It turned out to be a real ‘Good Friday’ for Hunslet, when they visited the York City Knights on a glorious spring bank holiday. After last weeks good display, the Hawks fans were hoping for a second successive victory against a side who thought they had beaten the Hawks at the South Leeds Stadium, until Danny Ratcliffe saved the day with a last minute penalty in the opening league fixture.
Both teams looked evenly matched during their first sets with the Hunslet defence standing firm and completing each set in attack. Unfortunately a fumbled high ball gifted York a first try of the game from Hardcastle, who picked up the loose ball and dived under Barnett’s attempted tackle. With Chris Thorman adding the two the score was 6-0 to the Knights. Hunslet were not phased by this and were soon looking like the team of last week with some excellent ball play; they looked like a team brimming with confidence. The confidence in the team was evident none more so than in Ritchie Barnett, whose error had led to York’s first try, when he made amends for this when he latched on to a Danny Ratcliffe chip and crossed the line unopposed. When Elliot Kear added the two, Hunslet were on level terms. Hunslet were by now dictating the pace of the game with both backs and forwards making ground with every play of the ball. Adam Sullivan was a giant for Hunslet with the Knights defence struggling to control his strong and direct running style and with all the forwards giving 100%, it was going to be a bruising day for the York defence. On 25 minutes Waine Pryce picked up a loose ball 10 metres from the York line and fed a rampaging Tommy Haughey a lovely pass; Tommy blasted through the Knights defensive line to put Hunslet in front for the first time in the game. Again Kear put the ball between the sticks to put Hunslet 12-6 up. By this time the Hawks were in complete control of the game dictating the pace, despite York’s attempts to slow the game down. 13 minutes later Neil Lowe had got the Hawks within metres of the knights line and a quick play of the ball saw Luke Haigh slip a pass to a waiting Danny Grimshaw who sliced the York defence in two with an angled run to touch down and increase Hunslets lead to 16-6..With Elliot Kear on top form with the kicking tee, Hawks were 18-6 up and only the hooter saved the Knights from falling further behind.
Hunslet’s travelling support who were in great voice throughout the game and they got exactly what they wanted in the second half with the Hawks putting on a tremendous display full of skill and power and over running a York side who were really out of the game by the time the ever reliable Waine Pryce picked up a York fumble and forced his way over the line 8 minutes into the half. Another fabulous kick from Kear increased Hunslet’s lead to 24-6. The Hawks two flying wingers added another try a piece over the next ten minutes with Barnett crossing first after some brilliant passing through the Hunslet back line and Pryce latching onto a long pass. The Barnett try was converted but the Waine try narrowly missed after Kear hit the post, meaning that Hunslet were now 34-6 in front. A rare York foray on 70 minutes ended in a converted try by stand-off Chris Thorman, but this was a mere consolation for the Knights who were being totally out classed by the Hawks players, who at this point were clearly enjoying themselves and playing their best football of the season. 4 minutes after the York try Elliot Kear finished off a move which saw the Hunslet attack playing some brilliant offload rugby, Kear converted his own try and Hunslet had amassed 40 points. With the match barely restarted Hunslet regained the ball and waere soon at the York line with their defence wilting due to the amount of tackles they had had to make on such scorching hot day. Big Andy Yates took full advantage and crashed through the defence to score his second of the season, again converted by Kear. The away supporters were rewarded for their non stop singing and encouragement when Kear slipped untouched through the York defence to round off a top class display by all the Hawks and give Hunslet their first 50 pointer of the season.
Even given York’s lowly league position this was an impressive display with the Hawks improving in every department, especially their discipline with barely a penalty given away during the entire game and with no match on Easter Monday the lads should be well rested for the visit of Featherstone Rovers next Sunday at the South Leeds Stadium. Well done to all the boys today for a real team effort.
After the match, coach Paul March shared his thoughts about the game. Asked what it was like sitting on the sidelines rather than playing, Paul said, “I feel much more nervous that when I am on the pitch, but the performance this afternoon was really good. We never looked in danger of losing.” When asked about the preformance of the half backs, Paul admiited that he may have a problem getting back into the side, “But that is a pretty good problem to have. We have got Easter Monday off and so we will be able to prepare well for the Featherstone match at the South Leeds Stadium.”
See you Sunday for a 3pm kick off back at base.