Woolston rue slackness in second half

Woolston 13 Hunslet 18
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The Independent Online

Woolston took a professional scalp in last year's Challenge Cup and would have claimed another yesterday but for a ham-fisted phase at the start of the second half.

The Warrington-based amateurs, enjoying home advantage at the town's professional ground were by far the better side in the first 40 minutes, when their enterprise frequently exposed the hesitancy of a side that has won just one game in three in the Northern Ford Premiership this season.

Hunslet made a complete mess of two Graham Smith kicks to open up the strong possibility of an upset. The first, after four minutes, saw Keiran Allen lose the ball for Steve Martin to score and add the goal. The second got away from Hunslet on the wing, with Danny Heaton following up to touch down and Martin again converting.

The only bright spot for Hunslet, champions of their division a couple of years ago, came in between those tries when Lee Bargate stood in the tackle for Carlos Sanchez to go over.

Allen kicked that goal plus an penalty as half-time approached, but Woolston still seemed in control, with Smith's drop goal giving them a 13-8 lead at the break.

It was a different story when play resumed, with Woolston repeatedly squandering possession by knocking-on, even when under no particular pressure.

That subjected them to long periods in defence, and it was not long before they began to pay the price, Bargate's kick coming back off the foot of the post for the substitute, Craig Stevens, to pounce.

Allen's conversion gave Hunslet the lead for the first time and his two penalties edged them closer to safety. Although Woolston improved in the final quarter, they could not find the score that could have snatched victory and they finished with the frustrating knowledge that they had blown their chance.

Woolston: Wallington; Livett, Warburton, Cole, Cosgrove; Smith, Martin; Shephard, Povey, Westwood, Patterson, Heaton, Mellor. Substitutes used: McCarthy, Buckley, Muckalt, Daniels.

Hunslet: Allen; Powell, Bargate, Seal, Brain; Dobson, Naylor; Coyle, Howcroft, Briggs, Pincher, Sanchez, Coleman. Substitutes used: Atha, Jessey, Lee, Stevens.

Referee: J King (St Helens).

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