Hunslet RLFC 36-6 Cornwall RLFC
Testimonial man Jimmy Watson returned from a finger injury to inspire Hunslet to a 36-6 victory in a scrappy game at the South Leeds Stadium against a spirited Cornish outfit.
The popular full-back was making his 200th career appearance and rounded it off nicely with a try, but it wasn’t vintage Hunslet and Coach Alan Kilshaw knows that in tougher games the Parksiders will have to be more clinical if they hope to gain promotion to the Championship.
Hunslet got off to a good start when Myles Lawford (on loan from Bradford Bulls) sent Adam Ryder over for the opening try. Matthew Beharrell converted and it was 6-0 in only the third minute.
Hunslet could have stretched the lead but silly passes went to ground allowing Cornwall field position from which David Weetman took a nice pass to score in the eighth minute, and with Cameron Brown’s conversion we were tied up at 6-6.
The game was very niggly with flare-ups at regular intervals, and this meant neither team could get into a rhythm, coughing the ball up often on the first tackle.
Eventually in the 29th minute Hunslet took the lead when Jimmy Watson set up Joe Burton who’s quick stepping eluded the Choughs’ defence, and with a successful conversion Hunslet led 12-6.
Hunslet couldn’t get going, but to be fair to the visitors their defence was good. A four man tackle shoved Joe Burton into touch, and the Parksiders had to work to break down the dogged Choughs line.
It took a superb slip pass from Aaron York to put Myles Lawford through, and the scrum half showed a clean pair of heels to go 50 yards to score. 18-6 and Hunslet were on the front foot.
Although Liam Whitton was sin-binned for Cornwall, the visitors held strong as Sam Hallas agonisingly lost control as he tried to place the ball down to score. 18-6 at the break.
Hunslet kicked off the second period and immediately forced a drop-out, Cornwall failing to stop the ball going dead. A couple of tackles later and the always hard working Josh Jordan-Roberts stretched over to score. Beharrell’s conversion made it 24-6 and virtually took the sting out of any Cornwall fight back.
It might have been time for Hunslet to pile on the points, but the first rain in a long time made the ball slippy and countless passes went to ground. Olly Burton (on loan from Batley) put in an attacking kick but it was too strong, and Hunslet’s scrum shoved back Cornwall only for Steve Crossley to lose control at the vital moment.
The next try came on 65 minutes as Myles Lawford put in a tidy grubber kick and with some luck and dribbling skills went over to score. Beharrell converting. 30-6
Jordan-Roberts and Lawford again went close before, after Cornwall had spilled the ball, Jimmy Watson scooped the spill up and weaved through the defence for a popular try. 36-6.
Very rarely did Cornwall get into Hunslet’s 25 in the second half, but late on they looked for a consolation try. The Parksiders’ defended well but looked to have been breached on the final hooter only for the ref to disallow the try for pulling at the ruck.
So Hunslet take the points in what was not a memorable match. But having had no game last week the stop/start nature does the team no good. Harvey Hallas received the sponsors’ Player of the Match and Jimmy Watson the supporters’. But there were also good performances from Myles Lawford, Joe Burton and Marcus Green (on debut).
Hunslet play at North Wales Crusaders next week in what will be a tough away fixture and are back at South Leeds Stadium on 2 July facing second placed Doncaster.
Hunslet RLFC: Jimmy Watson, Jack Render, Adam Ryder, Joe Burton, Alfie Goddard, Myles Lawford, Matthew Beharrell, Harvey Hallas, Nathan Conroy, Steve Crossley, Josh Jordan-Roberts, Aaron York, Sam Hallas. Interchanges: Ollie Burton, Jordan Syme, Lewis Wray, Marcus Green. 18th player: Brad Wheeler.
Cornwall RLFC: Liam Whitton, Errol Carter, Nathan Cullen, Tom Ashton, Harry Aaronson, Cameron Brown, Adam Rusling, Harry Boots, Luke Collins, Josh Hartshorne, David Weetman, Kaine Demech, Ewan Badham. Interchanges: Jaden Barraclough, Ieuan Badham, Decarlo Trerise, Tyler Walton. 18th player: Paul Bolger.
Main photo: 200 appearance Watson celebrates his try (Paul Whitehurst)