Hunslet once again put on a late show at North Wales Crusaders as the club’s first home match at Stadiwm ZipWorld in Colwyn Bay ended in defeat.
Over the last couple of years, clashes between Crusaders and Hunslet have always been close, but big plays from Hunslet in the closing stages have usually tended to be the main difference.
That proved to be the case at Stadiwm ZipWorld as Dom Brambani kicked a penalty late on, nudging Hunslet 20-18 ahead, before Simon Brown’s 40-20 set up the field position for the winning try.
Hunslet took the lead early on when they shifted the ball to the left flank and Tom Ashton had the strength to knock off a couple of attempted tackles on his way to the line.
However, the response from Crusaders was positive and they drew level through Cam Brown, who somehow managed to get on the end of Brad Billsborough’s grubber kick to touch down.
It didn’t take long for North Wales to gain the lead as George Roby popped a short ball to Alex Eckley for the loose forward to crash over.
Once again, though, the ascendency changed hands and the visitors equalised when Welsh international Sion Jones barged his way over next to the sticks.
With half-time approaching, Hunslet made sure they went into the break ahead as Kiedan Hartley profited from a nice offload down the right to dot the ball down.
You sensed that, if Crusaders wanted to get back in the game, an early score would be important and it proved to be the case.
After Hunslet came up with an error near halfway, Gav Rodden collected the ball and had the pace to break away, finishing underneath the posts.
At 18-18 with both sides struggling to break each other down, you knew pieces of individual quality were going to play a big part in the result.
After Brown kicked a penalty 20 metres out, nudging Hunslet 20-18 ahead, he landed an outstanding 40-20 to put his side in good field position near Crusaders’ line.
The visitors took full advantage as Brambani put Hartley through the line down the line for his second.
Both sides finished the match with 12 men as the contest became a little heated, with Hartley sin-binned for a shoulder charge and George Roby sent off for a swinging arm.
Rob Massam also thought he’d crossed in the left corner to set up a grandstand finish, but he was adjudged to have put a foot in touch in the process and Hunslet held on for the win.
1 Jack Holmes
15 Pat Ah Van
3 Cam Brown
4 Earl Hurst
5 Rob Massam
6 Brad Billsborough
7 Jordy Gibson
8 Chris Barratt
9 Karl Ashall
10 Warren Thompson
11 Gav Rodden
13 Jono Smith
12 Alex Eckley
Subs (all used)
14 George Roby
17 Callum Hazzard
16 Brad Brennan
18 Jack Cottington
Tries: Brown (10), Eckley (21), Rodden (47)
Goals: Billsborough 3/3
Red card: Roby (77) – swinging arm
2 Kiedan Hartley
25 Wayne Reittie
24 George Senior
4 Tom Ashton
5 Matty Chrimes
6 Simon Brown
7 Dom Brambani
8 Jordan Andrade
9 Vila Halafihi
10 Harry Kidd
11 Brad Hey
12 Duane Straugheir
17 Lewis Wray
Subs (all used)
14 Nathan Conroy
13 Harvey Hallas
15 Alex Rowe
16 Sion Jones
Tries: Ashton (4), Jones (29), Hartley (34, 67)
Goals: Brambani 5/5
Sin-bin: Hartley (74) – shoulder charge
Referee: Matt Rossleigh
Crusaders MOTM: Cam Brown – on his Crusaders debut, the centre scored a try early on and generally impressed, carrying the ball forward well against a big Hunslet side.