Benn’s gamble pays dividends for Hunslet Warriors

Hunslet Warriors' Caldon Bravo. Pic: Ainsley Bennett
Hunslet Warriors' Caldon Bravo. Pic: Ainsley Bennett
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Hunslet Warriors kicked-off their National Conference Division One season with an excellent 22-14 win at Hull Dockers.

Warriors’ new coach Jamie Benn took a risk by selecting five youngsters for the trip to Dockers, who were relegated from the Premier last term, but his instincts were proved right.

Captain Caldon Bravo was on top form, having a hand in the first try after just four minutes when he collected a pass from stand-off Ben Gale and off-loaded to second row Dave Norton who crossed for an unconverted try.

Bravo then powered his way over for a try himself just 10 minutes later to make it 8-0.

Warriors continued to carry the game to the home team with hooker Liam Brown and Gale putting in some fine positional kicks, while props Johnny Dawson and Luke Day and centre Gareth Croft blunted any Dockers’ attacks.

Luke Rayner, playing at full back, was also outstanding in collecting the high ball and running it out from his own line, assisted on occasions in defence by winger James Dawson.

It was only a matter of time however until the home team began to look more composed and, on 24 minutes winger Lewis Suddaby crossed out wide after a fine run. Minutes later he was prevented from repeating the feat by a tackle from Warriors’ winger Ben Smith who put him into touch.

The home team were growing in confidence and the visitors had to rely on a try-saving tackle from Croft to stop them reducing the arrears.

Bravo continued to be a threat with a number of strong breaks and replacement forward Ben Tatterson also made some powerful runs, while first team debutant Ellis Peach showed his speed and eye for a break.

However, with eight minutes of the half remaining it was the home centre Steve Milne who crossed to level matters going into the break.

Warriors started the second half the stronger team and with only five minutes gone, hard-working scrum-half Gary McClelland took the ball downfield before sending Liam Gaunt through and he managed to stretch to ground the ball. McClelland added the points to edge the visitors ahead.

That lead was extended by a penalty but despite great work from man of the match Lloyd Templeton and his fellow forwards, Warriors were unable to prevent Suddaby from scoring his second try, converted by scrum-half George Russell to put the hosts within two points.

The Dockers lost a player to the sin bin with only five minutes remaining and Warriors took full advantage to close out the game.

A superb move, orchestrated by Gary McClelland, saw the unstoppable Bravo power over and Liam Gaunt added the extras to round off the scoring.