Workington Zebras leave Egremont in trouble after win
Last updated at 20:45, Thursday, 15 March 2012
Workington were deserving 31-14 winners in the West Cumbrian derby at Egremont in North Lancs Cumbria.
Zebras are now safe from relegation but Egremont have to keep looking over their shoulders at De La Salle who are 11 points behind with a game in hand, but who beat Eccles 17-7 at the week-end.
Zebras both started and finished the game well to win and in doing so claimed the bonus point with four tries.
They began by controlling the ball and putting the home defence under pressure with Michael Fearon converting the first penalty in the third minute when the defence was caught offside.
Five minutes later the ball was moved wide and Fearon found enough room to put Simon Beare through a gap and the Kiwi scored the first try which Fearon converted.
The home side lost winger Robert Hail to a shoulder injury.
But the reshuffled side with Mark Graham going into the centre from back row certainly strengthened the home defence.
It was Graham as well who was the focus of their revival, with some strong drives into the heart of Zebras’ defence.
Zebras however kept plugging away and Fearon converted penalties in the 15th and 26th minute to extend their lead to 16-0.
Egremont were reeling and it took some time before they threatened the Workington try-line when their forwards caught line-out ball and went close to scoring after driving a maul.
The Egremont forwards were beginning to come more into the game and after driving line-out possession they released the ball to the backs and stand-off Marc Long fed a short pass to centre Michael Burrow who broke through and side-stepped his way over for a try which Long then converted.
Almost immediately Egremont failed to find touch with a penalty kick and Zebras full back Kevin Harper made ground before releasing the rest of the back line and Robert Scott finished off a fine move to score from the 22-metre line.
Egremont started the second half in a more determined fashion and after moving the ball along their three-quarter line a kick ahead by Graham Temple took play into the Workington 22.
Unfortunately, for the visitors they continued to make mistakes and couldn’t capitalise.
They failed to find touch with another penalty kick and shortly afterwards they had a man sin-binned for infringing at a ruck.
Workington immediately took advantage by putting the penalty into touch close to the Egremont try-line where they won the line-out ball and David Bowe led a drive to the line where scrum-half Andrew Branthwaite touched down for a try in the corner.
Zebras had another couple of other chances to score when the ball ran unkindly for both wings Bede O’Connor and in the case of Callum Moffat only the narrow dead ball line prevented what would have seen him score from just inside his own half.
The Egremont forwards came more into the game with some determined surges led by Martin Grealish, Mark Cottam and Nigel Douglas until after pressing for 10 minutes they finally drove over the line.
John Musgrave touched down for a well-deserved try which Long converted to put Egremont back in with a chance of a bonus point.
But it was Workington who got the bonus point when Egremont were again reduced to 14 men through a sin-binning.
Zebras finished the game on top and earned the fourth try bonus point from the last play of the game.
Young reserve hooker Callum McKay received the ball five metres out and instead of passing dummied the two defenders in front of him and went through to score his try.
St Benedict’s had some bad luck in their 18-3 defeat at league leaders Kirkby Lonsdale.
Sandbach and Aspatria are leaving the North One West in different directions and on Saturday champions-elect simply had too much pace for Aspatria and ran out comfortable winners 43-17.
Aspatria are not yet relegated and played a full part in this highly entertaining encounter but realistically there is no escape route for the Bower Park side.
Sandbach played an expansive game and this paid-off with seven tries scored; all from broken play and often from deep within the home side’s half.
Aspatria got off to their seemingly traditional poor start when possession was handed back to Sandbach at the kick-off and this possession turned into the first try with just 30 seconds on the clock.
In between Sandbach scores Aspatria played some fluent rugby but a well-drilled defence prevented any hope of a comeback.
The visitors finally got on the scoreboard with the last move of the first half. From a five metre scrum, Mike Fagan burst to the line from the number eight position and offloaded to Graham Andrews who crashed over.
This brought the score back to 24-5 at the half way mark. The result of the game might not have been in doubt but the score aided Black Red morale and signalled that the second period was to be a more even contest as they traded try for try with the home side.
Both the Aspatria second-half scores had the stamp of quality with the opportunities built by an all-team effort but finished with magnificent solo efforts.
Firstly, Andrew Miller broke the Sandbach line to race in from 30 metres. This was closely followed by Lee Tinnion who rounded the defence with a 50-metre charge.
There is no disgrace in losing to a Sandbach side that had quality all along the back line and were at the top of their game.
Indeed, Aspatria coach Mike Scott, saw some individual performances that will give him every encouragement that next season Aspatria will mount a creditable challenge to regain N1W status.
Carlisle have been threatening for a while to put on a bit of style after a season of hard slog, and they got it on Saturday with a 36-8 home win over Leigh.
Wigton moved out of the bottom three for the first time this season as crucially they leap-frogged their relegation-haunted rivals.
With Broughton Park still in free-fall and now next to bottom next Saturday’s game is another massive contest for the Greens, as they provide the opposition in Manchester.
For the visit of Anselmians, Wigton opted for experience against some seasoned opposition which included former Irish international Simon Mason. The final score was 41-25 to Wigton.
Fixtures North One West: Leigh v Aspatria.
North Lancs Cumbria: Furness v St Benedict’s.
First published at 19:23, Thursday, 15 March 2012
Published by http://www.timesandstar.co.uk
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