Hemel Stags got off to a disappointing start to the 2014 Kingstone Press Championship 1 season as they suffered a 28-0 home defeat at the hands of Hunslet Hawks.
The Hawks, relegated from the Championship last term, eased into a 10-0 lead at the interval courtesy of tries from Stuart Kain and Liam Mackay, with Andy Ballard converting the first.
The visitors added further gloss to the scoreline in the second half with Ballard converting a James Houston brace either side of kicking the extras to his own score.
It was Stags who thought they had got on the scoreboard first when fullback Mitch Barbara went over the line, but the referee adjudged that the ball had been held up off the floor.
A good run by Stags debutante Michael Brown brought no reward, before a superb passing move involving BJ Swindells and former Super League prop Dom Maloney ended with Barbara scampering over the line, only for the try to be disallowed for a forward pass.
The deadlock was finally broken on the half hour mark when a good run down the left wing by Ballard allowed him to pass inside to full back-Kain to score. Ballard converted to take the score to 6-0 to the Hawks.
As the hooter sounded for half-time, Hunslet increased their lead to 10 with a try for loose forward Mackay.
Hunslet started the second half as they finished the first, and in the 57th minute a converted try for Houston took the score to 16-0 .
A desperate lunge into the left hand corner by Ballard just six minutes later was improved with a superb touchline conversion, and the final score came from Houston under the posts after 66 minutes.
It was a far from ideal start to the campaign from the Stags, but they have been boosted by the news of Maloney’s arrival at the club.
The experienced prop has played in the elite Super League for Hull, as well as enjoying stints at Halifax, Featherstone and Dewsbury, and looks a shrews acquisition by the Stags.
Head coach Troy Perkins said: “Dom is a great signing for us. We have been looking to sign another prop for a while and to get someone of his quality with Super League experience is massive for us.
He has played in the Championship with Featherstone and Halifax and has been in a professional environment at Hull FC .
He carries the ball very well and he will be a handful for any defence. We are looking for him to pass on his experience to the younger members of our squad especially the props.”
Next up for Stags is a trip to Oldham on Sunday, where Perkins will be eager for his side to get their season up and running.