|As we headed into the third round of the Northern Rail cup group stages the Hawks took on Championship big boys Leigh Centurions. After 3 heavy defeats last season today would be a game where fans, players and coaches could see the progress which has been made. After 2 successful games previous to this one everyone was hoping that today’s efforts would be just as good.
From the kick off Hunslet seemed to be struggling, wasting an initial opportunity on the line which rewarded the opposition with the ball after just 3 minutes. The Centurions were persistent and as Ridyard sent a ball flying down field the kick with a touch of good luck for Leigh managed to bounce of the sticks and into waiting hands of James Taylor, who placed it over the line and was granted the 4 points on 15 minutes; try converted so not exactly the dream start. The Hawks could not afford to give away penalty after penalty and as the Centurions found themselves close to the line, they decided to give a few passes wide stretching the defence, the perfect opportunity for speedy centre Littler to force his way over for their second. Leigh then broke loose once again managing to score twice in 5 minutes, converting both they surged to a 22-0 lead. The first half had been almost completely run by the home side but the Hawks were desperate to not be defeated just yet. Right before the break a final burst of energy meant that Helliwell could slide the ball into a gap in the left hand corner which was the only encouragement Ratcliffe needed to ground it on exactly 40 minutes; he converted his own and it was 22-6 as the sides left for the break. It had not been all bad; Hunslet had shown some good points in attack but I’m sure the only thing on the coaches mind would have been picking up in defence, which could be easily changed.
The first half was behind them and with 40 minutes left to go a bit more aggression and plenty more passion, the game was far from finished. It was the start we were hoping for, the forwards began showing their authority powering down centre field, the Centurions finding it ever more difficult to stop them. Benjafield made the break, and the support play was outstanding making it easy for the him to slip a ball out to Ratcliffe who slid under the sticks for his second try of the game.
Today’ s game was important for both sides they were battling to finish top after the group stages with Leigh’s defeat away at Sheffield meaning that they were eager to get back on form. 20 minutes into the half and the Hawks game had definitely improved making sure they completed their sets with minimal mistakes being made. The referee’s whistle was not helping the Hawks campaign and what appeared to be a forward pass allowed Leigh to cross once more. The game headed into the final 20 minutes and Hunslet looked to fancy their chances of gaining at least a bonus point from the game. They pressed on the home team’s line and even spurned the chance to go for a goal from a penalty, which would have brought them to within 12 points, and the bonus point.
But possession was lost and with barely a minute left to go Michael Worrincy took advantage of a tiring defence to allow Leigh to score and finish off the game at 30-12.
I’m sure coach Barry Eaton will have plenty of positive comments to make about the players today. Joe Pickets had been ruthless in attack, Luke Haigh and Yatesy had worked tirelessly in defence and with the addition of Ratcliffe and Helliwell, who repeatedly make things difficult for the opposition, the season is certainly looking promising.
The scoreline didn’t really reflect the teams determination and efforts today. Hopefully next week will allow us to get back into the swing off things.
Well done to the boys
See you next week for a 3pm kick off back at home