Carl Forster was critical of Whitehaven's slow start despite their runaway victory at Hemel.

An impressive 34 unanswered second-half points bagged yesterday’s win at Pennine Way.

But the player-coach said: “I think that we were still on the bus in the first half.

“I know it’s a cliché, but the boys were up at six o’clock in the morning, it was a long, long drive, it was for me and I only did half the trip, so there was a little bit of that.

“We got here late, only had a 20 minute warm-up and didn’t get out of the blocks at all.

“You can make all the excuses in the world, but you have to respond to that but it was a great effort in the second half as we kept Hemel to nil, which was not easy as they pushed us all the way.

“But if we had replicated what we did in the first half in the second, it could have been 60 or 70 points to nil.

“We were embarrassing in the first half because we couldn't keep hold of the ball.

“In conditions like this when it’s really hot, you have to keep hold of the ball which makes it difficult for the opposition.

“So we went back to basics. Get the ball, run hard, kick out to someone and try go over the top of him.

“It was that kind of aggression and I think that we did exactly that in the second half.

“If you do that in yardage, you get the ball after it.”

Foster, who has lead from the front with impressive performances throughout this season, refused to accept the plaudits for his try-scoring heroics, repeating his feat against Hemel at home last season.

“It’s always nice to score, but as head coach, you take the wins over scoring tries,” he said.

But the coach, who will leave Haven at the end of the season as the club restructures to tackle financial challenges, added: “It’s been a long couple of weeks for the club and certainly the players as well.

“It’s nice to get back to winning ways, regardless of how it’s done and now we build for next week’s game.

“We’ve no injuries as far as I’m aware.

“Everyone pulled up fine, we pulled Abram off as a precaution so everything is all good.”