Hunter-Paul shines as Stags beat Bentley

MIRFIELD Stags continued their perfect start to the Yorkshire Men's League season after an emphatic 42-20 victory at Bentley.

Full-back Ross Hayden bagged five tries, with the Stags’ powerful pack laying a platform for their outside backs to shine.

Injured stand-off Francis Maloney coached the Stags in the absence of Richard Silverwood, and former New Zealand international Robbie Hunter-Paul captained the side on his debut.

Hunter-Paul played a starring role as the Stags raced into an early 24-0 lead with four unanswered tries during a totally one-sided opening quarter.

Great work from Mirfield put Elliot Smith through Bentley’s backline in the opening nine minutes. Smith was involved again as he drew the opposing full-back, before offloading to Hayden to score under the posts.

Forward Ben Mather came off the bench to crash over and increase Mirfield’s lead, before winger Oliver Rounding essentially wrapped the game up during the next set.

Hunter-Paul saw an opportunity down the blind side and created the space for Rounding to race clear and score from 40 metres.

The hosts quickly replied with their first try when Gareth Burns touched down.

Minutes before half-time Bentley seemed to be back in the game, as winger Ben White scored.

However, the elusive Hayden completed his hat-trick shortly before the interval, reacting quickest to pounce on a Hunter-Paul bomb which the hosts had failed to deal with.

Bentley continued to show great fight and hit back again when stand-off Jack Craswell scooted over from the play-the-ball close to the Stags’ line.

But it was game over when Hayden bagged his fourth and fifth tries of the afternoon, either side of the 70-minute mark.

The first saw Hunter-Paul make a 50-metre break, from a superb Smith offload, before producing a kick for Hayden to dive over in the in-goal area. The full-back kicked the goal to take his tally to a perfect six from six.

Then a Bentley dropped ball, close to Mirfield’s own line,  allowed Hayden to scoop it up and run 80 metres unchallenged, taking his personal haul for the game to 32 points. Hunter-Paul added extras. Bentley had the final say when Nick Pownall nipped over for a consolation try in the dying seconds.

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