Hawks valiant despite defeat in first home game.
The Hawks headed into the first home game of the season following a difficult defeat 6 days earlier at local rivals Featherstone. The visiting Bulldogs arrived at South Leeds Stadium following a convincing win in the previous round vs Whitehaven.
The Hawks kicked off and for the first 10 minutes the teams matched each other, Hunslet’s strong defence being matched by Batley’s Kick and Chase, both teams keeping each other well inside their own territory, Hunslet had the first serious attack of the game unluckily falling short turning the ball over just meters from the line.
Batley tried to assert dominance by slowing the game down but the changes in possession meant neither team could fully take control over the other.
The Hawks had another chance to score this time a neat kick to the corner was ushered out the chasing Hawks and Bulldogs players going tumbling into the protective cover atop the long jump pit, the resulting thud heard around South Leeds.
With 15 minutes played the Bulldogs had still yet to make any progress into the Hawks final 20 the Home side looking good for the first points of the game.
The Bulldogs first threatening attack of the game came from a great kick by Cain Southernwood, who somehow managed to receive his own kick and make the ball to within 20, a penalty gave the visitors a second chance at the line, James Craven making the most of the second set of six performed an excellently timed dummy and found himself a gap and a sight of the line scoring in the corner, Leatherbarrow missed the extra’s, the visitors in the lead 0-4.
It wasn’t plain sailing for the visitors after scoring, Batley dropped the ball from the kick off forcing a turn over, Lyons the catalyst as the Hawks pushed forward before a clever Kick from Andy Kain saw Jimmy Watson over the line pouncing on the ball to level the score, Simon Brown’s goal took the Hawks ahead and they didn’t stop there.
The Hawks lost the ball from kick off but Batley couldn’t capitalise spilling it only 5 meters from the line, The on the attack took the ball down the field, Danny Maun tripped as he played the ball giving Hunslet a penalty and a fresh set of 6 in the opposition half, Brad Brennan’s introduction to the game really showing as the Forward charged his way in to add another try, again Brown’s kick in front of the posts sailed through.
The score now 12-4 with 26 minutes played.
The game had become an end to end contest, both teams chirping at each other as both teams unloaded offensive barrages against their opposition, the pressure began to take its strain on the Hawks though as poor defence allowed the Bulldogs through on goal, Jimmy Watsons pace preventing a certain try but Shaun Squires found a route into the corner, the Centre scoring his fifth in just 2 games, the kick sails wide again the visitors now back into the game after a stacked 15 minutes of action, with only 10 left in the half both teams looked to have the lead going into the half trading attacking sets, the game getting scrappy and both teams discipline becoming an issue.
Things heated up as the last ten minutes rolled on, Shaun Ainscough and Jimmy Watson mixing it up with each other, both teams stepping up the aggression, the Hawks gained a penalty as the teams fought their way through the end of the half, an unfortunate headshot on Watson resulting in a penalty, Simon Brown’s kick putting the home side within touching distance of the line but Batley again gave away a penalty this time for a ball steal, with the game as it was the Hawks took the two Brown splitting the uprights and giving Hunslet a 6 Point advantage going into the break.
The tension of the 1st half boiling over as the teams left the field resulting in a school yard scuffle, and much like a school yard scuffle as soon as it started it had finished as both teams left the field, the away team to a chorus of boo’s from the home crowd.
Batley kicked off the second half with a high bomb that was neatly diffused by Vinny Finigan, Brad Brennan got his first run of the half and obliterated 4 defenders with a huge hand off, the attack came to nothing for the Hawks though and perhaps was a sign of things to come for the side.
Following the loss of possession the Bulldogs cut straight through the Hawks defence and scored just 3 minutes into the half, Anthony Nicholson Making the run to score, Scott Leatherbarrow adding the extras to tie the game up.
Hunslet struggled to make any real impact to start the second half, the visitors happy to try slow down and frustrate Hunslet, The bulldogs slowly working their way ahead in the game looking more likely to score.
And on 56 minutes that’s what they did, Ainscough pounding on a kick to the corner from Leatherbarrow, the Scum half’s kicks causing a real problem for the Hawks in their own half now. The extras are good, the Bulldogs stealing all momentum and taking their lead to 6.
Errors seeped into the Hawks game and became a real issue as they gave away the ball and struggled when in possession, the Bulldogs went further ahead in the 63rd minute, the Visitors deciding to take 2 points from a penalty awarded to them, Leatherbarrow kicking cleanly through the posts.
The Hawks despite the point’s deficit didn’t give up in their fight, the attack that had failed to click in the second half so far began to slowly put the pieces together, a now solid defence from Batley slowing the game and frustrating the home side.
With Seconds remaining Wayne Rettie received the ball thanks to some nifty handling on the line and scored over a pile of bodies in the corner, Leatherbarrows kick swung wide of the posts, the game finishing 14-26.
The second game of the season and still the Hawks are looking for a win, not for lack for trying though, two very good performance’s from Hunslet, but having faced some very good sides there’s still plenty of hope.
What’s not to be forgotten despite the disappointment, the Hawks are only two games into the season, and all the pieces are there, Brad Brennan had a particular stand out game and really made an impact to the game.
Hunslet RLFC Line up
1. Jimmy Watson
2. Richie Barnett
Sponsored by: Iris Crummack from the GMB
3. Luke Briscoe
Sponsored by: Pudsey Pre-Cast Ltd
4. Danny Maun
Sponsored by: Norty Forty
5. Vinny Finigan
Sponsored by: Re:Work
6. Andy Kain
Sponsored by: Fred & Jane Hopkins
7. Simon Brown
Sponsored by: Garden Gate Ultras
8. James Houston
Sponsored by: Stephen Bower Bespoke Joinery
9. Jack Lee
10. Michael Haley
11. Aaron Lyons
Sponsored by: Linda Hemingway
12. Callum Casey
Sponsored by: James and Lucy Hoyland
13. Liam Mackay
14. George Flanagan
15. Brooke Broughton
16. Brad Brennan
Sponsored by: Liversidge Plant Hire
17. Rob Mulhern
Sponsored by: J Kellett Foods Ltd
00:23 Jimmy Watson Try
00:23 Simon Brown Goal
00:28 Brad Brennan Try
00:28 Simon Brown Goal
00:40 Simon Brown Goal