For the second time this season we travelled to Sheffield; the Hawks had been victorious last time with a 16-12 win in the Northern Rail Cup at The Don Valley Stadium. Today’s Championship game was of greater importance to Hunslet. After a run of poor results before today the Hawks were looking for some much needed points and the game was also played at the more spectator-friendly Bramall Lane.
Before the game started both sides held a minutes silence for former Sheffield Eagles stalwart Betty Largo who passed away earlier this month.
As the game finally kicked off, both teams played out their sets with Hunslet’s forwards driving the ball and gaining good yards at every play. It was only a matter of minutes when Hunslet centre John Oakes steamed towards the Sheffield line and gave a neat offload to Dennis Tuffour who scored in the corner. This was followed by an excellent conversion from Danny Ratcliffe to make the score 6-0. For the next 15 minutes both sides were holding each other well in defence and playing some good attacking football. But Sheffield were starting to show signs of things to come, breaking the line repeatedly although at this stage the Hawks were managing to regroup and keep them out. But a diagonal run from Quentin Togagae and a slip pass to Finnigan saw the Eagles cross the line for the first time in the game, the try unconverted and the score 4-6. Adam Sullivan and John Oakes were doing their best to drive the ball forward for the Hawks but by this time the Sheffield side had grasped the game by the scruff of the neck and were putting the Hawks under pressure at every play. This was shown again when Joe Hirst stormed his way through to the Hunslet line and scored on 29 minutes, unconverted, the score board lay at 8-6 to the Eagles. Sheffield were beginning to beat the defensive line almost untouched. In the next 3 minutes both Misi and Yere scored due to missed tackles from the Hawks, one converted, one not; Sheffield had a had an 18-6 lead at the break.
The travelling support hoped that Paul March would be having a stern word with the lads at the half time to ensure a more enthusiastic display in the second half. Unfortunately this was not to be the case as within minutes of the restart the Eagles had crossed the line twice and Simon Brown had found his kicking boots converting both. The two tries again down to missed tackles and what seemed to be lazy defence, some players still having their backs turned at the play. Hunslet were unfortunate with the Eagles next two tries as one was a clear forward pass and the other a questionable decision. Nevertheless the try had been set up due to a terrible performance in defence. The score was now 48-6 and Hunslet had thrown the game away with a catalogue of errors, poor tackling and a total lack of enthusiasm which was evident to all the fans. In the last 12 minutes of the game Corey Hanson, Quentin Togagae, Alex Rowe and Jamie Cording strolled across the line virtually unopposed.
The only bright point of the second half was when Danny Grimshaw ran an excellent diagonal line and slipped through the Sheffield defence to score. The score at the final hooter was 70-12; a truly shocking display, which at a critical point of the season was the last thing the Hawks needed. With games against Batley and Halifax coming up the Hawks must try to put this behind them and look to show us some of the early season spirit which saw them gain 4 victories.
See you at The South Leeds Stadium on Sunday for the game against Batley Bulldogs, 3pm kick off