Cornwall RLFC 24 Hunslet 36 – Match Report
July 3, 2022
Macauley Hallett bagged a fine treble for Hunslet who avoided an early fright to see off ever-improving Cornwall.
The Choughs, after a maiden professional triumph last time out, started superbly and after 25 minutes of a keenly contested affair, were 12-0 ahead.
However, Hunslet hit back and scored three tries before the half-time siren to turn the match on its head.
Given the momentum shift towards the away side, it was something of a surprise to the crowd of 948 inside the Mem that Cornwall drew first blood after the restart.
That was as good as it got for Neil Kelly’s men until the closing stages as Hunslet took control to double their try tally with Hallett duly completing his hat-trick.
But a mark of Cornwall’s progress in such a short space was aptly demonstrated in the dying embers. The hosts finished the stronger of the two side’s and Harry Aaronson intercepted to race fully 80 metres to score under the posts.
Aaronson started the game at stand-off due to the unavailability of Nathan Conroy. This saw Christopher Chard return to the starting line-up in Cornwall’s only change to the back division that started against West Wales Raiders seven days previously.
Up front, Sam Gilder kept his place at hooker to start at home for the first time in 2022. Elsewhere, Sam Snell was in from the off after last being named in the starting 13 at Doncaster on Easter Saturday.
Cornishman Snell, one of six to make the Choughs’ matchday 17, has been hampered by injury so far this term and he was partnered in the back-row by Charley Bodman – facing his former club.
At the base of the scrum, skipper Jamie Prisk was in from the off in place of Louis Collinson who was ruled out of the game after picking up a knock against West Wales.
And on the interchange bench, the Choughs’ latest recruit Brad Howe was named after his recent code switch from rugby union.
Despite Cornwall’s early dominance on the scoreboard, it was Hunslet who started the match on the front foot. The Parksiders enjoyed three repeat sets on the hosts’ line but could not find a way through.
And after weathering the early storm, Cornwall opened the scoring. A long kick wasn’t dealt with by the Hunslet and Aaronson was the first to the ball. He kicked forward and managed to gather in Hunslet’s red-zone.
Christopher Chard was the man in at dummy-half and the winger passed to Aaron Jones-Bishop who finished under the posts against his former employers. Joe Purcell kicked the extras and Cornwall were up and running.
It got even better for the men in black and gold just before the 20 minute mark when Tom Ashton marked his home debut with a try. The former Rochdale man crashed through two would-be Hunslet defenders to dot down. Jamie Prisk took over the kicking duties and duly obliged.
Cornwall were rampant at this point with Hunslet shell-shocked and struggling to get out of their own half. Brilliant home defence resulted in Wayne Rettie coughing the ball up on halfway and Cornwall swept forward hunting a third try.
Ashton fed winger Decarlo Trerise with Hunslet stretched but he decided to go outside opposed to cutting in field and was subsequently bundled into touch.
That was one of two pivotal first half moments which swung the game in Hunslet’s favour. With the ball back in their hands and in the space of three minutes, Hallett had powered his way over for a brace of tries – both converted by Pat Walker.
Then, with the clock ticking towards the 40 minute mark, Cornwall turned the ball over in their own half and Harvey Hallas profited shortly after to score.
Playing down the slope in the second half, Cornwall levelled the game back up just after the restart through Liam Whitton’s close-range finish and Purcell converted.
Hunslet found another gear though as Hallett bagged another before Josh Jordan-Roberts twisted to somehow score. Jack Render then put Hunslet three scores in front with a run in out wide and during the celebrations, Whitton was mysteriously sent to the sin-bin by rookie whistle blower Ryan Cox.
Only two last ditch tackles from Purcell and one from Aaronson prevented Hunslet adding further points with Cornwall a man down. But when back to a full complement, the Choughs dug in to stem the Hunslet tide and Aarsonon’s searing pace completed the scoring.
Cornwall: Whitton, Trerise, Jones-Bishop, Ashton, Chard, Aaronson, Purcell, Hartshorne, Gilder, Ray, Bodman, Snell, Prisk. Interchange: (all used) Bolger, Howe, Odgers, Tora.
Tries: Jones-Bishop, Ashton, Whitton, Aaronson. Goals: Purcell 3/3, Prisk 1/1. Sin bin: Whitton
Hunslet: Watson, Rettie, Doyle, Hallett, Render, Walker, Paga, Hallas, Burton, Jones, Jordan-Roberts, Syme, Summers. Interchange: (all used) Whiteley, Hird, Stableford, Berry.
Tries: Hallett (3), Hallas, Jordan-Roberts, Render. Goals: Walker 6/6
Referee: Ryan Cox; Touch judges: Freddie Lincoln, Kevin Lewis; Reserve referee: Kristoff Young