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Thursday, 17 April 2014

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Workington Town come from behind to beat Whitehaven in cup

Workington Town 22 Whitehaven 14: Some you win, some you lose, and someone has to sing the blues, so the song goes.

And on Sunday it was Whitehaven who were off key as a superb Workington Town outfit grabbed the bragging rights in the local derby.

Town fans never stopped believing and they finally got their day in the sun as Town punished Haven for every mistake and snatched the victory 22-14.

This was a completely different Workington side from the one that was punished 60-6 in the pre-season clash and Whitehaven were hit hard from the start.

There were superb performances across the park, with half-backs Liam Finch and Scott Kaighan directing proceedings. Jarrad Stack was strong up front but the day belonged to the backs. Andrew Beattie was right on form, as was Neil Frazer, Aaron Low, Mike Backhouse and Brett Carter.

Haven kept probing throughout and their defence was strong but any slip up and Town were there to pounce.

Carl Sice made a difference to the Haven side on his introduction to the game, and proved a thorn in the Town side as he looked dangerous on the attack.

But it was Danny Barker who stood out with some strong running and hard hitting defence. Kyle Amor worked hard and Graeme Mattinson showed some flashes of inspiration but on the whole the day belonged to Workington.

Everything went right for Town and their kicking game kept Haven on the back foot, with Finch booting it downfield early in the set on a number of occasions.

There was early excitement for Town as Neil Frazer picked up an interception and broke downfield, racing three-quarters of the pitch before being halted.

The ball then came through several pairs of hands to the left but the final pass went astray and out of play.

Town kept up the pressure, having the majority of possession, an altercation between Jarrad Stack and Dexter Miller saw Haven penalised and used the field position well. An early kick through was just picked up by Benson as Town pressed on.

Another good kick from Liam Finch was chased down by Aaron Low but Danny Barker saved Haven, scooping up the ball but could not stop being bundled out of play.

The first points came after 14 minutes, Scott Kaighan slotting over a penalty after Danny Barker was penalised for a high tackle on the Town scrum-half.

Play immediately shot to the other end as Town knocked-on right in front of their own posts following the restart and Barker came close to scoring.

Then, in some better play from Haven, Graeme Mattinson was held up over the line and Amor went close before being pulled back for a forward pass.

Town’s defence held out well, with some strong tackling on their own line and then they sprang to the other end of the park as Low stole the ball in a one-on-one tackle on Mattinson.

Another Finch kick put the pressure on Benson once again but the Haven full-back dealt with it well, just getting into the field of play.

Town stretched their lead to 4-0 when Richard Farrer was adjudged to have pulled the ball out of the tackle, Kaighan making no mistake with the kick.

Then Haven struck what could have been a killer blow. With five seconds to go until half time, Mattinson scrambled over from acting half back to touch down and Rudd tagged on the conversion to give Haven the lead at the break, 6-4.

But Town were not about to give up and they came back out with renewed vigour, Stack going close in the opening moments of the half and Andrew Beattie making a great break.

With the side on a roll, it was not long before Town were on the scoreboard, a clever reverse kick from Finch was latched on to by Scott Kaighan, ahead of the scrambling Benson.

Kaighan converted his own try and then added a penalty moments later to go 12-6 ahead.

Craig Calvert then knocked on with the try line beckoning, Town fans thought luck was definitely on their side as the Haven speedster looked certain to score.

Kaighan’s kick was charged down and three Haven attackers raced after it, Calvert kicked the ball towards the line but then made a mess of regathering it, knocking the ball forward.

However, he made his amends quickly, when he got onto the end of a kick through from Mattinson and his outstretched hand was the first to touch the ball down.

Rudd tagged on the two points and then added a penalty minutes later when Town were penalised for lying on, with Jamie Marshall sent to cool his heels in the sin bin.

At this point it looked as though Haven might put their foot on the gas, two points ahead and with an extra man but they failed to press home their advantage and it was Town who got back on top.

James Finch drove forward towards the Haven line but was stopped just short. The ball came out and Finch put in a lovely crossfield kick, which Neil Frazer leaped to catch, beating the Haven defence to touch down.

Ryan MacDonald was then penalised for a swinging arm against Stack and Kaighan slotted over the resulting penalty to go four points clear at 18-14.

There were some hairy moments for Town as Haven tried to come back and snatch the game but, with four minutes to go, the home side struck the killer blow.

And it was that man Scott Kaighan who did it, with a 50-metre interception, handing off Benson on his way to the try line.

He missed the conversion but the day belonged to Town and a delighted home crowd, who could celebrate derby bragging rights for the first time in a few years.

Town will go into the start of the Championship One season next weekend full of hope for the coming season.

But there will be questions asked at Haven as they have a week to regroup before starting their own league campaign.

Workington: Carter, Backhouse, Beattie, Low, Frazer, L Finch, Kaighan, McGoff, Pedley, Coward, Whitehead, Stack, Coupar. Subs (all used): Marshall, J Finch, McKenna, Bragg.

Tries: Kaighan 45, 76, Frazer 66; Goals: Kaighan 5

Sin Bin: Jamie Marshall 62

Whitehaven: Benson, Eilbeck, R Fox, R Jackson, Calvert, Rudd, Govin, M Jackson, Mattinson, Amor, S Miller, D Miller, Barker. Subs (all used): Sice, Farrer, MacDonald, Thornley.

Tries: Mattinson 39, Calvert 60; Goals: Rudd 3.

Referee: Matthew Thomason

Attendance 763.

Star Man: Scott Kaighan.

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