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Salford City Roosters 28 Hunslet Warriors 34

By Ken Roberts

Roosters lost their home match against a much bigger Hunslet Warriors side but they will be kicking themselves for a number of unforced errors after being comfortably in front for the first half hour.

The coaching staff also pointed to a strange decision by the official right at the end of the game that cost them the points, although to be fair to the visitors, they did not deserve to lose the game either. Maybe a draw would have been a fair result?

Roosters opened the scoring after just 2 minutes when a quick cross field passing movement involving Richard Openshaw, Jordan Parker and Christian Higgins was finished off in the corner by Will Rigby and Parker added an excellent conversion (6-0). Roosters missed an opportunity to increase the lead soon after when Rigby just failed to take in a low pass with the line begging and the score remained the same until 27 minutes when Warriors’ Lloyd Templeton sent Lee West over in the corner. Gary McLelland failed to add the difficult conversion (6-4), but that proved to be his only miss of the afternoon, and he didn’t have long to wait to make up for his miss as he improved Liam Gales 34th minute try (6-10) to give Hunslet the lead and then improved Chris Hartley’s effort two minutes from the break (6-16).

Roosters opened the second half as they did the first, with a try after two minutes, and it was debutant Bradley White who scored the try of the game, chipping over the defence and re-gathering to score a try that Parker converted (12-16). Just four minutes later however, Caldon Bravo scored 5 metres from the posts for Hunslet (12-22) and on the hour mark a strong run from Ryan Gaunt paved the way for McClelland to break from half way to stretch the lead further (12-28).

Roosters gave themselves some hope on 64 minutes when Joe Connor was stopped just short and Lee Salisbury spun out of a tackle to touch down between the sticks, leaving Parker an easy conversion (18-28), but it was a short lived hope as Warriors’ regained possession from the re-start and man of the match Richard Wheelhouse scored the visitors’ final try (18-34).

To their credit Roosters never let their heads drop and took the game to their visitors in the last 15 minutes, eventually getting some reward on 75 minutes with good inter-play between Openshaw and Parker before Paul Morgan fed Rigby to touch down his second try just inside the corner flag. Parker converted brilliantly from the touchline (24-34), although he was unable to repeat the feat just two minutes from time when Roosters scored again and the seemingly impossible looked possible again. Joe Connor made a strong run before Danny Trimble fed Rigby and his kick to the in-goal was fumbled for Andrew Muscat to pounce and score in the corner (28-34).

The final minutes were frantic and Roosters thought they had “nicked” the points when Salisbury was the most alert to Hunslet knock on and he scooped up the loose ball to score around the sticks, only to be thwarted by the referee who ruled that he had already blown for the knock on.

Lively hooker Openshaw took the Roosters man of the match award although he was pushed all the way by strong running forward Joe Connor.

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Editor at large, SalfordOnline.com

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