Whitehaven 32 London Broncos 18

Gary Charlton’s Whitehaven continued their fantastic home form – which now sees them with five consecutive home wins and reducing the gap on their opponents who currently occupy the final play-off place heading into the final week of the Championship season.

Many will have scoffed at the idea of Haven being amongst the play-off race but their run of home victories sees them as one of the in-form teams in the division with their status seemingly secured.

The home side fell behind after just five minutes after the Broncos’ leading try scorer Abbas Miski scored his 16th of the season as he outjumped opposite number Andrew Bulman from a James Meadows kick to the corner. Chris Hankinson converted with his trusty left boot.

It was the home side who soon hit back, though, as another kick caused trouble. A Karl Dixon kick was allowed to bounce and was collected by Lachlan Walmsley, Walmsley found Wilkinson on his inside who grounded the ball despite the best effort of the Broncos’ defenders. Walmsley converted to level the score.

The visitors were coming into this game on the back of a thumping home defeat at the hands of unbeaten league leaders Toulouse and, being deducted points for not fulfilling their away fixture against the French outfit, were looking to secure the points to make sure their play-off dream continues. They looked to be doing this as they scored two tries either side of the opening quarter to open up a 12 point advantage.

Josh Hodson and Rhys Curran scored similar tries as the home defence found themselves unable to stop short powerful runs in the 18th and 23rd minute respectively. Chris Hankinson converted both tries to maintain a 100% record with the boot.

Haven soon had opportunities to hit back and had one chalked off on the half-hour mark following an Andrew Bulman touchdown as obstruction was called against Chris Taylor in the build up. But that was soon forgotten about when Liam Cooper was able to work through some soft defence from the visitors and ground the ball. Walmsley converted to reduce the halftime advantage for the visitors to only six points.

The second half was all about Whitehaven as they kept the Broncos scoreless as well as scoring 20 points of their own to secure the victory. Andrew Bulman powered over Wigan-bound Miski in the 46th minute with Walmsley converting the touchline conversion to level the score. He was also able to convert his next effort at goal.

A penalty goal following a ball steal which allowed the home side to take a lead they never relinquished. From London’s next set of six Karl Dixon stripped the ball in a one-on-one tackle and then found Nikau Williams who finished the move off with a swallow dive to the delight of the home fans. Walmsley maintained a 100% record with the boot.

Walmsley went from try converter to try scorer 15 minutes from time as he continued with his trademark acrobatic finishes to make sure the Cumbrians’ impressive home streak continued. He maintained his 100% record with the boot with a fantastic touchline conversion once again. The visitors had several opportunities to try and reduce the deficit but couldn’t keep hold of the ball close to the Haven line and were consigned to their second successive defeat.

WHITEHAVEN: 1 Gregg McNally, 5 Andrew Bulman, 3 Chris Taylor, 23 Jason Mossop, 2 Lachlan Walmsley, 6 Karl Dixon, 7 Nikau Williams, 8 Marc Shackley, 18 James Newton, 17 Tom Walker, 19 Ellis Gillam, 12 Liam Cooper, 16 Tom Wilkinson. Subs: 9 Callum Phillips, 13 Dion Aiye, 26 Ryan King, 27 Andrew Dawson.

Tries: Wilkinson (10), Cooper (35), Bulman (46), Williams (54), Walmsley (64). Goals: Walmsley 6/6.

BRONCOS: 22 Oliver Leyland, 17 Abbas Miski, 3 Chris Hankinson, 23 Josh Hodson, 19 Jacob Ogden, 1 James Meadows, 21 Rian Horsman, 10 Greg Richards, 9 Matt Fozard, 28 Titus Gwaze, 12 Rhys Curran, 13 Josh Walters, 16 Daniel Hindmarsh. Subs: 26 Rob Oakley, 25 Jacob Jones, 31 Pat Moran, 18 Jordan Williams.

Tries: Miski (5), Hodson (18), Curran (24). Goals: Hankinson 3/3.