The bragging rights stayed with Whitehaven as they regained the Ike Southward Memorial Trophy in a full-blooded West Cumbrian derby played on a heavy pitch in a typical pre-season encounter.

Whitehaven had got the better of their West Cumbrian rivals three times in competitive meetings last season but had fallen to a defeat in the pre-season clash at Derwent Park.

Yesterday it was a cagey start as expected between the two sides with it being both sides’ opening pre-season encounter and both looking to get rid of their rustiness from their off-season. It was the visitors, however, that did have the best of the opening stages but couldn’t find a clear-cut opportunity. A raft of changes were made around the opening quarter which disrupted both sides and the opening score came shortly after.

Ciaran Walker crafted an opportunity finding space in the Haven defence and threw a dummy which Haven full-back Sam Freeman fell for and the young half-back went over untouched, grounding the ball under the sticks and leaving a simple conversion for fellow half-back Carl Forber to slot over in the 22nd minute.


Whitehaven win the Ike Southward Trophy 2023 after beating Workington Town 22-6 Pictures: Ben Challis Sport Photography


Errors started to creep into the game as the half went on and tiredness kicked in and the score seemed to be locked in heading into the half time break.

Karl Dixon had other ideas. Lachlan Lanskey was hauled down just short of the try line with the whitewash begging, being unable to offload into the waiting hands of Dixon. Alex Bishop dived into dummy half and put a grubber in. Dixon reacted the quickest and touched down in the final minute of the half. Sam Freeman’s conversion after the hooter left the scores level at the half- time break.

The second half was much more in the favour of the home side as they scored three unanswered tries to secure the victory. The opening score of the half came from Curtis Teare as the winger finished acrobatically into the left-hand corner and puddles of the Railway End. The ball came to Teare following what seemed a wild offload from Dixon but the ball fell into Haven hands and the resulting pass from Teare allowed the four pointer. Freeman converted from the touchline in what was his last action of the match.

The home side touched down shortly after through the returning Alex Bishop on his return after being left with a smashed Kneecap in Haven’s Challenge Cup tie vs St Helens last March. The Australian stood up the Town defence with a step and took full advantage of the resulting gap to touchdown.


Workington bring down Whitehaven’s Sam Freeman

Workington bring down Whitehaven’s Sam Freeman.  Pictures: Ben Challis Sport Photography


The half-back couldn’t convert his own try, leaving the gap at 10 points. In typical pre-season the changes kept coming with both coaches looking to give their respective players as much as game time as possible. This disrupted the flow of the game somewhat and seemed to being come to a damp squib of a close. No one had told Lachlan Lanskey, however. The Australian was on the end of a flowing right to left move with the ball. The final pass came from Jamie Doran to Lanskey with the move spreading the Town defence and Lanskey exploited the gap to cross the whitewash and ensure the Ike Southward Trophy returned to the LEL Arena. Trialist Lewis Fairhurst converted the try with less than five minutes to go.



1 Sam Freeman; 2 Dave Eccleston; 3 Chris Taylor; 6 Karl Dixon; 4 Curtis Teare; 14 Jamie Doran; 7 Alex Bishop; 28 Ross Ainley; 21 Marcus O’Brien; 10 Tom Walker; 11 Connor Holliday; 12 Lachlan Lanskey; 8 Liam McAvoy. Subs: 13 Dion Aiye; 18 Perry Singleton; 20 Jake Bradley; 22 Lucas Castle; 24 Daniel Spencer-Tonks; 26 Lewis Fairhurst; 29 John Hutchings.

Tries: Dixon (39), Teare (46), Bishop (53), Lanskey (74).

Goals: Freeman 2/2, Bishop 0/1, Fairhurst 1/1


1 Jordan Burns; 5 Ethan Bickerdike; 4 Jason Mossop; 3 Earl Hurst; 19 Max Anderson-Moore; 6 Ciaran Walker; 7 Carl Forber; 10 Stevie Scholey; 9 Matty Henson; 8 Jordan Thomson; 12 Caine Barnes; 11 Malik Steele; 13 Tom Curwen. Subs: 14 Blain Marwood; 15 Fergus Simpson; 16 JJ Key; 30 Grant Reid; 18 Liam McNicholas; 20 Jack Stephenson; 21 Aaron Burns; 17 Joe Kirkup; 2 Sean Sabutey.

Tries: Walker (22)

Goals: Forber 1/1

Penalty count: 4-4

Half-time: 6-6

Referee: Brad Milligan

Attendance: Not Given