Defiant Stags overrun by Hunslet in opener

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HUNSLET Hawks ran in five tries for an opening day win of the campaign.

But the title favourites were made to work hard by a gutsy display by Hemel Stags.

The key moment of a tough first half came just before the half hour mark when Stags’ stand-off Ben Young had a try ruled out for a forward pass.

Within a minute, Hawks had crossed through Stuart Kain for a crucial score.

Liam Mackay grabbed a second try in the last play of the half to allow the visitors to take a firm grip of the contest.

Hawks then ran in three further scores, including a brace by James Houston, to take the points.

The encounter was 12 minutes old when Michael Brown had a glorious chance to put Hemel ahead, but inexplicably missed out when he chose to kick ahead instead of making a try-scoring pass with James Hill waiting to run in.

After Kain touched down, Maun and Andy Ballard, who landed his opening conversion, put Mackay over to give the visitors a 10-0 interval lead, one which they would not relinquish for the rest of the afternoon.

Hawks continued to boss play after the break, but Hemel were proving dogged opponents and it took the visitors until the 57th minute to stretch their lead when Danny Ansell sent Houston over.

Ballard added the extras before firing over from the touchline after crossing himself just minutes later.

Ballard slotted over again after Houston completed the scoring on 68 minutes.

Lee Mapals almost made it a sixth try following a length of the field sprint only to be denied, although it mattered little as the points were already in the bag.

Hemel: Barbera, Cameron, Small, Brown, Hill, Thorburn, Young, Pratchett, Simons, Ljazouli, Swindells, Mbaraga, Ingarfield. Substitutes: Maloney, Hudson, Bailey, Clement-Pascall

Hunslet Hawks: Kain, Mapals, Brickwood, Maun, Ballard, Coyle, Ansell, Houston, March, Stenchion, Oakes, Lyons, Mackay. Substitutes: Hood, Broughton, Reed, Haley.

Referee: C Kendell (RFL).