NEWCASTLE THUNDER 28 – 10 HUNSLET RLFC

Newcastle Thunder secured a first home win of the season on Sunday afternoon, with a determined 28-10 win over Hunslet in rugby league’s Betfred League 1 as Jason Payne’s side found their attacking straps.

Taking a 16-10 lead at half-time following a see-saw first half, Thunder polished their performance in the second forty minutes to score 12 unanswered second-half points and secure an impressive victory.

The tone was set from the outset, as Thunder made an excellent start with a potency in attack that saw them spend large swathes of the opening ten minutes deep within Hunslet territory.

While not finding a breakthrough to score, they were still piling on plenty of pressure and forced Hunslet to concede three consecutive goal line drop-outs and gaining four attacking sets on the bounce.

It was pressure that came to tell during that fourth with Lewis Young the man to profit thanks to a superb switch of attacking direction from prop Liam McAvoy. 

Cutting back inside and wrong-footing his marker, the Cumbrian forward laid on the scoring pass to the supporting scrum half as he cut through the last tackle for a try under the posts, converted by Tom Shaw.

Having worked so hard to earn their first try, disappointment followed as Thunder’s lead was reduced to two points just moments later, after a knock on whilst attempting to break the onrushing defence handed the ball back to Hunslet. 

Making the most of their first real foray into the home side’s territory, hooker Jack Lee sold an effective dummy pass to dart through the gap he created though the missed conversion ensured Thunder retained the lead.

Despite allowing their lead to be cut off the back of an error Thunder were looking the sharper of the two teams, though any further progress on the scoreboard was being frustrated by a lack of discipline that prevented the building of any momentum.

It was something that would be rued on 27 minutes when Hunslet extended their lead to 6-10 thanks to a converted Liam Mackay try, but not something to regret as Joe Brown and Vincent Rennie tries got the hosts back onto the front foot.

An explosive start to the second half saw Thunder well in the ascendency with numerous attacks placing them within the shadow of the Hunslet posts over the course of the opening minutes, but unable to land the telling blow.

One such attack did lead to points though as Shaw added his now customary second hald penalty goal, before Thunder grabbed their fourth try of the day thanks to a delightfully precise pass from half-back Lewis Young.

Looping the ball over the Hunslet defence, Young cut out the visitors’ onrushing defence to find Mo Agoro in space out wide, allowing the winger to make the most of the platform with an acrobatic dive yielding the try.

With a solid lead now established, Thunder were cutting loose and made sure of the match three minutes from time thanks to the combined efforts of Rhys Clarke and Tyler Craig.

Club stalwart Clarke made the initial break as he caught the Hunslet defence flat-footed with an excellent straightening of his line before offloading to Craig, with the centre showing great strength to keep his feet and power over for Thunder’s final try of the day.

Rising back up to fifth in the League 1 table, Thunder face a tough trip to Oldham in their next match before welcoming former Super League giants Bradford Bulls to Kingston Park on Friday, May 18.

Newcastle Thunder

Theerapol Ritson, Mo Agoro, Joe Brown, Tyler Craig, Ali Blair, Lewis Young, Tom Shaw, Liam McAvoy, Evan Simons, Jack Aldous, Sam Luckley, Rhys Clarke, Harry Aldous, Conor Fitzsimmons, Sam Blake, Vincent Rennie, Ben Calland.

Try Scorers – Young, Brown, Rennie, Agoro, Craig

Goals – Shaw 5/6

Hunslet RLFC

James Watson, David Foggin-Johnston, Thomas Ashton, Daniel Grimshaw, Niall Walker, Joe Sanderson, Cain Southernwood, Joe Chandler, Jack Lee, Matthew Nicholson, Joshua Jordan-Roberts, Duane Straugheir, Liam Mackay, Daniel Halmshaw, Alex Bretherton, Michael Haley, Nyle Flynn

Try Scorers – Lee, Mackay

Goalscorer – Sanderson

Attendance –  837