Hunslet 29 North Wales Crusaders 6 - Super scrum-half Dominic Brambani steers hosts to victory over Betfred League 1 top-spot rivals

HUNSLET overcame an uncertain start to close comfortable winners from their top-two contest in Betfred League 1, writes PHIL HODGSON.

Dominic Brambani took control of the ball for Hunslet against North Wales Crusaders. PIC: Jim Fitton/JPIMedia

The Parksiders’ cause was hardly helped by early injuries to Harry Kidd (dislocated shoulder) and Ben Markland (dislocated knee). But once scrum-half Dom Brambini, with admirable support from stand-off Simon Brown, brought his experience to bear on proceedings, it was only ever likely to be a Hunslet win.

The visitors went in front when winger David Eccleston raced 60 metres before being brought down by Jimmy Watson and Kiedan Hartley, the latter copping a yellow card for holding down, Markland limping off shortly afterwards.

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North Wales made the extra man count, centre Dante Morley-Samuels sending Robert Massam in at the corner. Full-back Tommy Johnson, one of the best kickers in the section, landed the touchline conversion and Hunslet’s 100 per cent winning record in all games in 2020 looked in danger of being shattered.

Brambani, however, gave a hint of what was to come with a bustling raid to the visitors’ 20 then scything through before the end of the next set and adding the first of four conversions from five attempts.

Hunslet went in front four minutes later, Brambani sending second row Duane Straugheir charging in, and the Parksiders went in at the break 18-6 ahead when Jordan Andrade pounced on a kick to the corner.

North Wales forced two goal-line drop outs but Brambani duly took an influential hand with a field goal on the hour which stretched the home lead to 13 points. That advantage turned into 17 a couple of minutes later when Ashton was halted in the corner, Hartley diving over in the resultant play. North Wales, with Matthew Reid to the fore and Brad Brennan effective in his 150th career game, simply kept on coming – Massam being halted by a brave Watson tackle – but the action closed with Brambani shimmying through.

Hunslet: Watson, Markland, Heaton, Ashton, Hartley, Brown, Brambani, Rowe, Lee, Kidd, Tonks, Straugheir, Halafihi. Subs (all used): Conroy, Aldous, Andrade, Halls.

Crusaders: Johnson, Eccleston, Penny, Hurst, Massam, Jenkins, Gibson, Brennan, Billsborough, Thompson, Reid, Rodden, Barrett. Subs (all used): Sharratt, Millington, Cottington, Tilley.

Referee: Jonathan Roberts.

Att: 501.