Hunslet came from behind at half-time against Gloucestershire All Golds to hold onto their top spot in the Kingstone Press League One Shield.
After a slightly misfiring first 40 minutes Gary Thornton’s men had enough in their locker to turn a 12-10 deficit into an eventual 32-18 victory.
They knew they were in for a tough game when the All Golds came up with the first score after only seven minutes. James Duckworth dropped a high kick and former Hunslet winger Mo Agoro was sent over for the opening try which went unconverted.
Back rower Joe McClean came close to another score for the visitors when deemed to have made a double movement and relieved Hunslet hit back as Cameron Leeming made a break and Joe Sanderson backed up to score.
He added the conversion and was soon on the scoresheet again with his second try after combining well with Mufaro Mvududu.
Back came Gloucester, however, as McClean followed up Ben Stead’s kick on the last tackle to touch down. Stead’s kick levelled it up and he then added a penalty goal to make it 12-10 at the break.
Hunslet lost hooker George Flanagan for 10 minutes to the sin-bin for dissent and started the second half a man down yet managed to turn the game round with two tries in his absence. First, Sanderson and Michael Haley combined to send Dean Roberts over then Joel Gibson put Jimmy Watson in and suddenly it was 20-12 with the hosts in control.
Winger Marcus Webb was maybe unlucky to see a try chalked off for a forward pass after a good move, but there was no stopping Hunslet now as Watson crossed again from Lewis Reed’s offload.
Watson then completed his hat-trick three minutes later following Flanagan’s strong run and with Sanderson kicking his fourth goal it was 32-12.
The All Golds did manage a late consolation through Steven Parry, but the home team saw the game out for a valuable two points to stay one ahead of London Skolars and North Wales Crusaders.
The race for top spot is likely to go down to the wire, according to Hunslet coach Thornton, who was not entirely satisfied by the display against the All Golds.
He said: “We played well for half-an-hour in the second half, but that’s not enough. We need to perform for the full 80 minutes.”
Hunslet’s next game is at home to South Wales Ironmen on Sunday, September 3 (kick-off 3pm).