Whitehaven will go into the Good Friday derby at Workington’s Derwent Park as joint-leaders of League One.

A hard-fought 16-12 win over Hunslet at the Recreation Ground enabled Haven to join them at the top.

Haven will also have a week’s rest before the big game, while Town play Super League Leeds on Friday in the Coral Challenge Cup.

Coach Gary Charlton said: “It was a very good first-half performance and in the second-half we had to really defend well. We started giving away possession with simple errors and that gave Hunslet a lift. They are very powerful in the forwards and we had to stand up to them, which we did really well.

“I thought it was a good performance in the main, and there were times later in the game when we were under a lot of pressure.”

Whitehaven had given away two late tries a week earlier against Rochdale Hornets to lose a game they always looked like winning. This time there was no late collapse as a determined performance saw them over the line.

Assistant coach Jonty Gorley added: “We always thought we could make ourselves hard to beat at the Recreation Ground and that has been evident so far.

“It’s early days. There’s a lot of rugby to be played, so we are not getting carried away. But it’s nice to be sitting joint-top of the league, having just beaten a team who had been unbeaten and were leading the table.”

Whitehaven had to play virtually the whole game with three substitutes after full-back Chris Taylor did not last long.

“He felt a hamstring in the warm-up but started only to be forced off after only a few minutes, so that reduced our options,” said Gorley.

Haven will hope he’s recovered in time for Good Friday as they already have Andrew Bulman, Dave Thompson and Ethan Kelly ruled out with serious injuries.