Midlands Hurricanes 22-54 Hunslet RLFC
Hunslet leapfrogged above Doncaster into second place in the Betfred League 1 table after beating Midlands Hurricanes in the first ever professional Rugby League game in the city of Derby.
A dominant second half for the Parksiders and a hat-trick for winger Alfie Goddard secured the win after the Hurricanes (who pushed league leaders Dewsbury all the way last week) proved a tricky opposition in the first 40 minutes.
On a hot day Hunslet were still on the bus when on only the 2nd minute Finlay Beardsworth went over from a clever chip kick after Hunslet had kicked out on the full. 6-0
More Midlands pressure forced a drop out and on only the 5th minute Midlands took a shock 12-0 lead when Brad Clavering scored from close in and Jacob Hookem converted.
It could have been sticky for the Parksiders, but when they finally got a bit of possession Harvey Hallas made good yards up the field before Jordan Syme nipped over for a try from close range (Beharrell converting) to reduce it to 12-6.
Now Hunslet started to get on top and both Maizen and Goddard had chances to score, but either Midlands defended well or the pass didn’t stick. Hurricanes did come close to an intercept and had a try disallowed for a forward pass, but with Beharrell kicking well and Lawford finding holes in the home defence it was Hunslet who were next to score.
Harvey Hallas had been held up, but on 31 minutes a Myles Lawford kick was palmed back by Jack Render for Adam Ryder to score. 12-12
Just when it seemed Hunslet were on top a bit of Midlands possession resulted in a soft try as Chris Cullimore went over from close range. That could have been it for the half but Matty Beharrell sent Jake Maizen through a gap who fed Alfie Goddard for a long range try right on the hooter. 18-18 at the break.
It’s fair to say Hunslet have been better in the second half this year and this game was no different. Only 1 minute in and after a set restart Olly Burton muscled his way over. 18-24
After a long stoppage in play for an injury to a Midlands player Hunslet took control of the game when Aaron York broke in midfield. He fed Myles Lawford who wriggled out of tackles and sent Lewis Wray over under the posts. 18-30
Matthew Beharrell and Myles Lawford were in imperious form and Beharrell was converting every try.
Although Midlands were unfortunate with the bounce of the ball from a dangerous kick, Hunslet kept their foot on the gas. Marcus Green powered upfield and Jack Render was unlucky from a kick and chase, but on 50 minutes the game was put to bed when Alfie Goddard spotted a loose pass, intercepted and went 50 yards to score. 18-36
Myles Lawford seemed to be on another level pace-wise and any gap in the Hurricanes defence was exploited. After one break on 53 minutes he juggled the ball before sending Adam Ryder in to score. 18-42
Another Lawford break put Aaron York over after York and Render had come close moments before. 18-48 on the hour and Hunslet were racking up the points.
It’s a mark of this team that even when the game is won the defence does not want to concede and both Jack Render and Steve Crossley put their bodies on the line to stop Hurricanes scoring.
Eventually though the home side did register another try through former Hunslet man Macauley Hallett, and it was no more than they probably deserved. 22-48
The game became a bit fractious when Beharrell and Hookem were sin-binned for fighting and both teams conceded penalties, but on 77 minutes Alfie Goddard completed a hat-trick when after good passing Jake Maizen broke through and fed his wing man for an excellent try.
With Beharrell off the field Myles Lawford added the extras, 22-54, before scuffing a penalty on the hooter after Midlands had a man sent off for punching.
Other than the first 5 minutes Coach Alan Kilshaw will not have much to complain about. Key players Jimmy Watson and Michael Knowles were rested and Hunslet won the match without really hitting top gear.
Myles Lawford and Matty Beharrell were excellent at half back, whilst Lewis Wray and Alfie Goddard had great matches too.
Hunslet play Oldham next Sunday (16 July), 3pm at the South Leeds Stadium in a game in which they could gain revenge for their earlier defeat.
Hunslet RLFC: Joe Burton, Jack Render, Adam Ryder, Jake Maizen, Alfie Goddard, Matty Beharrell, Myles Lawford, Harvey Hallas, Sam Hallas, Steve Crossley, Josh Jordan-Roberts, Aaron York, Jordan Syme, Ollie Burton, Lewis Wray, Marcus Green, Brad Wheeler, Spencer Darley.
Midlands Hurricanes: Todd Horner, Hayden Freeman, Matt Welham, Macauley Hallett, Ryan Johnson, Izaac Farrell, Jacob Hookem, Tobias Richardson, Chris Cullimore, Brad Clavering, Liam Welham, Finley Beardsworth, Aaron Willis, Elliot Windley, Sam Bowring, Kieran Moran, Ellis Hobson, Tom Wilkinson.