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Saturday, 20 December 2014

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Haven make quick work of Warriors

COACH Don Gailer would have accepted a one-point win pre-match, but in the event his team produced their most complete performance of the season against an out-gunned Hunslet Warriors.

Anyone who says it was ‘only’ against amateur opposition clearly did not see the fine performances of Egremont Rangers and Wath Brow Hornets in narrow Carnegie Challenge Cup defeats over the weekend.

Hunslet arrived at the Recre with a towering reputation in the amateur game, but Haven did not let them get in to their stride in a one-sided first-half where the hosts went in 28-0 at the break.

Centre Stephen Fox led the way with a hat-trick, with Andreas Bauer producing another great effort at full-back. His ability to join the line at telling moments should prove valuable to Haven this term.

Fox was in to his stride in the fourth minute after Dave Houghton found fellow prop Howard Hill at pace.

Carl Sice and Lee Doran advanced downfield before the ball was moved to the right for Fox to score.

The centre doubled his tally on 10 minutes, showing good footwork from close range to find a way through.

The one-way traffic continued, winger Max Wiper slipping a tackle in midfield and finding Ben Karalius.

In open space, the scrum-half looked set to score, but with the cover closing in he found winger Craig Calvert in support for the try. That was the signal for Hill to end his first stint, and he left the field to warm applause from fans who appreciated his colossal effort.

It all looked too easy on 24 minutes when Rudd seized on a loose ball to go between the sticks, and Bauer then added another, off a great inside ball from Karalius.

When the visitors finally got the chance to launch a first attack on 36 minutes via a penalty, Bauer reached up to stop the ball finding touch.

Hunslet finally looked dangerous a minute later, Fox knocking dead a kick. But Haven ended the half where they spent much of it, camped in the Hunslet half.

The Yorkshire outfit spilled the ball on the first tackle of the second-half, and after a high tackle on McAvoy, Rudd’s boot pushed the score out to 30-0.

Rather than collapse, the visitors finally started to show why they are so respected in the amateur game, aided by a few Haven errors.

Bauer’s 50 metre break from deep deserved a try, and when the next score came the Kiwi was again heavily involved.

He found Wiper whose inside ball to Fox led to his third try. Doran broke 40 metres from the re-start but then had the ball stolen.

Hunslet got the try their second-half effort deserved on 58 minutes, massive centre Mark Cunningham cutting in at pace on an angle to go under the sticks, Gary McClelland converting.

Just as against Rochdale last week, Haven finished strongly, claiming three more tries in the last 10 minutes.

The first of these came after Doran again broke the line and fed Sice. Rudd then took charge and McAvoy got on the end of his lob to the corner.

Luke Isakka earned a try in the same corner and with two minutes to go, Richard Varkulis proved impossible to stop from close range to bring up the half-century.

Rudd landed his eighth goal to complete another kicking masterclass from the classy stand-off.

And just a word for ref Scott Mikalauskas, who acquitted himself well in his first outing at this level. Well done to him – and to Haven.

In the next round Haven become the giant-killing act when they take on Super League opponents, Salford City Reds.

Haven: Bauer, Calvert, Fox, McAvoy, Wiper, Rudd, Karalius, Houghton, Sice, Hill, Isakka, Doran, Beattie. Subs: Cullnean, Smith, Varkulis, Barker.

Tries: Fox 3, Calvert, Rudd, Bauer, McAvoy, Isakka, Varkulis.

Goals: Rudd 8

Warriors: McClelland, Rayner, Cunningham, Lyons, Brain, Wheelhouse, Baker, Benatmiane, Pratt, Dawson, Holmes, Mehdi, Bravo. Subs: Sheard, Featherstone, Scott, Gale.

Tries: Cunningham

Goals: McClelland 1

Referee: Scott Mikalauskas

Attendance: 534

Star Man: Stephen Fox

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