Workington Town 24 Whitehaven 28: Whitehaven edged a nail-biting Championship derby over Workington Town which went right down to the final whistle.

The beleagured Haven side rose to the challenge under the direction of four experienced players, since the sacking of coach James Coyle last week, and they had just enough left in the tank to take the win.

This leaves both teams still in the two relegation berths after Swinton snatched a late 40-38 win at Sheffield Eagles. The Cumbrians are back on level pegging on 13 points but Town just ahead on points difference.

Town began well before Haven struck back and went into a commanding lead.

But the home side were not about to roll over and they produced a late charge that brought them right back into contention.

In a frantic final few minutes Town threw everything they had at Haven but the visitor’s strong defence just held out much to the delight of the travelling fans.

Both packs had a big say in the game with strong runs from Town’s Marc Shackley and Stevie Scholey and Haven’s Dave Allen and Carl Forster.

Dion Aiye pushed Haven around the field with Chris Taylor proving swift and effective out wide.

Jack Murphy had a strong game for Town, with Tee Ritson and Jason Mossop also to the fore.

Both sides were affected by injury with Town hooker Callum Phillips forced off the field with an ankle problem early on.

And with Matt Gee also limping to the touchline, coach Phil Veivers will face an anxious wait for the results on the treatment table.

Haven’s Grant Gore also had to leave the field along with Jessie Joe Parker who also took a knock.

Workington got off to the best possible start as Grant Gore’s kick-off went straight into touch.

Using their advantage, Jarrod Sammut popped up a nice little pass close to the line and Marc Shackley burst over, twisting to put the ball down just into the second minute. And Sammut converted.

Ryan Ince had a chance for Haven as he sped up the touchline but he was caught by Tee Ritson and put into touch.

Town were back on the attack but the final long ball to Declan Hulme was too high for the winger to control and the chance was gone.

There was a blow on 10 minutes when hooker Callum Phillips had to leave the field on crutches and Jamie Doran replaced him.

Haven were then penalised in front of the posts and Sammut stepped up to boot over the kick and make it 8-0.

The visitors came back on 18 minutes as they whipped the ball out wide and Chris Taylor crossed the line, with Jouffret converting.

Then Ed Chamberlain crossed in the opposite corner but Jouffret’s conversion attempt hit the post as Haven went ahead at 10-8.

Carl Forster nearly made it three for Haven as he was halted just in front of the posts.

Then at the opposite end of the field, both Tee Ritson and Declan Hulme made great breaks but Town could not make the possession pay off.

Ryan Ince made a great run from deep inside his own half to Town’s 40-yard line where he was finally halted by Karl Olstrom.

Haven then took it to the line and Taylor popped up a nice little ball for Jessie Joe Parker to stroll over, Jouffret converting and the score stood at 16-8 in the visitors’ favour at half time.

Town were close to putting the first points of the second half on the board when Tom Walker was held up over the line. But then Haven upped a gear again, Sammut having to make a crucial tackle on the attacking Taylor.

Mossop dived gratefully onto a neat grubber in front of the posts and minutes later Town conceded a drop-out as Ritson had to drop on the ball behind the line.

Penalties helped Haven gain field advantage and then they forced another drop-out from beneath the Town posts,

Town opted for a short ball and it went right to Dion Aiye who then strolled through the defence to touch down. Jouffret was on target with the extras.

They were making it look easy when Ben Davies pushed past the missed tackle of Verlinden and he went clear.

He drew the defence and fed the supporting Taylor who touched down near the posts leaving Jouffret an easy conversion.

But you cannot write off this Workington outfit. Just when it looked as though it was all over, back they came.

Marc Shackley was held up over the line and Ben Davies was put in the sin bin for a high tackle on the prop.

And while Haven were down to 12-men they struck.

Jamie Doran cut through to score between the posts after 63 minutes but Sammut hit the post from the conversion. Then Declan Hulme dropped the ball over the line as he aimed for the corner.

But Town had the upper-hand and Forber danced through the Haven line and fed the supporting Sammut who twisted over the line.

Sammut quickly converted and Town were back to within 10 points with 12 minutes remaining.

Jamie Doran made the game very interesting with six minutes remaining as he stretched out an arm to score.

Sammut’s conversion brought Town to within four points of Haven with all now to play for.

It was nip and tuck and when Town got a scrum right on the Haven try line with 30 seconds remaining, everyone held their breath.

They flung the ball about but Sammut’s final kick went into Haven arms and they gratefully held out for the final hooter.

Neither side are safe from the threat of relegation but both will live to fight another day.

Workington Town: Murphy, Ritson, Gee, Mossop, Hulme, Forber, Sammut, Gordon, C Phillips, Coward, Shackley, McAvoy, Olstrom. Subs (all used): Doran, Walker, Verlinden, Scholey

Tries: Shackley, Doran (2), Sammut; Goals: Sammut 4

Whitehaven: Jouffret, Ince, Taylor, Parker, Chamberlain, Aiye, Gore, Walker, Carberry, T Chapelhow, Fox, Forster, Allen. Subs (all used): Newton, Davies, Riley, Perez

Tries: Taylor (2), Chamberlain, Parker, Aiye; Goals: Jouffret 4/5

Referee: Joe Cobb

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