Hunslet Hawks storm back to clinch top-eight spot

George Flanagan crossed twice for Hunslet Hawks
George Flanagan crossed twice for Hunslet Hawks

Hunslet Hawks fought back from 18-4 down to defeat North Wales Crusaders 35-30 and clinch a top-eight finish in Kingstone Press League One.

Matt Bramald’s men showed grit and determination to bounce back at the South Leeds Stadium on Sunday and notch their fifth win in six games to round-off the regular season in style.

Hawks left themselves with a mountain to climb when they conceded the first two tries of the game.

Alex Thompson broke through to bag Crusaders’ first converted try and on 13 minutes, Ryan Smith added another six-pointer to the visitors’ tally.

Hawks got off the mark soon after when Daniel Williams crossed but the Welsh side went 16 points up on 25 minutes courtesy of Andrew Oakden’s try and Tommy Johnson’s extras.

However, the game was turned on its head in the second quarter, Michael Haley’s touchdown quickly followed by Ayden Faal’s score, both of which were converted by Simon Brown. And the home side ended the half in style, George Flanagan bursting through for a try goaled by Brown on the hooter.

The Flanagan-Brown combination struck again on the resumption to put Hawks 28-18 up and Danny Ansell then dummied his way through, Brown again successful with the boot, to make it 34-18 with 55 minutes played.

Brown tagged on a drop goal but it was Crusaders who finished the stronger, Rob Massam and Kenny Baker getting over the whitewash to cut the Hawks’ lead to five.

However, the home side dug in to secure the victory that clinched seventh place in the final standings.

After the game, Jimmy Watson tweeted: “Feeling it today but awesome to get the win. Regroup for the Super 8s now.”