Head coach Alan Kilshaw’s considered reflection following his side’s 12-6 defeat at Betfred League One leaders Dewsbury Rams on Good Friday is: “I hope someone from IMG was there!”
The global leader in sports, events and media is in the first stages of a twelve-year partnership with the Rugby Football League, and is currently “reimagining” the sport. `Killer’ said: “Anyone who was at Dewsbury on Friday couldn’t have failed to be impressed. Even though we lost, the match was a terrific advertisement for Rugby League, with two good sides giving everything, playing in the right spirit, and with two passionate sets of fans in attendance. It was a tremendous occasion.”
The Parksiders, though, were on the wrong side of the scoreline, Dewsbury’s Paul Sykes converting tries by Calum Turner and Liam Carr for a 12-0 interval lead before Hunslet notched the only points of the second period, Jack Render crossing shortly after the restart and Josh Jordan-Roberts adding the extras. But, despite plenty of pressure, what would have been the levelling score never came, the hooter blowing while the Parksiders were embarking on a new set in a promising position, and Kilshaw admitted: “Our recent lay-off, with us not having had a game since we won at London Skolars on 18 March, certainly didn’t help against a Rams outfit that had played three games during that period.
“We were, perhaps inevitably, a little slow out of the blocks and despite defending well went 12-0 behind by half-time to two tries, one of which followed a 40/20 kick, and the other which also followed a kick.
“We clearly have to improve in dealing with those, but we had the better of the rest of the game after Jack Render scored early in the second half. But we weren’t able to get the ball down, and Dewsbury held out.”
Hunslet performed well despite being without stand-off Jake Sweeting (quad) and Aaron York, who was injured in a recent motor accident. Nathan Newbound sustained an ankle injury in the defeat, while Kieron Lawton suffered a recurrence of his own recent ankle injury.
“We’ve lost a few games – against Doncaster, Keighley (in the Challenge Cup) and now Dewsbury – by narrow margins and even though we denied the Rams any score in the second half, we have to learn how to turn pressure into points,” said Kilshaw. “But, after we play Cornwall on 13 May, we can look forward to more regular fixtures, and we will become more cohesive. And I was very impressed by young – and local – players such as Brad Wheeler, who is only 18, and Joe Burton, at just 21. Their performances give us plenty of optimism, not only for this season but for the next few years.”
Pictures courtesy of Paul Whitehurst