The Leeds Brewery Lazenby Cup returned to the South Leeds Stadium, as the Hawks came up with an outstanding team effort in a 20-16 victory over the Leeds Rhinos.
The blistery and windy conditions cleared up just in time for kick off which allowed for some great rugby. The Rhinos survived the first sets but the ruthless Hunslet attack split them after just 10 minutes. John Oakes forced his way through the defensive line before getting the ball away to Grimshaw who was anticipating the pass in support and touched it down over the line. Grimshaw looked to be back at his best after suffering injuries that kept him away from the field for a large part of last season. The Hawks had got off to a flying start, but the Rhinos hit back swiftly with a try of their own, Jordan Harper crossed in the corner but the conversion just landed wide. Despite getting themselves into a great position with an important 40-20, Hunslet’s handling errors on the line prevented them from exploiting gaps in the Rhinos line. But the home sides defence continued to impress, a challenge on the line saw the Rhinos caught in goal and forced the drop out. Minutes later Jimmy Watson was left to make a try saving tackle on the Leeds winger throwing him into touch he had relieved his side of any attacking pressure. The Hawks were dominating the game, Tebb was making good metres from dummy half and Watson was almost across the line minutes later; promising things on display from Eaton’s side. First team players Ryan Bailey and Kylie Leuluai were causing problems but the Hawks came together to stop them in their tracks. Their hard work finally paid off on 30 minutes when Mapals out jumped everyone to steal the ball from Ansell’s high cross field kick and touched it down over the whitewash for his first try of 2014. Brickwood and Tebb joined forces to make the last tackle of the half, and the Hawks went to the break a try in front.
A knock on from the kick off was the first set back for the home side and when Mapals was beaten on size by Josh Waters the Leeds side had pulled things level early on. A disorganised Hunslet escaped another easy try when the officials called a spiralling pass from hooker Ward to be forward. But the errors that had started creeping in cost Hawks and Chris Clarkson found his way over the line and the visitors put themselves in front for the first time in the game. The Hawks had worked tirelessly in the game today and it had been a real team effort but debutant George Clarke and prop Michael Haley had been stand out, used a battering rams tiring out the Rhinos forwards they gave room for the backs to try and cross the line once again. Barry’s side were not finished, a huge challenge from Danny Maun on the left hand wing forced the knock on. John Oakes was carrying the side forward his experience was invaluable out on the field, taking the ball on a running start he burrowed over the line to score for the Hawks and bring them back into the game. However the missed conversion did mean the Hawks were left trailing 2 points behind. The visitors lost steam in the dying minutes of the second half and Danny Ansell saw his opportunity, he timed his run perfectly showed the dummy and took on the line himself. He crossed the whitewash and converted his own to drive the Hawks back in front once again. After not featuring in most of last season’s games Ansell had come out fighting today and impressed the Hawks skills with his field kicking. Dangerously close to the end of the game the efforts in defence from the Hunslet side were admirable and paid off as the scoreline remained in the Hawks favour at 20-16 as the final hooter blew.
An impressive team effort today saw the Hunslet outfit rewarded with the Leeds Brewery Lazenby Cup. The game had been a real preview of the amount of talent the Hawks can produce this coming year and hopefully a positive sign of things to come. The win will have given the side the confidence they need as they face the Wakefield Trinity Wildcats next week in the last home pre season game before the league starts in a month’s time.