With just over a week of June to go Event 80 took me to The Hive for some rugby league. I’m clearly not going to make 365 events in a year, but I’m having a good go at getting there! And wow am I having a great time doing so!
In spite of the fact that my car can find its own way to the part of the world Broncos play in, I did Satnav my journey. I probably did a really stupid thing on the way – something I certainly won’t be doing again! Probably best not to write it down, but I took a stupid risk, which this time saw me safe, I’ll engage my brain next time!
I arrived with an hour to spare, which meant I had time for a nice fresh baguette for lunch, there is a theme when I go to the Hive. That baguette feels quite healthy, not so sure about the crisps and Kit-Kat however!
A good chat with a few Broncos friends and before we knew it game time was upon us! Broncos had got into a bit of a winning habit, which was wonderful after last season saw only one win, wow that was painful!
The opposition for the afternoon came in the form of The Hunslet Hawks – a club with a rich history having been formed in 1883. They were one of the original 21 clubs who broke away from the union in 1895. More on their wonderful history here – http://www.hunslethawks.co.uk/info/club-history
I’m very tempted to write a full match report here but am going to try not to – let’s see how that goes!
In reality Broncos should be beating clubs like the Hawks – these men on the whole play what is an incredibly tough game part time, it’s very hard to travel and face a club with full time players.
Hunslet had good territory early on as they had a repeat set after the ball was knocked down, double sets and position so often lead to points, but this time the ball was knocked on close to the Broncos line.
Broncos were next to a double set after Hunslet were penalised for a ball steal, they went close through Wes Naiqama then Rhys Williams. Elliot Kear was to be the 1st to put points on the scoreboard with a great solo effort, with a sidestep worthy of either code he ran into space to score. Naiqama who as a rule has a very accurate boot added the extras.
It seemed that the 6 point advantage would be squandered when Broncos knocked on at the restart, the ball was gathered by an offside player, giving a penalty to Hunslet. Again they went close, again they dropped the ball!
A penalty to Broncos as they moved away from the restart saw them in territory, Tom Gilmore passed out to Naiqama who’d run a great one, he scored Broncos 2nd try, converting it to up his personal tally.
40/20 kicks seem to be rare this season, but we saw a great kick from Gilmore, Iliess Macani was in a great position to score but couldn’t take the ball. A loose ball is so often picked up by the opposition and so it was the case this time.
Hunslet stormed away, then had a penalty awarded – in this instance territory did translate into points. Matt Gee scored to the joy of the visiting fans, Jordan Lilley converted to close the gap to 6.
I am going into full match report mode so I’ll rein back a bit – both teams had scoring opportunities as the half progressed. It was to be Hunslet who took that opportunity after an Oscar Thomas pass went to a Hunslet man. As play progressed Robbie Ward scored- it was a clever move by him, he took the ball from the play the ball, feinted a pass then headed for the line, fooling the Broncos defenders.
Lilley converted the try to send the teams in at 12 apiece at half time. There was some odd chanting from a few of the Hunslet fans, they seemed angry with the whole Broncos thing and were clearly over the moon to be even. However their confidence was to be undone in the 2nd half.
It was to be 11 minutes into the half before we saw more points, Oscar Thomas scoring under the posts, an easy kick for Naiqama took the Broncos total to 18. Broncos took the option of a penalty kick 4 minutes later stretching the lead.
Illiess Macani, a player who’s added some size to his speed this season gained a lot of territory for his team, 2 consecutive penalties saw Broncos 1o metres from the Hunslet line. Andrew Henderson who has class galore looked at what options were available, passing to his right as he did so. The ball made it out to Naiqama who added another try to his personal tally. Unusually the conversion hit the posts.
I am going to have a bit of a moan now fellow Broncos – shouting ‘going down, going down, going down’ to opposition fans is inflammatory and pretty unpleasant – needless to say, I don’t approve!
Henderson was instrumental in Broncos next score, he made a break passing to Jamie Thackray, who’s been a start since joining the team, Thackray stormed up the field before passing to Naiqama who scored his hat-trick try! – again a missed conversion however.
Broncos added to Hunslet’s agony moments later after Matt Garside made a great break, he passed at just the right moment to Rhys Williams who’d been in space for a lot of the game, and had asked for the ball time and again to no avail. This time he took the perfectly timed pass to score! Naiqama was accurate with the kick this time.
What all this added up to was a final scoreline of London Broncos 34 Hunslet Hawks 12 – a decisive win in the end. The Broncos are doing what they didn’t do last season, playing as a unit, players who want to win for each other. There’s a great vibe surrounding the team, from the perspective of a long term fan, long may it continue!
It was Heritage Day at the Hive, there was a great array of shirts from down the years on show – at times there may not be many fans supporting this team, but those that do, are loud, passionate and loyal!
A cup of tea and a chat after the game and it was time to head home, a decent journey with not too many silly drivers. Broncos have a way to go to make the important Top 4 – at this rate they look to be in a good position to make it!
Credit has to go to Hunslet Hawks – they never gave up and fought to the end.