CORNWALL'S latest Betfred League One encounter ended in a 54-10 home defeat after Hunslet produced a remarkable second-half performance to score 42 unanswered points, writes Gareth Davies.
Remarkably, the Parksiders led by just two points at the interval after a keenly contested opening stanza in which the Choughs recovered from a 12-0 deficit to score twice and finish the half strongly.
With Sam Hallas in the bin for use of the forearm and Adam Rusling’s high bombs causing winger Jack Render all sorts of problems, the half-time siren perhaps came at the wrong time for Cornwall.
But whatever Hunslet coach Alan Kilshaw said to his charges during the break, it had the desired effect as they scored eight tries to simply blow Cornwall away.
In perfect conditions for summer rugby at the Memorial Ground, Cornwall were dealt a blow in the warm-up when Nathan Cullen broke down and was replaced in the 17 by Paul Bolger.
There was further injury woe for the Choughs in the early stages when prop Brad Howe suffered a head injury and took no further part in the game.
Despite these early setbacks, Cornwall matched Hunslet in the opening exchanges and the home side had an early Coby Nichol score chalked off for crossing.
Hunslet’s powerful pack struggled to break a stubborn Cornwall defensive line during the opening 40 minutes and instead, it was left to the outstanding Nathan Conroy to open the scoring.
The hooker, who plied his trade for Cornwall last year, was busy and industrious around the ruck and he sniped over from dummy-half to open the scoring on 16 minutes – Michael Knowles converting.
Cornwall responded well to falling behind and playing expansive rugby from deep in their own quarter, and they twice created good chances but on both occasions, Harry Aaronson and Liam Whitton were bundled into touch.
Hunslet built on those positive moments in defence to double their lead 23 minutes in when Adam Ryder cut Cornwall open down the middle to go under the sticks for another converted score.
Again, though, the home side recovered well from shipping points and opened their account when Cameron Brown gathered his own kick in behind to score his eighth try of the campaign.
It got even better for Cornwall when Rusling’s towering spiral bomb caught Render at sixes and sevens. The ball was allowed to bounce and after Aaronson gathered, he found Tom Ashton who powered over against one of his former clubs.
After Sam Hallas’ yellow card and the prospect of playing down the Mem slope during the second half, Cornwall’s chances of picking up another home win were visibly buoyed.
However, Hunslet had other ideas and Lewis Wray’s converted effort after 44 minutes gave Kilshaw’s side a two score lead.
And they never looked back as a four-try burst inside 10 minutes killed Cornwall off. Firstly, veteran winger Johnny Campbell squeezed in out wide before Jordan Syme, Alfie Goddard with an intercept try and Josh Jordan-Roberts all scored.
As the final 10 minutes approached, one-time Chough Joe Burton returned a drop-out almost unopposed to register with Hunslet rampant.
Two further tries completed the visitors’ tally as replacement hooker Danny Barcoe and winger Render saw Hunslet pass the 50 point mark.
Cornwall: Whitton, Carter, Nichol, Ashton, Aaronson, Brown, Rusling, Howe, Collins, E Badham, Bodman, Dimech, Lloyd. Interchange: (all used) Boase, Bolger, Trerise, Boots.
Tries: Brown (31), Ashton (36); Goals: Rusling 1/2
Hunslet: Burton, Render, Ryder, Goddard, Campbell, Knowles, Punchard, H Hallas, Conroy, Crosley, Jordan-Roberts, Syme, S Hallas. Interchange: (all used) Barcode, Newbound, Wray, Wheeler.
Tries: Conroy (16), Ryder (23), Wray (44), Campbell (51), Syme (55), Goddard (59), Jordan-Roberts (62), Burton (69), Barcode (73), Render (78); Goals: Knowles: 6/8, Punchard: 1/2
Referee: Matthew Lynn.