Hunslet RLFC 66-0 Drighlington ARLFC
It’s not often in professional sport these days you get a player that sticks with a club for 10 years. If you can get that loyalty it’s a special thing.
Hunslet celebrated one of those players on Saturday (29 April 2023) in full-back Jimmy Watson.
Watson made his debut back in 2013 against Dewsbury after impressing playing for Leeds in the annual Harry Jepson Trophy. He was influential in the 2014 promotion campaign and the season after in the Championship and has been a fan favourite as well as rising to be the clubs second highest try scorer since reformation in 1973.
It’s not all been ups at a club that struggles for big gates and backers, but Watson stuck with his local side when the money offers came in from higher placed clubs and has been rewarded with fan worship and respect from all teammates.
Hunslet having a month long gap in the League 1 season asked National Conference League 3 team Drighlington to fulfil the fixture and they kindly accepted.
Fans arriving could donate on a tombola, raffle, bake sale or maybe get their face painted for the occasion. Hunslet’s foundation members did a crossbar challenge with the kids on the field adding to the party atmosphere.
The game itself gave Alan Kilshaw a chance to give game time to some fringe players and new signings and they didn’t disappoint.
Early on Hunslet were rusty, but on 8 minutes Spencer Darley opened the scoring having shown good strength that will be an asset to the Parksiders.
Harvey Hallas and Jamie Greenwood added tries before the 20 minute mark with York and Beharrell at the hub of most things good.
New loan signing Johnny Campbell from Batley looked impressive scoring on 22 minutes whilst Goddard and Sweeting chalked up scores before the break giving Hunslet a 34-0 lead.
Having unfortunately been involved in an accident at work the man of the day Jimmy Watson couldn’t play. But came on to take the conversions slotting 4 from 5 (Beharrel also kicking one).
Two quick Hunslet tries knocked any stuffing out of Drig (scored by Harvey Hallas and Jordan-Roberts), but to be fair the visitors stuck at it being short of some of their first team regulars.
McGrath and Punchard added scores before Campbell added his second to secure the fans’ Man of the Match (Harry Kidd receiving that accolade for Drighlington).
Watson was now showing off converting from the touchline and a much easier one with his wrong foot.
Brad Wheeler chalked the last try on the hooter and it was 66-0 for the home side, but celebrations continued after as former player Danny Maun spoke well and fans were handed their pre-bought match worn special jerseys.
A raffle raised more funds and the day was rounded off with some karaoke.
Although today was about Jimmy Watson and 10 years of great service, focus now moves back to the League 1 campaign with a tricky trip to Cornwall on 13 May before a run of games starting with Workington Town at home on Sunday 21 May at 3pm) that will determine where Hunslet are at this season.
Hunslet RLFC: Jake Sweeting, Dan McGrath, Alfie Goddard, Sean Croston, Johnny Campbell, Morgan Punchard, Matthew Beharrell, Harvey Hallas, Harvey Whiteley, Jordan Bull, Brad Wheeler, Aaron York, Spencer Darley, Jamie Greenwood, Nathan Newbound, Liam Carr, Jordan Syme, Josh Jordan-Roberts, Jimmy Watson.
Drighlington ARLFC: Owen Lumb, Jordan Walker, Jack Richardson, Chris Aked, Charlie Pennington, Braden Hunter, Ryan Wilks, Ryan Burton, Cain Croft, Harris Brereton, Cameron Leeming, Luke Hudson, Brooke Broughton, Harry Kidd, Sam Markinson.