Hunslet Hawks 34 Whitehaven 18: Ratcliffe weaves his magic in Hunslet win

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FULL-back Danny Ratcliffe scored two tries and kicked five goals as Hunslet overcame a strong challenge from Championship One opponents Whitehaven.

Hunslet were quickly into their stride and Josh Nathaniel ran on to a well-judged pass from Danny Allen to snatch the opening try, Ratcliffe tagging on the goal.

Whitehaven hit back when slick handling by Carl Rudd and Max Wiper set up a try for Chris Fleming, Rudd’s goal levelling.

However, two tries in three minutes, both converted by Ratcliffe, put the Hawks into an 18-6 lead by the half-hour mark.

First March was rewarded with a try for some sterling earlier work in the loose then Ratcliffe took an inside pass from winger Dennis Tuffour to score near the posts.

With the second half just three minutes old, Ratcliffe chased Allen’s kick to touch down for his second try but this time his kick came back off the far upright.

Whitehaven’s biggest threat was posed by Ben Karalius, whose smart approach play created a try for Dave Houghton, improved by Rudd.

But it was Karalius whose pass was crucially intercepted by Allen near Hunslet’s own line and Helliwell also pulled off an important interception soon afterwards.

Prop Steve Lewis and second row John Oakes added converted tries for Hunslet, Craig Calvert replying and Rudd adding the goal.

Hunslet Hawks: Ratcliffe; Kain, Brickwood, Nathaniel, Tuffour; Helliwell, Allen; Yates, Haigh, Lewis, Blakeway, Oakes, March. Substitutes: McLocklan, Tootill, Dooler, Benjafield.

Whitehaven: Youds; Calvert, Wiper, McAvoy, Fleming; Rudd, Karalius; Houghton, Gee, Varkulis, Isakka, Doran, Crellin. Substitutes: Smith, Bauer, Cullnean, Beattie.

Referee: Dave Merrick (Pontefract).