Whitehaven defeat was ‘one that got away’ admits Hunslet coach Gary Thornton

Gary Thornton.
Gary Thornton.
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HUNSLET’S FIRST league defeat of the season was “one that got away”, according to coach Gary Thornton.

The Parksiders’ 100 per cent record is over, but they remain top of Betfred League One on points difference from Whitehaven who beat them 16-12 at the Recreation Ground two days ago.

Ben Heaton.

Ben Heaton.

“It is possibly one that got away from us,” reflected Thornton.

“We had a try chalked off with about eight minutes to go which looked a decent try to me.

“That would have levelled us up with the kick to come, but we didn’t play well – especially in the first half.”

He admitted: “We started the game really well, but they got a foothold and we spent most of the first half defending.

“We didn’t have any quality ball. We lost a couple of players before the game and it just didn’t work out for us.

“Whitehaven are a dogged team, they are big up the middle and their two Papua New Guinea boys – Jessie Joe Parker and Dion Aiye – scored a couple of tries and were the difference.” Disruption before the match did not help Hunslet’s cause.

Thornton confirmed: “Nathan Chappell could not travel because of a family emergency and Ben Heaton pulled out on Friday with a recurrence of a calf muscle injury.

“We had to shuffle things around.

“It’s not ideal preparation, especially for a trip up to Whitehaven, but I was disappointed with the result.”

Hunslet picked up “the usual bumps and bruises”, but came through with no new injuries.

They have no fixture this weekend and Thornton is hopeful Heaton will be available for the crucial Good Friday game away to fourth-placed Oldham.