Workington Town were left to rue a nightmare opening on Sunday afternoon as they fell to a 30-22 Betfred League 1 defeat to Newcastle Thunder at Kingston Park.

Town were 18-0 down after just 14 minutes as Newcastle fought back from a positive start from Chris Thorman’s side, with a trio of quick-fire tries that had seemingly put them into total control.

But in an impressively resolute showing, Town ran riot against last season’s beaten play-off finalists, and will count themselves unlucky not to have completed an impressive fightback.

They got back onto an even keel after a fortuitous kick ahead allowed Hadley Dawson to get his side off the mark after 18 minutes.

For large periods of the game, Town were very much on the front foot.

Having ridden out the early storm, Town made the most of chaos in the Thunder defensive line to add to further well taken tries before the break.

The first came from Carl Forber, who forced his way over as Workington made the most of a reset of the tackle count, by a knock on in the air by Thunder, and the second through a barging effort from Jamie Doran, with the half flattening Ireland captain Bob Beswick on his way to the line.

Thunder squandered a simple penalty chance on the half-time hooter to retake a lead, but there was no doubt that momentum had shifted in favour of the visitors at the close of the half.

The second forty began in much the same way as the first, with Workington looking threatening, but with the hosts doing just enough to keep them at bay and holding out until they were able to engineer a try of their own.

Newcastle got their noses back in front courtesy of Kieran Gill, as the centre backed himself on the fifth tackle to crash over after coming onto the ball at pace, before a successful Dean penalty gave the hosts a six-point advantage.

That was almost immediately wiped out however as another rapid Town attack yielded a try out wide.

Regathering the kick-off, Alex Young was played in on the flank thanks to some swift hands, with just the missed conversion allowing Newcastle to remain in front.

When Gill scored his second with 13 minutes left, Workington again pressured a mistake from the hosts at the restart and only a superb defensive effort from Lewis Young prevented a certain score for the visitors.

With Workington looking to set up a grandstand finish, Thunder needed further defensive heroics to relieve pressure on their line, with Sam Luckley the man who forced a crucial turnover in the closing stages and gave the home side the opportunity to close out an important win.

Match facts

Newcastle Thunder: Young, Gibson, Wright, Gill, Clegg, Lualu Togaga’e, Dean, Santi, Beswick, Wood, Lawton, Aldous, Luckley, Blake, Simons, Clarke, Brown

Tries: Lawton (5), Gibson (9), Dean (14), Gill (47, 67)

Goals: Dean 5/7

Workington: Fell, Hall, Miller, Wellington, Young, Doran, Forber, Dawson, O’Brien, Fitzsimmons, Barnes, Scholey, Dawson, Marwood, Moi Moi, Curwen, Wilson

Tries: Dawson (18), Forber (27), Doran (36) Young (65)

Goals: Forber 3/4

Penalties: 7/6

HT: 18-18

Referee: Michael Mannifield

Attendance: 1,011

Star Man: Jamie Doran