Leeds Hunters – A Players perspective

Like an older brother that leads the way,

the Hunters are our rivals, our friends, our family. They were there at the birth of the Roundheads and the bonds of brotherhood, care alongside competition, have always been strong between us; and like a younger brother, the chance to compete, the opportunity to show our progress, the desire to win, was burning strong within us.

There was a chill in the air as we walked from the changing room to warm up. As always happens, it passed in a blur of stretches, drills and run-throughs. Our first home game and the nerves and the adrenaline were high. From on the pitch it is hard to talk about whole games, but from the off this was a battle. The Hunters are a formidable opponent and the bravado of the players and the enthusiasm of their supporters were clear for all to see and hear.

Undaunted, the Roundheads walked onto the pitch ready to give heart and soul. From the kick, the Hunters dominated possession of the ball. The tackles were brutal, and many a player was left bloodied and bruised before the ball was lost or secured. The forwards of both teams were waves of strength, courage and determination, collisions and carnage ensued. The Roundheads’ forwards’ performance, if not rewarded by victory, was noticed by Billy the Captain who demanded each and every forward be awarded a pint for Forward of the Match. However, this level of intense play could not last without injury and both sides lost players in he first half. José hobbled off to applause for his energetic performance on the pitch, his broken ankle, proof of his commitment to the game.

Whilst the forwards fought for ground in the centre of the pitch the Hunters consistently utilised their superior speed and the space on the wings to get the ball through. Not to say they went unchallenged. The backs had a hard game of it too, all having to take on players, sometimes two, with experience and usually weight on their side. Morgan, Toby and Joe all gained a tie for playing their first game for the team, and we’re proud to have them sport our colours.

There are moments of imperceptible change within the game sometimes, and whatever it was, the last ten minutes seemed to bring about a renewal within the team and they threw themselves into the last moments with reckless abandon. Finally, it was a back that allowed the Roundheads to avoid a clean sheet. Back of the Match, Nath, broke through and scored a hard won try. As one of the Hunters said “it took them 80 minutes to score” which is the truth. But this only serves to prove the Roundheads determination. Our heads don’t drop and our spirits don’t die because the whistle is looming. Both teams ultimately lived up to their reputations, the Hunters deserved the win, but both teams left the pitchheads held high and with smiles on their faces.