Hunslet maintained their push for promotion from Rugby League’s Betfred League 1 with a 35-22 victory at Rochdale Hornets on Sunday in which the Parksiders, after having led 16-0 on eleven minutes, found themselves trailing 22-20 early in the second period.
But the south Leeds outfit cemented their status as second in the table by controlling the business end of the contest with tries in the last eleven minutes for Joe Burton, Jack Render and Johnny Campbell, with Matty Beharrell kicking the last of his three goals (two unsuccessful efforts bouncing back off an upright) and also landing a drop goal.
Harvey Hallas, Adam Ryder, Joe Burton and Campbell had crossed in the first half while Hornets, helped by the sin-binning on 26 minutes of Hunslet’s Michael Knowles for a late challenge, had roared back with tries by Aiden Roden, Ben Forster, former Hunslet captain Duane Straugheir and Aaron Smith, three of which Dave Hewitt improved.
The Parksiders’ head coach Alan Kilshaw reflected: “Perhaps it was too easy for us early on, with three quick tries. We then dropped off and, very uncharacteristically, our defensive work wasn’t too good in the period after Knowles had been yellow-carded, particularly around the ruck, and we conceded three soft tries, although we kept Hornets – who were impressive – to just four points while he was off.
“While I was disappointed with how we performed during that spell I can’t be too hard on the players, we’ve only lost one of the last eleven games and it’s noticeable that we are capable of winning in different ways, whether coming from behind, or regaining the lead (as at Rochdale) or in defending a lead, as we did the previous week against Dewsbury Rams.”
That dramatic success against the team that was crowned champions on Sunday perhaps affected the collective mindset going into the Rochdale fixture but `Killer’ said: “To be 22-20 down and be able to switch back on was very pleasing. We have the capacity to win games in different ways, from different situations, which says a lot about the group.”
Hunslet report only one injury from the game, prop Harvey Hallas having injured an ankle which could rule him out for a couple of weeks.