The Rams’ impressive unbeaten streak came to a halt in a closely contested match against Hunslet at the South Leeds Stadium. The defeat was all the more bitter as Doncaster’s unexpected loss to the Midlands Hurricanes on the same day meant that a Rams victory would have secured them the top spot.
Throughout the game, both teams were evenly matched, each scoring three tries, but the in-form Hunslet managed to secure a narrow win. The Rams’ lineup saw the return of Sam Day and a rare start for Jackson Walker, as they aimed to solidify their promotion to the Championship after a hard-fought win against North Wales Crusaders in the previous week.
In the first half, the Rams attacked from left to right in challenging blustery conditions. However, they got off to a nervous start when Hunslet’s determined defence forced them into a loose offload and an early error, which the hosts capitalised on by scoring a try through loanee Johnny Campbell.
Despite their setback, the Rams fought back, and after a series of traded sets and territorial advantage, they managed to score a try through Brad Graham following a well-executed short side play. Paul Sykes’ conversion gave the Rams a 6-4 lead.
The Rams had other opportunities to increase their lead, but a forward pass and an excellent cover tackle denied them on separate occasions. Instead, Hunslet took advantage of a gap in the Rams’ defence, and former Dewsbury half-back Beharrell scored, putting the home side back in the lead just before halftime.
In the second half, the Rams quickly equalised through Bailey O’Connor, but Hunslet once again found a gap in their defence, allowing Josh Jordan-Roberts to score, and Beharrell’s successful conversion extended Hunslet’s lead to 16-10.
The Rams fought back, and Brad Graham managed to score his second try, narrowing the gap to just two points. Despite desperate efforts, the Rams couldn’t find the crucial score to turn the game in their favour, and a series of uncharacteristic errors and sin-binnings in the closing stages dashed their hopes of preserving the unbeaten run.
After the game Rams Head Coach Liam Finn said, “It’s very disappointing for the lads today, for some of the them it was the biggest game that they’ve played in, in terms of consequences so I can forgive them for being nervous.
“Fair play to Hunslet, they defended well and stopped us getting the ball down when we got over the line when we were on top in the game.”
Overall, it was a hard-fought match that ended the Rams’ impressive unbeaten run and allowed Hunslet to emerge victorious in a closely contested encounter.