Hunslet Rugby League Club clinched their second consecutive triumph against one of the sport’s traditional powerhouses, Rochdale Hornets, on Sunday. The convincing 36-18 win followed their narrow 22-18 victory over Workington just a week ago. Although the final score could have been even more lopsided if not for a controversial disallowed try, Hunslet’s performance demonstrated their quality and dominance in Betfred League One.
In the closing stages of the game, Hunslet’s Jack Render had a potential try ruled out due to an obstruction call. Despite this setback, the Parksiders allowed late touchdowns to former Hunslet players Ethan O’Hanlon and Cam Berry. Dave Hewitt, who had previously donned the Hunslet jersey, successfully converted both tries along with Luke Forber’s earlier score on the 53rd minute.
Except for the disappointing finish and an indifferent start where only two of eight sets were completed, Hunslet showcased exceptional football throughout the match. Winger Johny Campbell stole the spotlight, securing a hat-trick of tries as Hunslet surged to a commanding 26-0 lead early in the second half. Hooker Nathan Conroy and second row Josh Jordan-Roberts also contributed tries during the first period. Stand-off Matty Beharrell, who expertly kicked four goals, added to Hunslet’s lead with a crucial try, extinguishing any hopes of a Rochdale comeback. Render’s try, assisted by Adam Ryder’s well-timed pass, further cemented Hunslet’s dominance.
Head coach Alan Kilshaw, pleased with the victory, reported no injuries among his squad. Kilshaw acknowledged the slow start but praised his team’s exceptional performance in building a 22-0 lead by halftime. He noted, “For a 40-minute spell straddling the interval, we were excellent. But the players are very ready to learn lessons and will address the sluggish start, and the indifferent finish, which may well have owed something to us failing to complete our sets in the early stages, which takes a fair bit out of the tank.”
Kilshaw also highlighted the presence of several players who had previously represented Rochdale, suggesting that they may have been motivated to prove themselves against their former club. Furthermore, with the match against Oldham looming, Kilshaw speculated that some of his players might have allowed their thoughts to wander towards the upcoming crucial fixture.
Asserting his impartiality, Kilshaw added, “I treat all opponents exactly the same. I just want to win – and, of course, see the kind of performance that we’ve been working towards in training.” The victory against Rochdale marked another game where Hunslet’s defence held the opposition scoreless for an entire half, demonstrating their formidable strength. Only London Skolars and Workington have breached Hunslet’s defence in both halves throughout the league season.
Interestingly, both Kilshaw and Rochdale Hornets boss Gary Thornton has swapped coaching roles in the past, with Kilshaw having previously led Rochdale and Thornton formerly in charge at Hunslet. Kilshaw’s focus remains solely on victory and a performance that reflects the team’s hard work in training.
Hunslet’s triumph over Rochdale Hornets serves as a testament to their potential for success and their determination to excel in Betfred League One. With their sights set on future challenges, Hunslet aims to build upon their recent victories and continue their upward trajectory in the league standings.