HUNSLET Hawks gave an encouraging second-half display in a 42-6 defeat at Featherstone Rovers in their first pre-season match on New Year’s Day.
Trailing 32-0 at half-time, the Hawks improved greatly in the second period.
Their efforts were rewarded when Luke Helliwell’s superb 40-20 paved the way for Danny Grimshaw, returning from groin surgery, to score a 62nd minute try that Helliwell goaled.
Afterwards, Hunslet coach Barry Eaton revealed they had considered calling off the match because of a virus sweeping the camp.
“On the morning of the game, I was seriously considering whether we should fulfil the fixture because we’ve got probably nine players who have this virus,” said Eaton.
“In the first-half, we didn’t get out of our half and Featherstone launched wave after wave of attacks. It was obvious a team of that quality were going to post some points against us.
“We were massively under the cosh after 25 minutes but after that we competed reasonably well and certainly in the second-half we created four or five really good chances.
“I thought we started the second-half really well and pinned Featherstone back a few times.
“I was certainly pleased with the response in the second-half but the ball didn’t quite go to hand or Featherstone’s good defence prevented us posting a few more scores.
“We can take positives from the match and the players have a game under their belts.
“We will have to take a check on the players who are nursing the virus because we have another game on Sunday.”
Featherstone Rovers: Hardman; Hodson, Hellewell, Worthington, Johnson; Hepworth, Briggs; Crossley, Ellis, England, Ormondroyd, Bryan, Dale. Subs: Lockwood, Brook, Mackay, A Finn, Jackson, Scott, Day, Bostock, Pickerill.
Hunslet Hawks: Kain; Mapals, Brickwood, Welham, Pryce; Ansell, Helliwell; Bowring, Windley, Payne, Clayton, Watson, Haughey. Subs: Grimshaw, Yates, Menzies, Oakes, Lewis, March.
Referee: Dave Merrick (Pontefract).