Hunslet 52 Cornwalll RLFC 16 – Match Report
May 9, 2022
Cornwall failed to build on a positive opening 40 minutes as Hunslet scored five times in the second half to overcome Neil Kelly’s spirited Choughs.
With Cornwall very much in the game at the turnaround thanks to tries from Liam Whitton and Harry Aaronson – both converted by Joe Purcell – as Hunslet led 22-12, the Parksiders upped the ante once the second stanza began with their charge led by veteran winger Wayne Rettie and enigmatic full-back Jimmy Watson.
Cornwall came into the match on the back of a 50-0 home reverse at the hands of Rochdale Hornets in round six while Hunslet edged out Midlands Hurricanes 22-16 at Portway.
Still searching for their first win of 2022, Cornwall handed a first start to new signing Will Odgers but this news was tempered by Sam Snell breaking down in the warm-up. He was replaced in the starting 13 by Josh Hartshorne with James Collings stepping onto the interchange bench.
After an even start to the game, Cornwall fell behind just six minutes in and this started a recurring theme during the opening stanza of Hunslet scoring in fortunate circumstances.
Chancing their arm on the last tackle, a deft grubber hit the base of the post and fell nicely for Watson to touch down. Joe Sanderson converted and Hunslet were up and running.
Fielding the Cornish restart, Hunslet looked set to score again before a last ditch Liam Whitton tackle somehow denied the hosts. From the next play, Andy Kay was sent to the sin-bin for a professional foul and the Choughs were forced to play a man light for the next 10 minutes.
With a numerical advantage, Hunslet hammered away at the Cornwall line but the visitors stood firm and won a penalty with the Parksiders not retreating back the desired 10 metres.
Joe Purcell found touch inside the Hunslet half and with the visiting forwards carrying strongly, Cornwall made their way to the line before Louis Collinson was eventually held up and couldn’t quite ground the ball.
The next chance of the game also fell the way of Cornwall as Joe Gibbons and Mackenzie Turner created a good overlap to expose Hunslet’s right edge but the final pass went to ground.
To compound Cornish woes, Hunslet went straight back up the other end and once more a last play saw the ball loose. It was eventually picked up by prop Harvey Hallas who somehow managed to twist his way over the line.
But back to a full complement, the Choughs came storming back into the reckoning when Oli Field dabbed in behind and Whitton did the rest for his third try of the season. Purcell added the extra two points on offer and Cornwall had halved the arrears.
Hunslet came back at Cornwall hard after the visitors had opened their account and registered a third try after 24 minutes. It was another score that came on the back of a fifth tackle kick as Hunslet picked up the scraps and Jordan Paga did the rest.
But once more Cornwall failed to roll over as the Choughs’ short kicking game on the last tackle came to the fore. It was Purcell this time with the deft touch into the Hunslet in-goal area and Aaronson was the grateful recipient who finished brilliantly. The extras were added by Purcell to leave the match delicately balanced at 18-12.
Sadly for the Choughs, though, they then shipped consecutive penalties which gave Hunslet field position near the visiting line. The second of which saw Sanderson kick deep into Cornwall territory. A powerful carry from Rettie on the first tackle after the restart then resulted in a fourth home score. Sanderson failed to add a further two points but Hunslet had struck a huge psychological blow by scoring so near to the half-time hooter.
And that home momentum came to the fore within the first 10 minutes of the second stanza. Kieran Moran seized on the scraps to score before Rettie grabbed his second of the afternoon out wide.
Cornwall did well to regroup at this point as Hunslet really had the bit between their collective teeth and the men in black and gold were then on the wrong end of a 50/50 call from the referee. Field’s spiralling bomb saw Odgers challenge Watson and when the ball came loose, Turner scooped it up to touchdown. However, merry whistle blower Michale Rossleigh ruled that Watson had been challenged unfairly in the air and the try was chalked off.
On the hour mark, Cornwall did get a third score when a quick play-the-ball from Jake Lloyd was met by Jamie Prisk and the Choughs’ skipper did the rest. Purcell was unable to add the extras.
It gave Cornwall a glimmer of hope that a strong final 20 minutes could make Hunslet sweat but Alan Kilshaw’s side had other ideas. Firstly a break straight down the middle resulted in a second Paga try before Cornwall spilt a high ball and from the resulting scrum, Jacob Doyle crossed the whitewash.
The hosts then raised themselves over the 50-point mark nine minutes from time thanks to Watson’s second of the afternoon and Sanderson kicked his eighth goal from nine attempts.
Hunslet: Watson, Rettie, Doyle, Mossop, Render, Paga, Sanderson, Hallas, Whiteley, Staraugheir, Jordan-Roberts, Oakley, Syme. Interchange (all used): Burton, Okoro Aroh, Moran, Moore.
Tries: Watson (2), Paga (2), Rettie (2), Hallas, Moran, Doyle. Goals: Sanderson 8/9
Cornwall: Whitton, Aaronson, Kay, Gibbons, Turner, Field, Purcell, Mullally, Lloyd, Hird, Snell, Odgers, Collinson. Interchange (all used): Trerise, Bolger, Hartshorne, Prisk.
Tries: Whitton, Aaronson, Prisk. Goals: Purcell: 2/3
Referee: Matthew Rossleigh; Touch-judges: Andy Sweet and Thomas Gibbs; Reserve referee: Douglas Martin