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Tuesday, 22 July 2014

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Whitehaven coach Gailer all smiles despite losing out in cup

Whitehaven 10 Barrow Raiders 18: Nobody is ever happy with a defeat but Whitehaven coach Don Gailer could certainly raise a smile after watching his radically re-shaped team produce a plucky effort against Barrow yesterday.

Andreas Bauer photo
Andreas Bauer is tackled

With Haven unable to qualify for the Northern Rail Cup quarter-finals, Gailer took the chance to look at some new faces.

He made 10 changes from the side smashed at Workington last week, with eight players making their first appearances of the campaign.

Among them was ex-Salford junior Matthew Haggerty who proved outstanding in the front-row, producing a string of stinging shots on the Barrow pack, and some powerful drives.

He must have put himself in to the reckoning for next week’s Championship One opener at Doncaster.

Shane Ackerley excelled in defence and put his body on the line time-after-time, while Danny Barker got through a ton of work in the back-row.

Stephen Fox also looked strong for a player who has been hampered by injury in early-season and Martyn Wilson pressed his claims in the centres.

With so many new faces, it was perhaps not surprising that Haven started slowly.

Barrow took a 12th-minute lead after a planned move down the left stretched the hosts. A Haven hand disrupted the move, which meant the tackle count was re-started, and Scott Kaighan put the impressive Dan Toal in for a try. Kaighan converting.

A classy handling move, with full-back Andy Ballard at its core, saw the visitors break from deep six minutes later.

Haven stifled the break 10 metres from their line, but the bustling Liam Harrison then forced his way over out wide.

Harrison was again at the centre of the action on the next set, grubbering to Haven’s line, winger Loz Hamzat knocking on, gifting the visitors another set.

There appeared no danger when Ballard then fielded the ball close to the sideline from a Barrow mis-move, but Haven failed to read his speculative bomb and Toal was the quickest to react, scoring his sixth try in five games.

At that stage it looked like a rout could be on the cards, though the hosts finally started to get attuned to the pace of the game and it stayed at 14-0 until the break.

Haven set out their stall early in the second-half, virtually reaching the Barrow line with their first set, and crossing it with their second.

Following great work from the elusive Carl Sice, a fine pass from Paul Cullnean put in Hamzat out wide.

Barrow were on the back foot, and centre Chris Larkin did not help their cause when sin-binned for giving an unwanted ‘facial’ on 52 minutes.

Three minutes later, Raiders had their first shot of the half at Haven’s line, only for Liam Campbell to be pulled up for obstruction.

The hosts quickly advanced to the Barrow line, Carl Rudd putting in a kick for Craig Calvert to chase.

Sam Gee spilled the re-start but quickly made up for his error, dispossessing Liam Harrison as he took a pass and sprinting between the sticks, Rudd converting.

Cullnean cut loose on the next set and Barrow knocked the ball in to touch five metres out.

Cullnean was then dispossessed illegally in the shadow of the Barrow posts and the prop charged through, only to be held up over the line.

The Raiders regained the initiative when Andreas Bauer was penalised for lying-on, and Toal was held inches short.

Kaighan’s 40-20 kept them on the front-foot, Harrison spilling the ball under pressure as he tried to power over the line.

Barrow made sure of victory in the closing moments, Campbell creating space for Toal to exploit, Haney completing the move.

Whitehaven: Ackerley, Calvert, Wilson, Wiper, Hamzat, Rudd, Gee, Haggerty, Sice, Varkulis, Cunningham, Barker, Beattie. Subs: Bauer, Fox, O’Neill, Cullnean.

Tries: Hamzat, Gee; Goals: Rudd 1

Barrow: Ballard, Haney, J Finch, Larkin, Backhouse, Kaighan, Campbell, Bracek, L Finch, McGoff, Harrison, Pugh, Toal. Subs: Marwood, Gordon, Venter, Dutton.

Tries: Toal 2, Harrison, Haney: Goals: Kaighan 1

Attendance: 902

Referee: Gareth Hewer

Star Man: Matthew Haggerty

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