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Tuesday, 22 July 2014

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Stuttering start to new league season for Workington Town

Workington Town 14 Oldham 24: Disappointment hung heavy in the air at Derwent Park yesterday as Workington Town lost their opening Championship One clash with Oldham.

Jason Mossop photo
Jason Mossop

A lot is expected from the Town side this season, with so much at stake and the 24-10 defeat at home was not the start anyone wanted.

It was an error-strewn game, with Town never reaching the heights they have in several of their Northern Rail Cup clashes.

There was some promise in the opening encounters but it failed to really materialise and they were left looking pretty average at times.

Jamie Thackray gave his all after coming on off the bench and he gave them the go-forward they appeared to be lacking.

But a combination of errors and a large penalty count on their backs meant all they could do was salvage a bonus point from the encounter. It started well for the home side, in front of an eager crowd as they scored in just the fifth minute.

Ryan MacDonald refused to go to ground when surrounded by the Oldham defence and flicked a pass out to Carl Forber. The half-back swiftly spread the ball wide and Daniel Rooney was waiting to dive over in the corner, but Forber’s conversion drifted in front of the posts.

Jarrad Stack went close as Town capitalised on a couple of Oldham errors to reach their danger zone but they couldn’t make the advantage pay.

Then Oldham scrum-half Jamie Dallimore took advantage of a quick tap and scorched down the field, just a slight ankle tap from Jonathan Dawes slowing him down enough for the Town defence to regroup.

Then Jason Mossop and Karl Olstrum combined with some tough tackling to keep out former Town star Mark McCully.

Oldham were upping their game and Town were trying too hard to force their passes at times and were conceding too much ball.

The visitors eventually got on the scoresheet after 25 minutes when John Gillam danced round the defence to touch down in the corner and Dallimore converted to take the lead at 6-4.

Carl Forber made a great break to put Town back into the right gear but again too many forced passes saw the home side lose possession. It took until one minute from half-time before Town got back in the lead, Mossop touching down after a scramble for the loose ball over the line and Forber converting for 10-6. Thackray combined well with both Forber and Graeme Mattinson to set up further opportunities for Town but again they could not make them pay as the second half opened.

And, on the back of an increasing penalty count from referee Warren Turley, Oldham began to gain the upper hand.

Dallimore broke and released Mark Brocklehurst to propel Oldham up to the Town line but Paul Smith just knocked on as he tried to stretch out for the line.

But it only looked like a matter of time before Oldham would collect on their pressure and it was. They ran in two tries in seven minutes with Miles Greenwood and then McCully both going over the whitewash and Dallimore adding two more conversion to put them 18-10 ahead. Town tried to strike back and were lucky not to be caught out on the break when Brocklehurst scooped up a loose ball and began to stride out. This time it was Johnson who just got a hand to the Oldham centre to stop his flight.

Mattinson then stepped up to the plate for Town with quick thinking and a great step putting him through the watching Oldham defenders but he was held just short of the line.

Workington set up a tense final 10 minutes when they finally got back in the match with a try from Karl Olstrum, playing slightly out of his comfort zone on the wing.

Town swung the ball wide out to the right and Marc Shackley slipped the ball out to Olstrum who went over in the corner, but too wide for Forber to add the extras.

At this point it looked as though Town could come back and snatch the win but instead it was Oldham who got the all important final points.

With three minutes remaining, their prop Chris Clarke got his just rewards for his efforts when he went over, with Dallimore converting to give Oldham the win at 24-14.

Workington Town: J Dawes, Johnson, Mossop, Rooney, Olstrum, Bainbridge, Forber, MacDonald, Mattinson, Coward, Phillips, Stack, Peterson. Subs: Green, Whitehead, Shackley, Thackray.

Tries: Rooney, Mossop, Olstrum; Goals: Forber 1/3.

Oldham: Greenwood, Robinson, Fogarty, Brocklehurst, Gillam, N Roden, Dllimore, Boults, Clough, Clarke, Noone, Smith, M Roden. Subs: McCully, Whitmore, Ellison, Syron.

Tries: Gillam, Greenwood, McCully, Clarke.

Goals: Dallimore 4/4.

Referee: Warren Turley (Leigh).

Half time: 10-6.

Attendance: 760.

Star Man: Jamie Thackray.

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