Whitehaven added to their credentials as the side likely to close the regular season as the Betfred League One leaders with a richly-deserved victory over a Hunslet outfit whose lingering hopes of claiming pole position may now have vanished.

Haven coach Gary Charlton opted not to select Jesse Joe Parker for tactical reasons, while Dion Aiye was judged not quite fit to return following injury.

The side were 12-4 down 10 minutes into the second period in testing rain-swept conditions.

But, with scrum-half Callum Phillips pinning the hosts down in their own 20 with a series of telling kicks, Whitehaven had much the better of the rest of the contest.

That left Hunslet head coach Gary Thornton reflecting on three successive home defeats after his side had been in front in each case, Haven following in the footsteps of Doncaster and Newcastle Thunder in emerging from the South Leeds Stadium victorious. London Skolars had prevailed back in April and Workington Town had edged an 1895 Cup clash; Hunslet also missed out to Championship side Halifax in the Coral Challenge Cup after having established a healthy lead.

Haven looked to be in trouble when Parksiders’ scrum-half Reece Dean landed a penalty - his fourth goal from as many attempts - from close to the halfway line on 50 minutes.

But Whitehaven, who enjoyed a 13-5 penalty count, got back into the game when, from position established from a penalty awarded for a high tackle, Ethan Kelly, after dropping and quickly retrieving a pass, crashed over from short range.

Full-back Jordan Burns, who had earlier landed a couple of penalties, added the extras and, as the hour approached, Hunslet stand-off Simon Brown, back on his old stomping ground on a month’s loan from Dewsbury, was judged to have knocked on in his own 20.

Brown took undue exception to the ruling and was sin-binned for his reaction, Haven substitute Connor Holliday restoring parity with the simple penalty.

Callum Phillips was left prostrate after having found touch on the hour, home prop Adam Robinson being placed on report for the incident.

Holliday’s shot at goal from the resultant penalty bounced out off an upright but, after Hunslet had yet again spilled possession deep in their own half, Cumbrians’ Carl Forster charged to the line and fed his support, Haven spreading the ball wide for David Thompson to cross in the corner with 13 minutes left.

Holliday was successful, this time, with his conversion attempt. And, after stand-off Sam Forrester had stymied a threat with a fine tackle on home centre Nathan Chappell, victory was sealed when Holliday landed a field goal five minutes from time from 20 metres out.

Whitehaven had gone in front on eight minutes, Burns booting a penalty from close range after barnstorming prop Marc Shackley had been held down.

Hunslet, despite a 40-20 kick by Brown, were unable to penetrate a Haven defence in which second row Brett Phillips was prominent with a fine tackle on his own try-line. And after a bust-up close to

Whitehaven’s goal-line which referee Michael Mannifield placed on report both sides subsequently struggled to retain possession.

Hunslet levelled matters with a Dean penalty on 33 minutes and, after Brown’s telling kick to the corner, went in at the break 4-2 ahead, Dean hitting the target after Haven were penalised for dissent after having been sanctioned at a scrum.

A skirmish three minutes after the restart led to Mr Mannifield penalising Hunslet, Burns restoring parity with the goal. The Parksiders, however, forced a goal-line drop-out at the restart, Chappell sliding in at the corner after the ball had been shipped wide and Dean improving.

Hunslet, for whom Jack Lee worked hard at hooker, appeared to be on course for victory following Dean’s subsequent long-range penalty. But Whitehaven, with James Mossop making his 300th career appearance, had other ideas, Charlton’s side completing the ‘double’, after their 16-12 victory at the Recreation Grounds in early April, with a gutsy display in an often fiery clash.

And the south Leeds side, who had captain Duane Straugheir back from injury but missed hard-running centre Ben Heaton, who has sustained a tendon injury to a thumb in an accident at work, are now facing the play-offs in their bid to gain promotion.