Stags winger Hill looks for the positives in York defeat

James Hill in action for Stags against York this season
James Hill in action for Stags against York this season

Hemel Stags winger James Hill was naturally disappointed with Sunday’s defeat to York City Knights but felt there was some positives to take from the game – especially in a first half in which Hemel more than matched the league leaders.

“In the first half I thought in spells of the game we really applied ourselves in defence and attack,” said Hill. “Although we started poorly and conceded a try we really managed to dig in and, after trading tries with York, I thought we looked the better team.”

But Hill admitted he was disappointed with the way Hemel defended in a poor second half display in which they conceded 34 points.

“It’s hard to be positive after a second half performance like that to be honest,” he said.

“As a team we came out a bit slow from the shed and a few errors really swung the momentum in York’s favour.

“I think on the whole we need to work on what we are offering in attack and how we go about building pressure and finishing sets in our opponents’ half.

“Errors happen in rugby league, and York to their credit capitalised on nearly every mistake we made, but that can happen on occasions when one team gets momentum in a match”

On a personal note, the talented Hill was satisfied to register his eighth try of the campaign.

“I was pleased with how I finished my try at the end, and I thought I was a bit unlucky with the one that was disallowed in the first half,” he said.

“I’d like to build on that next week and, if given the chances to score, I’ll look to finish them off in similar fashion.”

Hill knows Hemel are entering a pivotal stage in their season as they bid to secure a play-off place, starting with a demanding trip to play fourth placed University of Gloucestershire All Golds at the Prince of Wales Stadium next Sunday.

“Next week will be another tough test, since the change in coach Gloucester have had some brilliant performances and results,” said Hill. “Their pitch is pretty big and they have some strong players in their squad.

“If we can build pressure with our kicking game and our execution is up to standard I think we can win. All the lads remain hungry for success and the next few games are vital if we are to achieve some.”