effort.
Today’s performance showed just this, which the final score line did not do justice to. From the kick off the Hawks were showing a physical side to their tackling which had been lacking in previous weeks. Despite brilliant defensive efforts from John Oakes and Dennis Tuffour, on 6 minutes Wayne Reittie managed to force his was over the line; the conversion missed the score was left at 4-0. This did not seem to faze a determined Hunslet side who 6 minutes later saw Adam Sullivan storm his way towards the line. Dennis Tuffour was next and he slipped his way to within a few metres. Luke Haigh then grabbed the ball from the play and scooted over the line. The conversion attempt was pushed narrowly wide and the score stood at 4-4. For the rest of the second half both teams were equally matched, the Hawks showing some courageous defence, twice dragging the Batley forwards out of play. This was obviously beginning to frustrate the Bulldogs and 5 minutes before the end a penalty for ripping the ball was given to Hunslet. Danny Ratcliffe slotted the ball between the sticks and for the first time in 5 weeks the Hawks were in front at the break.
Both teams came back out into the second half looking confident, although the Hawks got off to a bad start when the ball was kicked out on the full. From this, the Batley forwards made their way towards the Hunslet line and despite tackling efforts, Adam Robinson managed to spin out of the tackle and score under the sticks. This time Paul Handforth converted and the score was 6-10 to the Bulldogs. For 12 minutes both Hunslet and Batley completed all their sets and played some inventive football. On 60 minutes neither Paul March nor Sully could stop Bryon Smith steaming over the line to score under the posts, this again converted. This didn’t stop the Hawks who seemed to be determined to score on this next set and both Steve Dooler and David March were held up on the line but Danny Grimshaw received it from the next play and it was inevitable that his speed and directional running would allow him to score in the corner, Danny Ratcliffe this time also converting, the score board was close at 12-16. Sean Hesketh scored Batley’s next try but Hunslet still looked good for the bonus points with solid defence and the forwards running themselves into the ground. The officials ended this with two incredible decisions. Firstly when Sean Hesketh was held against the posts and was then awarded the try, even though the grounding was very debatable, the second when Alex Bretherton picked up the ball offside and went on to score. The final score was 12-34 which was not a true reflection of the Hawks hard work shown all game.
It would be hard to find fault in any of the players today with everyone giving their all to the Hunslet cause. Keep up the good work lads and hopefully a deserved win will be very soon coming.
See you Thursday at Halifax