Hunslet took a leap forward in the Betfred League 1 standings, surpassing Doncaster to claim the second spot. They achieved this feat by defeating the Midlands Hurricanes in the inaugural professional Rugby League match held in Derby.
The Parksiders displayed dominance in the second half, and winger Alfie Goddard’s impressive hat-trick sealed the victory. However, the Hurricanes, who gave league leaders Dewsbury a run for their money last week, proved to be a challenging opponent during the first 40 minutes of the game.
Under scorching weather conditions, Hunslet faced an early setback when Finlay Beardsworth scored a clever chip kick try for the Midlands Hurricanes in just the second minute. This pushed the score to 6-0 in favour of the Hurricanes.
The Midlands team extended their lead to 12-0 on the fifth minute when Brad Clavering scored from close range, followed by a successful conversion by Jacob Hookem. It appeared to be a sticky situation for the Parksiders, but they managed to regain their composure. Harvey Hallas made significant progress up the field, allowing Jordan Syme to score a try from close range. The conversion by Beharrell reduced the deficit to 12-6.
Hunslet gradually gained control of the game, with both Maizen and Goddard having opportunities to score. However, the Midlands’ strong defence and a few missed passes prevented them from capitalizing on those chances. The Hurricanes came close to intercepting the ball and even had a disallowed try due to a forward pass. Nevertheless, with Beharrell’s accurate kicks and Lawford finding gaps in the home defence, it was Hunslet who eventually scored.
Despite Harvey Hallas being held up, Hunslet found success when Myles Lawford’s kick was palmed back by Jack Render, allowing Adam Ryder to score a try in the 31st minute. The scoreboard now read 12-12.
Just when it seemed Hunslet were gaining the upper hand, a period of Midlands possession resulted in a soft try by Chris Cullimore from close range. However, before the halftime whistle, Matty Beharrell set up Jake Maizen with a gap, who in turn fed Alfie Goddard for a long-range try. The teams went into the break with the score level at 18-18.
Hunslet’s superior performance in the second half, a trend they have demonstrated throughout the season, continued in this game. Only one minute into the half, Olly Burton powered his way over the try line after a set restart, pushing Hunslet’s lead to 18-24.
Following a lengthy pause in play due to an injury to a Midlands player, Hunslet seized control of the game when Aaron York broke through the midfield. He then passed to Myles Lawford, who evaded several tackles and set up Lewis Wray for a try under the posts, extending Hunslet’s advantage to 18-30.
Both Matthew Beharrell and Myles Lawford displayed outstanding form, with Beharrell successfully converting every try. While the Midlands team suffered from unfortunate bounces of the ball resulting from dangerous kicks, Hunslet continued to push forward. Marcus Green made a powerful run upfield, and Jack Render was unlucky in a kick-and-chase situation. However, in the 50th minute, Alfie Goddard intercepted a loose pass, covering 50 yards to score a try and put the game out of reach for the Hurricanes. The score now stood at 18-36.
Myles Lawford showcased exceptional speed, exploiting any gaps in the Hurricanes’ defence. After one break on the 53rd minute, he juggled the ball before setting up Adam Ryder for another try, extending Hunslet’s lead to 18-42.
Another impressive break by Lawford led to Aaron York’s try, following close attempts by York and Render. With the score at 18-48 by the hour mark, Hunslet continued to accumulate points.
Even with the game already won, Hunslet’s defence remained resolute, as both Jack Render and Steve Crossley put their bodies on the line to prevent the Hurricanes from scoring. However, the home team eventually registered another try through former Hunslet player Macauley Hallett. This score, bringing the tally to 22-48, was a deserved consolation for the Midlands team.
The game became somewhat heated when Beharrell and Hookem were sin-binned for fighting, leading to penalties for both teams. However, in the 77th minute, Alfie Goddard completed his hat-trick. Following excellent passing, Jake Maizen broke through the defence and set up Goddard for an exceptional try.
With Beharrell temporarily off the field, Myles Lawford successfully added the extra points, making the score 22-54. Lawford’s performance took a slight dip when he scuffed a penalty kick on the hooter after a Midlands player was sent off for punching.
Apart from the first five minutes, Coach Alan Kilshaw had little to complain about. Key players Jimmy Watson and Michael Knowles were rested, yet Hunslet managed to secure a victory without hitting top gear.
Myles Lawford and Matty Beharrell were excellent at the half-back positions, while Lewis Wray and Alfie Goddard had outstanding performances as well.