Hunslet RLFC 36-18 Rochdale Hornets
Jonny Campbell, Hunslet’s on-loan winger from Batley Bulldogs scored a home debut hat trick as the Parksiders made it four league wins in a row and opened a gap between their 4th placed spot and 5th placed Workington Town.
Both sides were rusty in the opening quarter as the ball at times looked like a bar of soap. An un-fielded kick bounced awkwardly giving Hornets a chance to break but Campbell got back easily to make the try saving tackle.
Moments later the visitors were unlucky not to take the lead when a certain try was pulled back for a forward pass, but Hunslet also had early chances when both Steve Crossley and Matty Beharrell went close.
Hunslet grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck in the second quarter though as on 17 minutes both Nathan Conroy and Aaron York combined cleverly to send Conroy over. Beharrell converting to make it 6-0.
It could have been 12-0 moments later as Conroy sliced through the Hornets’ defence only for his ball to Aaron York to not quite stick.
Hunslet now put the pressure on and quick passing sent Campbell over for his first in the left corner, before a busting Harvey Hallas run set up a position for Beharrell to aim a bomb plucked out of the air by Campbell for his second. 16-0
Another try would probably put the game to bed and quick play between Campbell and Josh Jordan-Roberts was unlucky not to send Alfie Goddard in the corner, but more or less on the hooter Josh Jordan-Roberts brushed a defender away like a fly to score with Beharrell adding the extras. 22-0 at the break.
The second half started much the same as the first ended with Hunslet on the front foot. A lovely passing move involving the whole team sent Jonny Campbell over for his hat trick on only the 43rd minute and the Parksiders led 26-0, but with ex-Hunslet coach Gary Thornton and a number of ex-Parksiders in their ranks Rochdale were always going to play for pride in the second half.
On 51 minutes a deft David Hewitt kick sent Luke Forber over and with Hewitt’s conversion Hornets were on the board 26-6.
Moments later hearts were in mouths as Rochdale looked to score from a kick causing confusion in Hunslets defence, but the ball was knocked on and the momentum shifted away from a Rochdale come back.
The game got a little testy as ex-Hunslet man Ethan O’Hanlon and Lewis Wray crossed swords, but on 62 minutes Matty Beharrell sold an outrageous dummy and scampered over under the sticks, adding the conversion to make it 32-6
Beharrell and Joe Burton then combined to send Jack Render over in the corner showing Hunslet are strong on the flanks, but with no conversion it stood at 36-6.
With 15 minutes still to play it looked like the home side would rack up a big score, but possibly wanting to prove a point former Parksider Ethan O’Hanlon showed good strength to notch a try, with Hewitt adding the extras 32-12
The game now got a little stop/start with penalties and comings together. Although Jack Render looked to have scored another the ref brought play back for a forward pass, before virtually on the hooter another ex-Hunslet man Cam Berry pounced on a Lewis Else kick to score, wrapping it up at 36-18.
Coach Alan Kilshaw was pleased with his sides performance in parts, but still believes they have more to come. Certainly next week away at Oldham will be a big tester. But Hunslet are now unbeaten in four games and are beginning to have a settled side.
Jonny Campbell received both sponsors and supporters Player of the Match, but there were also strong performances from Matthew Beharrell, Josh Jordan-Roberts and Harvey Hallas in what was an all-round good team performance.
Hunslet RLFC: Joe Burton, Jack Render, Adam Ryder, Alfie Goddard, Jonny Campbell, Matthew Beharrell, Jake Sweeting, Sam Hallas, Nathan Conroy, Steve Crossley, Josh Jordan-Roberts, Aaron York, Mike Knowles. Interchanges: Danny Barcoe, Harvey Hallas, Jordan Syme, Lewis Wray. 18th player: Morgan Punchard.
Rochdale Hornets: Umyla Hanley, Cian Tyrer, Daniel Brewin, Luke Forber, Daniel Nixon, Lewis Else, David Hewitt, Lewis Peachey, Aiden Roden, Benjamin Killan, Joseph Hird, Ben Forster, Jack Arnold. Interchanges: Aaron Smith, Cameron Berry, Toby Brannan Ethan O’Hanlon. 18th player: Connor Ratcliffe.