Rochdale Hornets 40 Hemel Stags 22
Hemel Stags endured a tough afternoon as they were heavily beaten by Rochdale Hornets at the Spotlands Stadium.
Stags had managed to restrict their hosts to just a two-point advantage at half-time, but the Hornets added a flurry of tries after the break to secure the victory.
The hosts made a bright start as Danny Davies, Wayne English and Adam Swift ran in tries – two converted by Gareth Langley and one by Dave Hull – to give them a commanding 18-0 lead after just 15 minutes.
The Stags rallied, though, and soon found a way back into the game as BJ Swindells crossed the line and converted to cut the deficit to 18-6.
And it was not long before Stags had doubled their tally, with prop James Howitt doing well to tee up Jermaine Coleman to touch down. Again Swindells converted.
Hemel, buoyed by the tries, continues to press forward and Swindells added his second score of the game after 28 minutes.
The influential Stags kicker almost dropped the ball as he went over the line but he re-gathered well to get the four points, before narrowly missing the conversion.
With the scoreboard reading 18-16 at half-time, Stags knew they were still very much in the game – but the Hornets came out firing on all cylinders after the break and quickly extended their advantage.
Davis again worked his magic to split the Hemel defence and run in unopposed, with a successful kick by Wayne English taking the score to 24-16.
From then on, there was only going to be one winner, and Rochdale ran in further tries from Warren Thompson (2) and Martin Waring to put the result beyond doubt.
To their credit, Stags continued to battle to the end and they had the last word when Ben Young somehow burrowed his way under a mass of bodies to score the four points.
Hemel now have a fortnight to recover before facing another tough test when they play host to unbeaten league leaders North Wales Crusaders on Sunday, June 16.
The game kicks-off at 3pm at Pennine Way.