Hunslet Hawks swoop to leave Stags wondering what might have been

BJ Swindells got Hemel's first try of the game
BJ Swindells got Hemel's first try of the game

Hemel Stags can count themselves somewhat unfortunate after losing out 34-16 to Hunslet Hawks at Pennine Way on Sunday.

The Stags matched their promotion-chasing opponents for the majority of the game but were undone by some good finishing.

The visitors opened the scoring after 10 minutes when a high cross-field kick was met by Gavin Duffy, who out-jumped Hemel’s James Hill to fall over the line.

Duffy then got his and Hunslet’s second try which was a carbon copy of the first, although on this occasion Duffy was clearly off-side. Veteran David March converted for 10-0.

Hemel continued to press in search of a breakthrough, but they were caught on the counter when Danny Maun cantered under the posts.

As half-time approached, the ball was fumbled again by Hemel and a delighted Duffy hacked on and collected to register his hat-trick. March converted and the Stags found themselves 22-0 down at the break.

Brooke Broughton extended the Hawks advantage early in the second half, before Stags finally registered their first score as BJ Swindells touched down.

The hosts got their second score shortly afterwards courtesy of Jy-Mel Coleman, and debutante Steven Bannister further reduced the deficit as Stags fought back bravely.

Danny Grimshaw hit back for Hunslet, but Stags earned a deserved bonus point with a penalty from Coleman.

Stags head coach Troy Perkins said: “I think we were the best team in the second half and they were certainly not 22 points better than us at half-time.”