HUNSLET’S eight-match winning run came to an end with Sunday’s 18-6 reverse at Workington Town in the final fixture of the regular Betfred League 1 season.
The result, however, had no bearing on the Parksiders’ standing in the final table. Hunslet remain second in the section and will host the survivors of this Sunday’s first Qualifying semi-final, between Doncaster and Oldham, in the second Qualifying semi-final; that game will be played at the South Leeds Stadium on Sunday 10 September, with a 6.00pm kick-off because of existing bookings at the ground, which is owned by Leeds City Council.
The Parksiders had trailed 6-0 at the break at Workington, and 12-0 early in the second period, having conceded tries by Hanley Dawson and Matty Henson.
Winger Dan McGrath replied for Hunslet on the hour, Matty Beharrell adding the extras, but the Cumbrians sealed their victory when Jordan Burns crossed 14 minutes from time, Ciaran Walker landing his third goal.
The Parksiders’ head coach Alan Kilshaw reflected: “I didn’t think we were where we usually are in terms of our commitment to contact. We looked a little distracted which can be put down to looking ahead to the semi-final in a few weeks’ time.
“We started the match well, and defended well for large parts of the game. But we were impatient with the ball and went away from things we had planned to do.”
He continued: “We have lost two of our last 15 games and, prior to the defeat at Town, had won eight out of the last eight, so a loss now isn’t a negative. It’s better to get that flat performance out the way before the big games that lay ahead.
“I was disappointed with the first and third tries we conceded. The first one was a clear two-on-one steal, and the third a clear obstruction. While it wasn’t the best performance from us I also I felt we played under a different set of rules on Sunday; it was a slow game and there was a lot of interference around the ruck.”
Hunslet’s boss concluded: “We held a few lads back and didn’t risk anyone, but I was delighted with Dan McGrath he deserved an opportunity and took it. We will now have two really good weeks’ preparation for the semi, which has been earned; the group deserve credit for that.”