TWO TRIES in the final seven minutes saw a debut NCL win slip from the grasp of Batley Boys.
Newly elected into the league this season, the Boys showed plenty of promise in a tricky away fixture against a Hunslet Warriors side dropping down from Division Two, but they just couldn’t hang on for the two points.
The defences were on top in the first half with the deadlock not broken until just before the half-hour mark in a hard-fought season opener.
Warriors new coach Jonathan Schofield was absent due to a prior engagement but he would have been proud of his charges as man of the match Daryl Gaunt scored the game’s opening try. He picked up on a loose Boys pass and held off a number of challenges before racing fully 90 metres to the line.
Gaunt added the conversion as well for a 6-0 half-time lead.
The Boys came out strongly in the second half to turn the game around, with Aaron James scoring their first NCL try with a powerful charge over the line.
Adam Bingham levelled the scores with the boot and skipped round the defence to score a try of his own three minutes later as Batley applied more pressure, with his second conversion making it 12-6.
The Boys knocked on from the restart though and the Warriors hit back with Luke Naughton going over on the left, and Gaunt again improved to square things up.
It looked like the points would be coming back to Batley when, with 11 minutes remaining, James shrugged off the attention of a defender to touch down and reopen a six-point lead.
Hunslet had other ideas though. First Matthew Rymer managed to squeeze the ball down on the line despite the best efforts of a scrambling defence and then, with two points in it and two minutes to go, the hosts produced a thrilling counter attack which finished with Gareth Croft diving into the left corner.
Batley will look to pick up their first win when they host Woolston Rovers at the Fox’s Biscuits Stadium tomorrow (Saturday, kick-off 2.30pm).