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Thursday, 17 April 2014

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Workington Town bosses can take positives from away defeat

Swinton Lions 30 Workington Town 12: Workington Town’s final appearance in the National Rail Cup was their least convincing, but even so there were some positives for the management team.

Brett Carter photo
Brett Carter

Trailing 20-6 at half-time, Town had slipped further behind at 30-6 within 15 minutes of the restart, but in the final quarter of the game the only points came from the Cumbrians.

There was plenty of commitment from Town but too many unforced errors with most of the damage done in the first-half.

Losing 10-6 to a Championship side over a 40-minute period was creditable after what had gone before, while there were stand-out performances from Brett Carter, Jamie Thackray and Graeme Mattinson to cheer the coaches and the travelling fans.

Gary Charlton and Martin Oglanby, as they had pledged from the start of the competition, moved players about to look at various options and give squad members as much game time as they could.

They are looking to be ready for the start of what really matters, Championship One and the visit of Oldham on Sunday, although after this third NRC defeat Charlton admitted there was still some fine tuning to do.

But Swinton were smarting from three straight defeats in the competition and were determined to go into their own Championship test on the back of a victory.

Coach Steve McCormack had more time to prepare his Lions for this final test, with a week’s grace, after the first three games had been fitted into the space of seven days. It showed, too, as they came out of the traps very smartly and with purpose.

Swinton got the flying start they needed with a score in the second minute of the game. Ian Watson hoisted a kick on last tackle for the corner and Tom Armstrong stretched best of all to collect ahead of Nick Johnson and go over for an unconverted try.

Workington had to withstand some early pressure, and had started to make inroads themselves, but unfortunately couldn’t keep the ball long enough to do damage.

When the Lions started to gain the upper hand again Town needed a fine try-saving tackle by Carter to stop loose forward Chaz I’Anson. But it was only a temporary reprieve as when the home side moved the ball quickly there was a simple touchdown for Martin Ainscough, which Gavin Dodd converted.

Full-back Richie Hawkyard was a constant threat, coming quickly and positively into the line, to spark a series of incisive attacks from the Lions.

It was his brother, Darren Hawkyard who added to Swinton’s lead on 25 minutes with a simple touchdown in the corner after Town had run short of defenders.

Mattinson, when he arrived from the bench along with Thackray, proved to be an influential figure and Town were certainly a more potent force. It was the former Wath Whitehaven star who set-up Town’s first try on the half-hour with a dart and a well-times pass for Elliott Miller to cross near the corner and then run round to dot down behind the posts. Carl Forber added the conversion.

At 14-6 Town were back in the game but four minutes later they were ripped open again as the effervescent Richie Hawkyard dashed through on the right before slipping in his brother for another simple score which Dodd converted.

Swinton started the second-half positively and within six minutes had added to their lead. The ball was shipped along the line tom find Armstrong who went over for his second try.

When Town were forced to drop-out Swinton continued to press forward and eventually a long pass found Dodd in space out wide and he managed to get in for the sixth Lions try as the cover arrived too late. Karl Ashall added the conversion.

But from then Workington refused to buckle any more in defence and with Thackray, in particular running strongly, they started to pose a few problems for their hosts.

On 65 minutes they scored a deserved second try. Miller cut in from the wing and managed to slip the pass for Marc Shackley to power over for the try which Forber converted.

The next try Workington score will surely count for more as it will be an essential building brick in their aim to erect a strong and sustained bid for Championship One success.

Workington Town: Carter, Miller, Olstrum, J. Dawes, Johnson, Petersen, Forber, Green, King, Farrer, Whitehead, Shackley, Robinson. Subs (all used): Gaskell, Mattinson, Coward, Thackray.

Tries: Miller, Shackley; Goals: Forber (2).

Swinton: R. Hawkyard, Dodd, Higson, Armstrong, Foxen, Ainscough, Watson, Holland, Smith, Wingfield, Gorski, D. Hawkyard, I’Anson. Subs (all used): Mills, Meekin, Cunniffe, Ashall.

Tries: D. Hawkyard (2), Armstrong (2), Ainscough, Dodd. Goals: Dodd (2), Ashall.

Referee: Clint Sharrad

Crowd: 503

Star man: Brett Carter - Restored to his best position at full-back, ran well from deep, supported well and was also a key figure in defence. Might have to go back to stand-off next week though if there’s no positive news about Peter Lupton.

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