Hunslet RLFC 22-18 Workington Town
Hunslet’s Man of the Match Steve Crossley put it best when he said Hunslet “won ugly” against former Championship side Workington Town in the sun at the South Leeds Stadium.
It was a real nail biter and had Workington’s Sean Sabutey grounded the ball correctly in the final moments the Cumbrians may have taken the win and broken Hunslet hearts.
As it was the Parksiders took the spoils after an out of sorts performance, but one which contained grit and determination.
It was a perfect start for the Parksiders when, in the first minute, Workington spilt a Michael Knowles kick and Sean Croston cleared up to score a simple try. Beharrell converted and Hunslet were 6-0 up.
Town were still on the bus as Sam Hallas went close, but was foiled by the uprights. Then on 6 minutes another Workington mistake enabled Steve Crossley to score from close in. 12-0 and all well for the home side.
Workington had yet to gain possession, but when they did on the 9th minute Ciaran Walker found it all too easy to dance past the Hunslet defenders to score. Five minutes later Town struck again as good passing sent Sean Sabutey in the corner. 12-10, were we in for a high scoring match?
The answer was no, as the early flurry of points passed we settled into an arm wrestle between the two evenly matched sides. Although a Town kick caused havoc in the Hunslet defence and Michael Knowles forced a drop-out the next points were from the boot of Ciaran Walker who squared us up at 12-12.
Hunslet ended the half strongly though and although Josh Jordan-Roberts had a try ruled out a superb Matty Beharrell pass sent Steve Crossley strolling under the sticks for his second of the afternoon. 18-12 at the break.
As the second half got underway it became apparent the next try would be crucial. Adam Ryder went close in the corner and then looked to throw a ball out near the line only for Sabutey to intercept and send Hunslet scrambling.
The game went back and forth, but on the hour Adam Ryder looked a sure scorer before a high tackle halted him in his progress. Beharrell added the 2 points and Hunslet’s lead stretched to 20-12.
Although Workington were reduced to 12 men when Joseph Kirkup was sin-binned they defended well and halted Ryder and Crossley on their way to certain tries.
Joe Burton (playing at full-back) had to make a try saving tackle as Workington sensed something in the game for them, and eventually the excellent Ciaran Walker made a break and set up Sean Sabutey who dived spectacularly in the corner. Walker converted and it was game on 20-18.
A knock-on from the kick off gave Hunslet an unexpected boost and a tip tackle on Josh Jordan-Roberts gave Matty Beharrell a chance to extend the lead to 22-18.
Town kicked out on the full and Hunslet had a chance to put the game to bed. Harvey Hallas went close but with 7 added minutes there was a final twist in the tail.
Workington broke and two try Sean Sabutey looked all on to put us all square with a kick to come, but the winger did a theatrical dive and lost the ball in the act of scoring, giving Hunslet chance to run the clock down and grind out the win.
A lot of the game was not pretty for Hunslet coach Alan Kilshaw as he thought his team should have wrapped the game up earlier, but it’s a W in the results column and with Rochdale visiting next week a good chance to start to mount a charge to the top of the table.
Crossley, Ryder and Knowles were excellent, with Beharrell’s skill behind most good things Hunslet did.
Hunslet RLFC: Joe Burton, Jack Render, Adam Ryder, Sean Croston, Alfie Goddard, Mike Knowles, Matthew Beharrell, Harvey Hallas, Nathan Conroy, Steve Crossley, Josh Jordan-Roberts, Jordan Syme, Sam Hallas. Interchanges: Danny Barcoe, Nathan Newbound, Lewis Wray, Jake Sweeting. 18th player: Brad Wheeler.
Workington Town: Jordan Burns, Ethan Bickerdyke, Jason Mossop, Earl Hurst, Sean Sabutey, Ciaran Walker, Jack Mallinson, Steve Scholey, Matthew Henson, joseph kirkup, Caine Barnes, Malik Steele, Hanley Dawson. Interchanges: Fergus SimpsonGrant Reid, Luke Charlton, Jj Key. 18th player: Liam McNicholas.
Photos courtesy of Paul Whitehurst