Hunslet crash in relegation battle with Workington

Match report by James Morris

Hunslet Hawks 6-30 Workington Town 

Hunslet’s survival hopes were dealt a massive blow this weekend after a disappointing defeat at the hands of Workington Town.

Photo: Richard Land
Photo: Richard Land

The Hawks were coming into this Kingstone Press fixture on the back of nine straight losses and would have been keen to stop that becoming ten against one of their main rivals in the fight to retain their place in next season’s Championship.

The result now means that Hunslet will head into the Super 8 stage of the season four points adrift of Whitehaven who currently occupy 10th spot.

It also means that Barry Eaton’s men will have only three more home games this season and will have to travel away four more times.

The Hawks will face Featherstone, Workington and Doncaster at the South Leeds Stadium and will travel to Dewsbury, Batley, London and Whitehaven in their bid to survive.

The Hunslet players had released a statement earlier in the week asking for their supporters to get behind the side for their remaining games and it appeared to have had the desired effect as the Hawks dominated the early proceedings, going ahead through Liam Mackay.

However, they could not capitalise on further chances and two tries from Workington’s Brett Carter as well as scores from Jarrod Sammut, Elliot Miller and Jack Murphy ensured it would be another miserable afternoon for the Yorkshire side.

Head coach Barry Eaton insisted that his side had played some good rugby, but ultimately lacked a bit of luck at times. He said:

“The scoreline didn’t reflect some of the stuff we did, especially in the first half.

“We got the ball over the line four times today but just didn’t quite ground it or get to the ball in time and then we have conceded on the back of individual errors which led to a real momentum switch.

“With the situation we currently find ourselves in, the players just need to find a way to get to those final balls.

“We were good in the first half but we found ourselves 12-6 down at half time which we didn’t deserve to be with the ball that we had and the field position but it just wasn’t to be and the try just after half time really knocked the stuffing out of us.”

After losing their tenth game in a row, Eaton admitted that morale was low within the squad but insisted that his players would benefit from a week off before the start of the super 8s.

Photo: Richard Land
Photo: Richard Land

“We are fighting” said Eaton.

“We have spoken and we are going to be giving it all because we have got some games that are winnable and we just need to find that one win that will hopefully give us a boost.

“The fact we have got a week off will be good because we can really address some things and we can address everybody’s game individually because clearly there is some quality in the team but there are also some players who are struggling a bit under pressure and it will give us a little bit of time to work with those players.”

The game started at a quick pace with Danny Ansell, who was only called into the side 10 minutes before kick off after Danny Grimshaw sustained a hamstring injury in the opening minutes, controlling the play with his kicking game.

His bomb was palmed back by Mo Agoro to Callum Casey who then offloaded to Liam Mackay, the Hunslet loose forward making no mistake from five yards out.

Workington were struggling to really make a mark on the game, gifting possession to their opponents on a number of occasions but they were back level with the most opportune of tries.

With Hunslet pressing for a second score, Jarrod Sammut picked a Jimmy Watson pass out of the air and the on loan Wakefield star had a simple 80 metre stroll up field.

This seemed to spark Phil Veivers’ players into life and they were in front just four minutes later through Elliot Miller.

Following a high tackle on Jarrad Stack, Workington shifted the ball out wide and Sammut’s inch perfect grubber to the corner was pounced on by Miller.

Hunslet had their own chances with both Charlie Martin and Rob Mulhern going close, the latter seemed convinced he had scored but the sides went into the break at 6-12.

Phil Veivers would have no doubt asked his side to build on their lead and they did just that three minutes into the second half, this time through Brett Carter.

Photo: Richard Land
Photo: Richard Land

Another grubber kick from man of the match Sammut seemed to split the Hawks defence and the Workington winger had no problem grounding the ball to make it 18-6.

Both teams became embroiled in a bit of an arm wrestle for the next 20 minutes with neither set of players looking particularly threatening.

However, the Cumbrian side put the result beyond any doubt five minutes before the end when Carter scored his second of the afternoon following a break from Callum Phillips.

Jack Murphy then completed the scoring with a 60 metre effort to ensure his side go into the Super 8s stage with that all important extra home game.

Workington head coach Phil Veivers was pleased with aspects of what he saw on the field.

He said: “I thought we were average in the first half, started slow and lacked enthusiasm.

“We invited them into play and took for Jarrod to intercept in the first half for anything to change but then when the first time we went up there we scored.

“In the second half I thought we were dumb at times but we scored enough points to win the game.”


Hunslet: Watson, Agoro, Casey, Maun, Barnett, Brown, Ansell, Haley, Lee, Mulhern, Martin, Gee, Mackay.  Interchanges: Flanagan, Castle, Trout, Houston

Workington: Murphy, Miller, Mossop, Stack, Carter, Sammut, Doran, Coward, C.Phillips, Shackley, B.Phillips, Houton, McAvoy  Interchanges: Forber, Olstrum, Walker, Szostak