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Thursday, 30 October 2014

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Cumbria eyeing Rugby League Nines finals place

Cumbria are targeting victory over St Helens tonight in a bid to reach the Rugby League 9s finals at Headingley for a second successive season.

Barry Richardson photo
Barry Richardson

The top four teams from the West group will progress to the finals, and going in to the last weekly round at Wigan, Cumbria lie fifth, one point and one place behind Saints.

But Cumbria face a formidable assignment against three of the four sides ahead of them in the group – Wigan, who have already qualified, Warrington and St Helens.

“It’s going to be a tough night for Cumbria,” said Haven chief executive Barry Richardson. “Wigan have been outstanding so far and Warrington have been absolutely superb.

“Our target has to be to beat St Helens. If we do that and achieve the same results as them in our other games, we will probably qualify ahead of them.

“They beat us at Barrow last week, but it didn’t help us when James Finch was sent to the sin bin, and they scored the points to win it while he was off the field.

“All the lads have bonded well, as they always do when they come together as Cumbria.”

Workington Town have contributed five players, including the talented Brett Carter, who is likely to be a key player in Sunday’s derby clash with Haven, who have four names in the county side, including Shane Ackerley, on loan at Gateshead.

Richardson added: “Shane’s attitude is absolutely second-to-none. He’s a whole-hearted player and just wants to play rugby for Whitehaven.

“He was prepared to go to Gateshead on loan to get experience, and they are obviously pleased with him and Danny Barker, as they are picked every week. Shane deserves to do really well in the game.”

Finals night will be held next Tuesday, with Leeds, Wakefield and Hull KR set to be among the qualifiers from the East group.

Cumbria: Bainbridge, Carter, S Dawes, Gaskell, Robinson (all Town); Gee, Hamzat, Ackerley, Crellin (all Haven); Dandy, Marwood, McGoff, Backhouse (all Barrow).

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