Hunslet RLFC 16-14 Dewsbury Rams
In the game of the Betfred League 1 heavyweights, Hunslet came out victors against unbeaten League leaders Dewsbury Rams to cement their second place position at the South Leeds Stadium.
The Parksiders mean defence was solid against a Dewsbury side that have been faultless all season. In a fraught last few minutes Hunslet held on with stand-off Matty Beharrell (a new father this week) at the forefront of everything good about the Parksiders.
A crowd of 1,064 saw Dewsbury fumble the ball from the kick-off and on only 2 minutes quick hands sent (on loan from Batley) winger Johnny Campbell over in the corner. 4-0 and a great start.
It was then Hunslet’s turn to fumble the re-start inviting pressure on their own line. Although Dewsbury looked to have scored the ref pulled the move back for a forward pass.
Both Hunslet wingers were under pressure from kicks and with Dewsbury keeping the pressure on it took good line defence to hold the Rams up on a number of occasions.
On 20 minutes Hunslet had a chance to extend the lead when Campbell took a kick and fed Michaal Knowles, but the former Dewsbury man couldn’t hang on to the pass.
Reiss Butterworth had proved a handful for the visitors and as the Rams found a gap in the Parksiders defence it was left to Campbell to chase back. The tackle was deemed high and after more pressure Bradley Graham eventually found his way over. Paul Sykes converting, 4-6 on 21 minutes.
Now Dewsbury upped the pressure, but the final pass was either forward or Hunslet held the man over the line. On 36 minutes the Rams found a gap on Hunslet’s left but young half-back Myles Lawford pulled off a brilliant cover tackle. Moments later after Hunslet were awarded a penalty Beharrell found space to step through the defence to score a fine solo try, converting his own effort to give the Parksiders a 10-6 lead.
Another re-start fumble meant a nervous last few minutes as Dewsbury were held up twice over the line, but on the hooter it was Hunslet that led 10-6.
The Rams came out in the second period with more purpose and on 45 minutes managed to get level after Bailey O’Connor scored in the corner despite an excellent Lewis Wray tackle the play before. 10-10
Hunslet couldn’t seem to clear their lines, but eventually the ref awarded them a penalty after Dewsbury attempted a ball steal on Adam Ryder.
Matty Beharrell again was a handful for the Rams defence, and this allowed Josh Jordan-Roberts to find a gap and power over on 55 minutes celebrating with his delighted team mates. 16-10
There was nothing between the teams and tiredness started to creep in, but Hunslets defence worked and worked all afternoon. Butterworth forced a drop-out from a clever kick. Then on 62 minutes Brad Graham leapt high to pluck the ball from the sky to score. But crucially Paul Sykes missed the conversion leaving Hunslet still in front 16-14.
Now Hunslet tried to kill the game off and Johnny Campbell went close twice from moves instigated by Matty Beharrell. Myles Lawford was unlucky from a kick and Jimmy Watson was only stopped from scoring by the scruff of his shirt.
But Dewsbury weren’t done and when Myles Lawford was sin-binned it looked like the man advantage might tip the scales towards the Rams. A good kick caused havoc in the Hunslet defence but the ball touched down by Butterworth was on the dead ball line and the home fans could breathe again.
Dewsbury had Owen Restall sin-binned to level it up, but when Adam Ryder was tackled into touch the Rams could put on yet more pressure. Josh Jordan-Roberts got out of the line quickly to make a fantastic tackle and with the ball loose picked up and sprinted up field. As he was tackled the hooter went and the home faithful could celebrate a famous victory.
Coach Alan Kilshaw payed tribute to his side’s scrambling defence, and although some of the game plan went awry the team work for each other and are always confident in their abilities.
Beharrell was superb at stand-off, whilst Adam Ryder, Lewis Wray and Josh Jordan-Roberts all had stand out games. Hunslet have three league games to play before the play-offs starting at Rochdale Hornets next Sunday (6 August) that is of course if Dewsbury don’t lose all their remaining matches handing the Parksiders the League title.
Hunslet RLFC: Jimmy Watson, Jack Render, Adam Ryder, Joe Burton, Johnny Campbell, Matthew Beharrell, Myles Lawford, Harvey Hallas, Sam Hallas, Steve Crossley, Josh Jordan-Roberts, Aaron York, Michael Knowles. Interchange: Jordan Syme, Lewis Wray, Marcus Green, Ollie Burton. 18th Player: Fraser Stroud.
Dewsbury Rams: Owen Restall, Lewis Carr, Bailey O’Connor, Oliver Greensmith, Perry Whiteley, Paul Sykes, Calum Turner, James Beckett, Reiss Butterworth, Jackson Walker, Matthew Garside, Brad Graham, Connor Davies. Interchange: Samuel Day, Ronan Dixon, Elliot Morris, William Maher. 18th Player: Louie Collinson.
Main Photo: ‘He’s the daddy’ new father and Man of the Match, Matty Beharrell. Credit: Paul Whitehurst