As always a meeting with the old enemy is eagerly anticipated by all Hunslet supporters and Sunday was no different, the Rhinos turned up with a youthful side eager to impress their peers watching from the stands and Hunslet’s more experienced players trying to gel for their second friendly of pre season.
Hunslet started off the faster of the two. Although both sides found the conditions difficult with a slippery ball contributing to several handling errors, a neat kick through from Paul March after some aggressive play down the middle was pounced upon by Hawks stand off Danny Grimshaw converted by David March gave Hunslet a 6-0 lead but unfortunately the Rhinos took advantage of some ball handling errors and missed tackles with Leeds running in 4 tries in a 12 minute period which seemed to knock the Hunslet off balance. This period was followed by a 20 man brawl resulting in Rhinos’ Prop Kyle Armour and Hunslet’s Rob Kelly walking for 10 minutes. Hunslet seemed to bounce back after this with a deserved try from Harding on 28 minutes unfortunately not converted bringing the scores to 10-20 in the Rhinos favour. Leeds ran in another two tries sending Hunslet in at the break looking decidedly second best.
Hunslet fans were hoping for a much improved display in the second half and were not disappointed with Hunslet playing with renewed vigour resulting in Andy Yates crossing the line on 50 minutes after some good work by David March and John Oakes, followed by a successful conversion. Five minutes later the Hawks struck when McLocklan steamed through the Leeds defence to touch down, again converted by David March. Unfortunately any hopes of a Hunslet victory were dashed when Leed’s Liam Hood crossed the line for the second time but Hunslet’s never say die attitude paid dividends after some clever work from Danny Grimshaw and Danny Ratcliffe gave Richie Barnett the chance to beat two Rhinos defenders to score a deserved Hunslet try. The result may have been different if Hunslet had not been held up over the line three times during the game. Hunslet supporters can take heart in their second half performance which saw the Hawks play some clever football with slick handling and offloads.
Ex Hunslet and Leeds star James Lowes, now assistant coach at Headingley said after the game, “Both teams played good rugby and Hunslet look to have a good season ahead of them”
Let’s look forward to a win for Hunslet against Keighley next week. See you there