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Wednesday, 20 August 2014

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Haven come under fire after Hunslet defeat

WHITEHAVEN coach Don Gailer was in no mood to listen to hard luck stories following a desperately disappointing opening to the season.

Haven had, somehow, still been in contention at only 22-12 down, deep into the final quarter of the Northern Rail Cup clash.

But the Aussie insisted that a generally ‘inept display’ in which his side had struggled to complete a set was simply unacceptable.

Whitehaven’s players could perhaps have pointed out that their first penalty wasn’t given until five minutes before the break, by which time Hunslet had been awarded four.

Gailer, however, blasted: “This was a game in which be beat ourselves.”

Much of Ben Karalius’ play, to an impartial observer, had been one of the few rays of light to inspire Haven’s loyal band of travelling supporters in a game in which the pattern was set in the third minute with Doran’s first knock on.

Whitehaven had an early escape when Hunslet winger Stuart Kain was unable to ground a kick and, in a counterattack, a pass by Karalius which put Doran clear was ruled forward.

Hawks centre Josh Nathaniel crashed over off scrum-half Danny Allen, fullback Danny Ratcliffe adding the extras from the touchline, before Karalius pulled off a smart cover tackle on hooker Luke Haigh.

Whitehaven opened their account when, after Karalius put prop Richard Varkulis through, Karalius and stand-off Carl Rudd fed centre Max Wiper, who sent winger Chris Fleming over in the 24th minute, Rudd converting from the touchline.

Haven knocked on at the restart though, David March crashing through a couple of tackles for a soft try. And, only three minutes later, Hunslet took control with a long range score down Whitehaven’s right flank by Ratcliffe, whose two goals helped the Hawks to an 18-6 interval lead.

Whitehaven fell further behind three minutes after the resumption, fullback Jonathan Youds allowing a grubber by Allen to slide past him for Ratcliffe, whose conversion attempt hit a post, to pounce.

Karalius sparked a response, some seven minutes later, breaking clear and sending prop Dave Houghton over from 30 metres.

With the penalty count swinging Whitehaven’s way to finish 6-5 in their favour, another score could perhaps have swung the issue. But an interception at a play-the-ball on Hunslet’s line in which Hawks’ stand-off Luke Helliwell appeared to be offside halted the revival.

Home prop Steve Lewis crashed over off an Allen pass, and although Whitehaven hit back when winger Craig Calvert was first to a bomb, Rudd again improving, Hunslet closed with a try that summed up the contest, Karalius’ wayward pass on his own line giving Oakes a simple score, and Ratcliffe landing his fifth goal.

Hunslet: Danny Ratcliffe; Stuart Kain, Lee Brickwood, Josh Nathan-iel, Dennis Tuffour; Luke Helliwell, Danny Allen; Andy Yates, Luke Haigh, Steve Lewis; Richard Blake-way, John Oakes, David March. Subs: Joe McLocklan, David Tootill, Steve Dooler, Ryan Benjafield.

Tries: Nathaniel, March, Ratcliffe 2, Lewis, Oakes.

Goals: Ratcliffe 5

Haven: Jonathan Youds; Craig Calvert, Max Wiper, Scott McAvoy, Chris Fleming; Carl Rudd, Ben Karalius; Dave Houghton, Sam Gee, Richard Varkulis, Luke Isakka, Lee Doran, Brad Crellin. Subs: Chris Smith, Andreas Bauer, Paul Cullnean, Andrew Beattie.

Tries: Fleming, Houghton, Calvert.

Goals: Rudd 3.

Referee: Dave Merrick (Selby).

Attendance: 305.

Star man: Ben Karalius.

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