Hunslet Club Parkside 16-24 Workington Town

Few Cumbrians will be surprised by the strength of the community game following the success of the county’s amateur clubs in recent years.

Make no mistake, Town boss Leon Pryce drilled into his players the threat that the fastest rising side in the National Conference League posed, before they embarked on their Challenge Cup third round encounter at a sun-drenched but bitterly cold South Leeds Stadium.

Yet, although Workington were never behind, they could never afford to relax, even against a Hunslet Club Parkside outfit reduced to 12 men for two spells during the game.

Tries from Jamie Doran, Sam Forrester, Perry Singleton, Kurt Maudling and Sean Penkywicz kept Town’s noses in front but the team who have risen from the Pennine League, via four consecutive title-winning seasons, to stand among the favourites for the NCL Premier Division this year, refused to admit defeat.

Any doubts about whether Town would take this game lightly were extinguished when Pryce named 15 of the 17-man squad defeated at Keighley in their opening league match just six days beforehand.

Only Jamie Foster, who was taken ill, and Ryan Bailey, rested due to a slight calf strain, were missing with another former Super League star – new signing Jordan Tansey – a notable replacement at full-back while Jamie Doran made his first competitive start of the year at loose forward.

The Yorkshire side – an amalgamation of the former Hunslet Boys and Parkside clubs – made their presence felt from the kick-off with Forrester hustled into an early handling mistake, Doran’s short pass to a crowded out Maudling going to ground and winger Joe Hambley fumbling a towering bomb.

But an eye-catching break from skipper Oliver Wilkes signalled Town’s intentions before a short pass from a lateral running and teasing Carl Forber was thundered on to Doran to open the scoring after ten minutes.

Parkside, historically responsible for producing some of England's greatest talents like Jason Robinson, Garry Schofield and James Lowes, bounced back and more than held their own as they chased and harassed and forced numerous errors.

Town weren’t helped by the loss of Forber to a tight hamstring, while Andrew Dawson also left the field following a knock, and it was little surprise when the home side hit back through an Omar Al Rawi try in the corner.

Parkside captain Jamie Field, an amply proportioned and rare goal-kicking prop forward, narrowly missed with the touchline conversion and the hosts’ cause wasn’t helped by the needless sin-binning of winger Danny Harrison for dissent.

Town took advantage of the man short on their right flank as, five minutes before the break, James Newton and Scott Leatherbarrow combined with a missed final pass which enabled Forrester to reach out and squeeze in at the corner.

Scott Leatherbarrow glanced the top of the wrong side of the upright with the subsequent kick to leave the men from Derwent Park 10-4 ahead.

Craig McShane, younger brother of Castleford Tigers hooker and part-time Parkside coach Paul, made an incisive break to spur a late home charge which ended with Jamie Bradley just failing to successfully chase his own kick in goal.

The South Leeds side’s heart was demonstrated after the restart when a swarm of green drove Town teenager Caine Barnes back three or four metres in a tackle.

But Leatherbarrow converted a Perry Singleton scoot from dummy half to extend the lead and, although Bradley claimed a try back for Hunslet after an opportune ball-steal deep in the Town half, Kurt Maudling responded at the other end to make it 20-10.

Parkside hopes evaporated when powerful prop Adam Biscomb was shown a red card for "gouging", ironically with the ball in hand and after having taken a trio of hapless tacklers several metres downfield.

Town sealed their progression into tomorrow’s fourth-round draw when Wilkes put Sean Penkywicz over, although their was still time for plucky Parkside to claim a third try through Field, an effort that last year’s BARLA and National Conference League Division One Player of the Year duly converted.

Match Facts

Hunslet Club Parkside: McShane, Al Rawi, Harris, Waite, Harrison, Hullock, Rowse, Pettman, Bradley, Fields (c), Shulver, Thompson, Cunningham.

Subs: Hayward, Gaunt, Stubley, Biscomb.

Tries: Al Rawi (29), Bradley (50), Field (79).

Goals: Field (2/3)

Sin Bin: Harrison (30 - dissent)

Sent Off: Adam Biscomb (72 - gouging)

Workington: Tansey, Hambley, Singleton, Akehurst, Forrester, Leatherbarrow, Doran, Forber, Wilkes (c), Penkywicz, Scholey, G Maudling, K Maudling, Ryan.

Subs: Newton, Dawson, Barnes, Leatherbarrow.

Tries: Doran (10), Forrester (35), Singleton (48), K Maudling (62), Penkywicz (77).

Goals: Forber (1/1), Leatherbarrow (1/4).

Half Time: 4-10

Penalties: 9-14

Crowd: 285

Referee: Tom Crashley

Star Men: Stevie Scholey