Hunslet started off their Northern Rail cup campaign on a drab afternoon at the White Bank Stadium Oldham. On the field Hunslet’s early play was anything but drab, making good yards from every play the ball, even though the pitch conditions were not conducive to easy flowing rugby. After 6 minutes their hard work paid off when a kick through from Paul March was grounded by Hunslet’s Stuart Kain which was successfully converted by David March. The Hawks doubled their lead on 16 minutes when another clever ball from Paul March lead to Tommy Haughey crossing the Oldham line, again the extras added by David March. At this point Hunslet looked easily the better side but then as both teams started to spill the ball in the difficult playing conditions Oldham’s Jack Bradbury made Hunslet pay slipping in at the corner, but the conversion was missed, leaving Hunslet with a 12-4 lead. Unfortunately David March was sin binned on 34 minutes giving a perfect opportunity for Oldham to take advantage, which they most certainly did. Hunslet’s defence was split down the middle, leaving full back Stuart Kain with no chance when the ball was slipped to John Clough to run in under the posts. Four minutes later Mick Deveney ran in a replica try and he added both conversions to give the home side a half time lead of 16-12.
Hunslet still look shell shocked after the break and struggled to make any impact against an Oldham side full of confidence; on 45 minutes Hunslet’s defence had no answer to John Gillam’s superb 60 yard try scoring run down the left wing. The conversion was kicked to leave Hunslet trailing 22-12, but the boys dug deep and never gave up the fight. A dropped ball was pounced on by Paul March and only an ankle tap on Waine Pryce prevented the flying winger from scoring. The try was not long in coming, however, when on the next play the ball was passed to Danny Grimshaw who put in a ball to David Clayton who somehow forced himself over the line when it looked like the four Oldham defenders would force him out of play. David March was successful with the conversion from the touchline. Hunslet were somehow kept from scoring again by some dogged Oldham defence, which was reduced to 12 men when Roden was sent to the sin bin after a high tackle on Haughey. On 73 minutes the game was put beyond Hunslet when Bradbury crossed the line for the second time and the goal was added leaving Hunslet 28-18 down. On 78 minutes a quick play of the ball put Hunslet’s prop Andrew Yates in the clear and he forced his way over the top of the full back. Unbelievably the conversion from virtually in front of the posts was put wide by the usually reliable David March. A disappointing result although the match had it’s high points including the impressive try from David Clayton and several good performances. If Hunslet are to improve, however, some of the defensive mistakes need to be ironed out before next week’s home game against Batley.
Coach Paul March was obviously disappointed after the match, commenting that “we played like 17 individuals both in attack and defence. There is a lot to work at during training this coming week. The poor weather has forced us to do much of our training indoors for the last few weeks; hopefully we will get some quality time on the training pitch before we face Batley.”
See you at The South Leeds Stadium next Sunday