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Sunday, 21 September 2014

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Rampant Workington Town sweep aside lacklustre Whitehaven

Whitehaven 12 Workington Town 30: The switch in the balance of power in west Cumbrian rugby league was confirmed yesterday as Workington Town swept aside Whitehaven at the Recreation Ground.

Rugby league action photo
Whitehaven's Howard Hill is halted by Town’s Brett Phillips

Town followed up their Northern Rail Cup triumph at Derwent Park with this almost-as-emphatic league success.

Haven have no chance of regaining the upperhand until they address their problem in the pack.

Their forwards were again steamrollered by a Town pack in which Brett Phillips, Marc Shackley, Graeme Mattinson and Jamie Thackray were outstanding.

Stand-off Marc Bainbridge’s tactical kicking game was a constant threat and full-back Brett Carter was hard to hold when he chimed in to the line.

Carl Rudd did his best for Haven, and centre Jessie Joe Parker made his debut, but playing behind a beaten pack his chances were limited.

Andrew Beattie put in a decent tackling stint and prop Dave Houghton tried hard, though the hosts were second-best across the park. Rudd and Carl Forber swapped early penalties before Carter broke from his own half on 10 minutes.

He did not panic as he closed in on the Haven line and found Jason Mossop in support, the centre going between the sticks and Forber adding the second of his six goals.

Rudd probed for Haven, chipping the defence only to find Carter mopping up at the back, and then kicking through for Craig Calvert, who was unable to take the ball at pace.

Prop Matthew Haggerty’s fumble at the play-the-ball 30 metres from his line presented Town with a chance, Shackley’s try off a Bainbridge kick ruled out for offside.

Two quick penalties kept Town on the offensive, and when Thackray was stripped in the tackle, Forber slotted the resulting penalty.

Thackray continued to look dangerous, a superb tackle from Beattie stopping another threatening raid by the ex-Super League prop.

The scoreboard did not really reflect Town’s domination, though Haven could have no complaints when Workington scored in the last action of the half.

The ball was still in the Town half when the hooter sounded, and when it was hoofed ahead, Elliott Miller held off Calvert and Parker in the race to the line. Forber’s conversion made it 16-2 at the break.

Workington increased their advantage in the 50th minute, dummy-half Mattinson choosing the short side and Jarrad Stack powering over from close range.

Carter spilled the re-start to give Haven a strong attacking position, but the defence held firm, Lee Doran, their strongest go-forward packman, driven back over 10 metres in one phenomenal gang tackle.

Haven finally replied on the hour mark, Calvert latching on to Rudd’s dab over the top to score, Rudd adding the extras.

Haven had something to build on, but on their next set, a Luke Isakka pass sailed in to touch. Doran was then penalised for interference, and after they were caught ripping the ball, Town made them pay.

Phillips, who has a great future in the game, steamed on to Bainbridge’s flat pass to score.

Martyn Wilson crossed out wide on 72 minutes to give Haven the chance of a bonus point, though Rudd was unable to slot the goal from an acute angle.

Doran looked to break from deep on the next set only to be brought back for crossing after a mix-up with Jonny Youds, Forber pushing out the score to 28-12.

Shackley looked set to finally get on the scoreheet against his old club when Thackray pushed a pass out of a tackle and the forward showed great pace to sprint over 30 metres to the line.

But his effort was again chalked off, this time for a forward pass. Town rounded off their day with a MacDonald penalty.

On this form, Town should be a good bet for promotion.

But Haven surely need extra firepower up front if they are to have any hope of being in the shake-up.

Whitehaven: Youds, Calvert, Wilson, McAvoy, Wiper, Rudd, Karalius, Houghton, Smith, Hill, Isakka, Doran, Beattie. Subs: Parker, Varkulis, Cullnean, Haggerty.

Tries: Calvert, Wilson; Goals: Rudd 2

Workington Town: Carter, Miller, Mossop, Rooney, S Dawes, Bainbridge, Forber, MacDonald, Mattinson, Coward, Phillips, Shackley, Olstrum. Subs: Stack, Whitehead, Thackray, Robinson.

Tries: Mossop, Miller, Stack, Phillips; Goals: Forber 6, MacDonald

Attendance: 1,529

Referee: Matt Thomason

Workington Town star man: Brett Carter

Whitehaven star man: Andrew Beattie

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