A cold, wet, and windy South Leeds Stadium hosted Hunslet’s last pre-season friendly against Keighley Cougars who have swapped divisions with last seasons Championship One winners Hunslet.
Hunslet started the game at a ferocious pace, good strong running from the forwards leading to Hawks making yardage on their first two sets. A great take from Hunslet’s John Oakes after an attempted clearance from the Cougars, followed by some quick hands saw David Clayton cross the line for Hunslet’s first try of the game after 3 minutes. The conversion was duly put away by David March giving Hunslet a 6-0 lead. The pace of the game did not drop but unfortunately Hunslet’s defensive frailties of last week remerged on 13 minutes when the cougars Gav Duffy pounced on a kick through which the Hunslet defence were not quick enough to react to. The conversion proved to be too far out leaving the score 6-4 to Hunslet.
Hunslet’s forwards, ably lead by David March, then embarked on some ferocious tackling which was obviously appreciated by the Cougars fans who seemed to have a soft spot for David, equalled only by the strength of the Hawks running leading to Hunslet’s second score of the game. A neat grubber through from Hunslet’s stand off Danny Grimshaw and a quick gather & pass by Stuart Kain lead to James Houston crossing the white wash, successfully converted by David March giving Hunslet a 12-4 lead on 22 minutes. The game then started to deteriorate with both sides giving away countless penalties due to the nature of the tackling and the retaliation from both sides inevitably ending in Hunslet’s Scott Woodcock and Cougars Bendon Rawlins getting ten minutes to cool down. David March rounded off a great half for him personally by barging through the Keighley defence to touch down and add the extras giving Hunslet an 18-4 lead at the break.
The second half started as expected, with the Cougars pressing at every opportunity to cut the Hawks lead. However Hunslet’s tackling throughout denied Keighley the space to create enough chances to worry the Hawks. The way Hunslet defended frustrated Keighley throughout the half, which showed when Pursglove threw the ball away after a decision went against him making him the second Keighley player to be binned. Even with a lack of points in the second half Hunslet’s defence was impressive with March, Haughey, Cakacaka and Woodcock taking the brunt of the Keighley hits. A fine game from the ever impressive Danny Grimshaw was rounded off when he jinked through the Keighley defence to score a well deserved try, to leave the final score 22-4 in the Hawks favour. If Hunslet defend this well when the season kicks off at Oldham in two week’s time they will give themselves a great chance of having a decent season.
See you in Oldham in two week’s time.