Newcastle Thunder 14 Workington Town 30

Workington Town opened their Kingstone Press League One Super 8s campaign with a comfortable win over Newcastle Thunder on Sunday, as Dave Clark’s side avoided a season’s whitewash at the hands of the Tynesiders.

Town were in control for large periods of the game and crucially took their opportunities when they presented themselves, as they closed the gap to the end-of-season play-off positions to just three points.

Town gave an early indication of what was to come in the opening exchanges as they withstood an initial attack from the hosts before launching an impressive period of attack of their own, one which saw them enforce repeat sets on their hosts and go close to crossing.

And though Thunder took the lead with the game’s opening score, it was Town who went on to enjoy the better of the opening 40 minutes as they played intelligently, looked after possession and took their opportunities when they presented themselves.

They responded to going a score down almost immediately, thanks to Gabriel Fell who finished off some excellent work from Callum Phillips and Stevie Scholey.

Taking the ball in his own half, Phillips' arcing run cut through the Thunder defence and as the cover defence closed down, a clever pass out of the back and in the opposite direction of travel, found hands in the shape of Scholey.

He too wasn’t fully clear of defenders but with a surging Fell out on the wing, he placed a well-weighted kick that bobbled kindly for the score.

A missed conversion meant that Town still trailed, but that was rectified through Macauley Davies on 21 minutes, with the second-row ghosting through a gap opened up by neat passing for a try converted by Jamie Doran.

While Thunder were mounting attacks, Town were equal to them and when the hosts were reduced to 12 men on 28 minutes with the sin-binning of Danny Nicklas, it offered an opportunity to extend their advantage.

That was duly taken through Joe Hambley and Town were looking good for their lead, before a spirited end to the half from the hosts tied things up at 14-14, thanks to a converted Brett Waller try and Benn Hardcastle penalty goal.

Starting from square one, Town regained the lead eight minutes after the break after they rolled the dice on a fifth tackle close to the Thunder line.

Attempting to barge their way over, the hosts appeared to have successfully held Town up in the tackle but somehow the ball was worked loose and back in field.

A contest for the ball was won by Workington and with the home line not set, Davies was worked in for a try out wide, converted by Doran.

Both sides effectively cancelled each other’s efforts out for the next ten minutes before the key moment that effectively decided the game.

While attacking the Town line, Thunder full-back Lewis Young lashed out as he took exception to the tackle of three of Clark’s men, aiming a head butt at Stuart Howarth and receiving his marching orders as a result.

It gave Town, who had been enjoying the ability to break the home side’s defensive line further room in which to work, which the exploited twice in the space of three minutes around the hour mark to make sure of the result.

The scores allowed all of Town’s scorers for the day to bag a brace, with Fell and Hambley joining Davies in dotting down a double and for the team to return home pleased with a job well done.

NEWCASTLE THUNDER: Lewis Young, Joe Brown, Dan Parker, Derrell Olpherts, Tyler Craig Danny Nicklas, Benn Hardcastle, Liam McAvoy, Evan Simons, Rhys Clarke, Harry Aldous, Stephen Snitch, Jack Aldous, Callum Bustin, Sam Luckley, Vincent Rennie, Brett Waller

TRIES: Craig (8) Waller (34)

GOALS: Hardcastle 3/3

SINBIN: Nicklas (28)

SENT OFF: Young (57)

WORKINGTON TOWN: 1 Theerapol Ritson, Joe Hambley, Jason Mossop, Danny Rasool, Gabriel Fell, Stuart Howarth, Jamie Doran, Conor Fitzsimmons, Callum Phillips, Stevie Scholey, Brett Phillips, Macauley Davies, Perry Singleton, Kyle Shelford, Kris Coward, Jacob Moore, Gordon Maudling

TRIES: Fell (9, 61) Davies (21, 48) Hambley (29, 64)

GOALS: Doran 3/6


HALF-TIME: 14 - 14