The sky cameras were at the South Leeds Stadium for this West Yorkshire derby. Both sets of supporters were hoping their side would impress, but if the opening encounters were anything to go by this was never going to be a classic. With the wind swirling around the Stadium, kicking was always going to play its part in the game. This was proved on 11 minutes when a high cross field kick was knocked back into play by Richie Barnett who was pressured by two of the Rams attackers and the loose ball was picked up by James Lockwood to cross the line giving Dewsbury a 4-0 lead. No conversion was added with Brambani ‘s attempt hitting the upright. Four minutes later Paul March was penalised for holding down allowing the Rams to add another two points to their tally. The game was turned into a scrappy affair with mistakes on both sides, there seemed to be a lack of invention from both the Rams and the Hawks, although Dewsbury were using the kicking game to make Hunslet play the majority of the ball in their own half. One of the few players to show a much needed spark was Elliot Kear being equally impressive with ball in hand and rugged tackling. Just short of the half hour mark the lights on the stand roof failed but the referee and both captains agreed to play on as the rest of the stadium lighting was just about sufficient to continue.
With the game struggling to get going due to the amount of handling errors and penalties most of the play was down to the forwards, with Yates and Helme getting through their fair share of heavy attack and defence for the Hawks. It seemed inevitable that the next points would come from a penalty and when Hunslet were penalised for stripping the ball virtually on their own line Dewsbury increased their lead to 8-0. With half time approaching the Hawks were desperate to put some points on the board and when Richard Chapman slipped a ball out to Tommy Haughey not even 3 Dewsbury players could stop him crossing the line, putting the Hunslet side within 4 points of the Rams. With the swirling winds still creating trouble, Danny Ratcliffe narrowly missed the conversion from the touchline to leave the score 4-8 at half time.
Hunslet were doing well to put up with strong running from the Dewsbury forwards, but the defence was once again broken when a high kick bounced between Danny Ratcliffe and Stuart Kain and looked to be going out of play but was knocked backwards to the waiting hands of Buchanan who easily grounded. Yet another missed conversion and Hunslet were 12-4 down. On the hour the Hawks were undone for the third time by a Brambani kick which was chipped over the defensive line for Buchanan’s second of the night, a missed kick meant the score was now 16-4. Hunslet had suffered from the referee’s whistle all night, the March brothers in particular seemed hard done to and this was again the case on 64 minutes when David March was judged to have stripped the ball allowing Faal to ground the ball on the Hawks line. This time successfully converted gave Hunslet a mountain to climb at 22-4 behind. Hunslet came closest to reducing the deficit when Danny Ratcliffe broke from his half and slipped a ball to Elliot Kear who skipped past 2 Dewsbury players to set up Luke Haigh who must have thought he was across the line before being flattened by a waiting defender who caught Luke a metre short. Hunslet never gave up but the Rams played the last ten minutes out and the game came to an end with the score 22-4 to Dewsbury.
Hunslet were the equals of Dewsbury for the majority of this game and it would be hard to pick out a Hawks player who had had a bad game. As in previous weeks the high ball got the better of us but with the players spirit it will not be long before the Hawks are back on track.
See you next Friday for the NRC quarter final at South Leeds Stadium when are opponents will be Featherstone Rovers.