Hunslet’s head coach Alan Kilshaw, who tasted defeat for the first time on Sunday when the Parksiders lost 38-10 at Betfred League 1 leaders Barrow, cannot fault his side for effort. But he has targeted one-on-one defensive lapses, a failure to adhere to the gameplan in attack – and one schoolboy error – as root causes for the reverse.
He said: “While it’s always difficult for any team at Barrow we had to give ourselves an opportunity to get into the game, and we didn’t really do that.
“The Raiders had a few regulars missing but they also have real depth in their squad, which they proved on Sunday. Barrow had 14 sets to Hunslet’s four at the end of the opening quarter, but despite that statistic trailed only 8-0, which was testimony to our heart and character. But we keep making fundamental errors, and when we did get opportunities in attack we didn’t put into practice what we’ve been working on in training.”
KIlshaw continued: “We did well to recover from our indifferent start but when we got ourselves back into the game at 20-10 we dropped a simple kick at the restart, which was an amateur mistake. That gave Barrow an opportunity they didn’t fail to take, we were very quickly on the backfoot once more at 26-10 down, and we never recovered.
“Ultimately, we never gave ourselves a chance through errors like that, and through a number of poor missed tackles which cost us after having defended valiantly for a number of sets.”
Hunslet’s boss cited another factor in the defeat – or at least in its margin. Like all professional Rugby League clubs, the Parksiders conduct a review of each game and Kilshaw said: “I hope that match officials do the same. If they do they will perhaps understand where our frustrations lay on Sunday.
“Some decisions went against us, and at crucial times, including a Barrow 40-20 that clearly wasn’t, and which led to a try. The part we want is consistency – the Raiders had a try allowed when the referee overruled his touchjudge while, in a recent match, Reece Chapman-Smith had a touchdown vetoed when the touchjudge overruled the referee. That’s an issue that surely needs resolving.
“Ultimately, however, we have to control our own destiny as much as we can, by cutting out defensive errors and sloppy mistakes, and by adhering to our gameplan. Those aspects should be easily rectified; what is clear to me, from the short time I’ve been at Hunslet, is that there’s plenty of potential and quality in the squad. We just need to start to realise that potential and quality on a more regular basis.”
Kilshaw reported two injuries from the game. Forward Joe Summers has a tweaked hamstring, while winger Alex Brown took a knock to the knee.