MATCH REPORT – Hunslet 12 – 26 Thunder

Newcastle Thunder put in a second half masterclass against Hunslet on Sunday afternoon as 22 unanswered second half points propelled them to second in the Betfred League 1 table.

It was an impressive turnaround after going in 12-4 down at half time, as Simon Finnigan’s side took complete control as they recorded a crucial win that keeps them firmly in the hunt for the Betfred League 1 title.

In a nightmare start, the visitors were 4-0 down in the space of 90 seconds as they coughed up possession in the shadow of their own goal after losing the ball forward on the floor on their first attacking set.

From the resulting scrum, Hunslet worked the ball along the line with James Woodburn-Hall on hand to stroll over as the Thunder defence was breached with alarming ease.

Getting that out of their system Thunder went on to enjoy a decent spell of pressure and worked a well-deserved equaliser five minutes later, as a superb lofted pass from Mikey Lewis found Joe Brown out on the wing with an easy run to the line.

Despite showing glimpses of their superb form of recent weeks, Thunder found themselves frustrated by small errors that prevented them establishing any degree of fluency to their plays and ultimately gifted Hunslet their remaining points of the half.

First, a mix-up whilst trying to play off a scrum led to an easy penalty that Reece Dean calmly despatched for a two-point lead, before Hunslet carved up-field from a scrum to lay on an easy converted try for Josh Tonks.

Coming out of the blocks with a blast in the second half, a simple try from Rhys Clarke got the fightback up and running before Mikey Lewis and Evan Simons combined well ten minutes later to slice open Hunslet in midfield.

Thunder assuming the lead swung the pressure onto the hosts and saw the error count mount as Hunslet searched for miracle plays against a well drilled Newcastle defence.

With those errors running down the clock, Thunder took a giant step towards the victory with 13 minutes to go as Lewis orchestrated a try for Kieran Gill with another long-range pass finding its mark and allowing the centre to dive in at the corner.

With the lead beyond one-score, Thunder gifted Hunslet an opportunity to cut that gap with a knock-on in their own half, but a resolute defensive effort on one set and a superb try saving catch from Nick Newman snuffed out the threat.

It gave Thunder the opportunity to run down the clock in the final five minutes and take the final word in the fixture as Keal Carlile worked his way free of the attention three Hunslet defenders to get the ball down for his sides final try.

Thunder are next in action on Saturday 20th July when they take on London Skolars at Kingston Park in a 3pm kick off.

Tickets are available to book by clicking here, calling 0871 2266060 or visiting the Kingston Park Stadium box office

Newcastle Thunder

Alex Clegg, Misi Taulapapa, Joe Brown, Kieran Gill, Matty Wright, Nick Newman, Mikey Lewis, Liam McAvoy, Keal Carlilie, Joel Edwards, Rhys Clarke, Conor Fitzsimmons, Harry Aldous, Sam Luckley, Jared Blanke, Evan Simons, Jack Aldous

Tries: Brown (10) Clarke (46) Simons (57) Gill (67) Carlile (80)

Goals: Wright 3/5

Hunslet RLFC

James Woodburn-Hall, Gareth Potts, Ben Heaton, Nathan Chappell, James Watson, Reece Dean, Danny Nicklas, Jon-Luke Kirby, Vila Halafihi, Adam Robinson, Josh Tonks, Charles Martin, Michael Emmett, Thomas Aston, Michael Haley, Daniel Hawksworth, Romain Pallares

Tries: Woodburn – Hall (2), Tonks (24)

Goals – Dean 2/3

Attendance -761

HT 12-4