Hemel Stags coach Troy Perkins says he was proud of his team’s performance in Sunday’s defeat at Kingstone Press Championship 1 league leaders, Hunslet Hawks
A poor first half gave Hemel too much ground to make up against the table topping Yorkshiremen, and Perkins said his team were rightly beaten.
Speaking to the Stags website, Perkins said: “The better team won. I thought we tried hard and was proud of the players’ efforts - they never gave in against a very good Hunslet team who, in my opinion, are the team to beat in this competition.
“We started slowly and conceded a try in the first three minutes, and spent most of the first half tackling.
“We were on the back foot most of the first half due to too many handling errors and it was only our desperate goal line defence that kept the score to only 14-0 at half-time.”
However, Perkins was pleased with the response from his players in the second half which almost resulted in a stirring comeback.
“At half-time I knew that if we could get some decent field position we could get back into the game and we did manage to put Hunslet under some pressure.
“But twice we dropped the ball inches short of the line in the motion of scoring, and having a try disallowed that was a certain try didn’t help our cause. The second half was an improved performance and the players responded well to our half-time talk.”
Stags stand off Ben Young, meanwhile, was pleased to make his return to the team after injury - the 20-year-old had been sidelined for a month with a broken foot.
“Getting back out there with the boys after my injury was really good, and I was pleased to get through the game without my ankle playing up,” he said.
“Hunslet were a very strong and physical side who took their opportunities well, but the score line did not reflect the effort the entire team put in, we had three good chances to get ourselves right back into the mix following Jy-Mel’s try but just failed to convert any of them”.
Young remains confident Hemel can compete with the other promotion contenders.
He said: “Unfortunately we are still making silly mistakes which are costing us dear when we come up against the top teams if we can cut these errors out then I honestly believe we can beat any team in this league.”
Looking ahead, Young believes this weekend’s break will assist preparations ahead of Hemel’s next fixture against second placed York City Knights at home on Sunday, June 29.
“We now have a week off to address the weak parts of our game and really focus on our completion sets and ball retention,” he said.
“We shall prepare properly as we always do, as a squad, are already looking forward to redeeming ourselves when we take on York a week on Sunday”.