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Thursday, 18 December 2014

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Zebras stay right on Wigton’s tail

WORKINGTON Zebras stayed the nearest challengers to Wigton at the top of the North Lancs Cumbria league when they won at home to third-placed Kirkby Lonsdale.

It finished 20-5 to the West Cumbrians but it was a lot closer than that up to half-time when they held a narrow 7-5 lead.

Stand-off David Barton was prominent for Kirkby Lonsdale and helped put his side on top for the first 15 minutes when Martin Knapton was unlucky not to score in the corner.

Perversely it was a yellow card for Workington player-coach Dan Bowman which turned the flow of the game. Alleged to have made a high tackle he spent 10 minutes in the bin and during that time his side responded well, upping their game.

By the time he returned Workington had gained the upper hand and on 30 minutes they took the lead. The ball was moved smartly to the backs after some solid driving play from the forwards and winger Bede O’Connor went round his man and then inside the full-back to score an excellent try which Kevin Harper converted.

Kirkby Lonsdale rallied, though, and just before half-time scored an unconverted try. Although Andrew Branthwaite put in a great saving tackle the ball was moved wide for Tim Groves to dive in at the flag.

Three minutes into the second half Workington increased their lead with a Harper penalty.

Gradually the Workington forwards got on top and began to exert strong pressure on the Kirkby Lonsdale line.

It was no surprise when they scored a second try. Dion Seath finished off well from 15 yards after the home pack had blasted their way through to create the running chance. Harper converted.

Seath almost got away for another try when he broke from his own half but with Martin Armstrong in support fell to a fine touchline tackle.

Harper kicked a penalty to give Workington more breathing space and although Kirkby Lonsdale had a man sin-binned near the end the Zebras couldn’t break through again.

Top of the league Wigton’s pitch was just playable for the visit of Fleetwood who are in the bottom half of the league.

With both teams showing changes, a heavy pitch with a frost covered ball and opposition who seemed to take a long time recovering from injuries led to a disjointed match. A home win never looked in doubt as they ran out winners 34-0.

St Benedict’s would love to be able to put out an unchanged team one week. In the first half of the season they have used 35 different players an had to make six changes for the trip to Upper Eden.

It didn’t show for a long while as they led but they ran out of a bit of steam in the second half and went down 31-7.

Netherhall could only take 13 players to Heaton Moor but borrowed two men so that the game went ahead with contested scrums. They lost 65-19 but it will be recorded as a home walk-over with two league points for the Stockport team but no points allocated for or against.

Because of that Netherhall are off the bottom as Burnley lost 52-5 at home to Furness and now have a worse points differential than the Maryport club.

Keswick’s home game with Oldham was called off in disappointing circumstances. Oldham arrived but declined to play even though referee Neil Carruthers had said the Davidson Park pitch was playable.

A winter chill pervaded Bower Park both on an off the pitch for the second week running. Aspatria were in contention up to the 50- minute mark but then collapsed to a heavy defeat.

Aspatria were near full- strength for this league clash and were looking to regain some pride against an Altrincham side that earlier in the season had beaten them by 80 plus points.

But it finished 32-0 to the visitors and at this rate the confirmation of Aspatria’s pending relegation is imminent.

The home side got off to a bright start and might have seen an early lead when fly half Jack Clegg chipped behind the Altrincham defence for winger, Lee Tinnion to chase the ball.

A score looked a formality but the referee brought play back, adjudging that Tinnion was marginally ahead of the kicker.

Egremont were back playing at Bleach Green for the first time since the floods when they hosted Creighton in the Cumbria League and celebrated with a big 74-0 win.

Gosforth Greengarth continue to show improved form but went down 20-18 at home to Cockermouth though in the dying minutes had a conversion to earn the draw but it went agonisingly wide.

The villagers had established a lead of 13-0 inside the first quarter of the game.

The home side continued their assault and scored a pushover try through number eight Steve Edgar after great work by the pack.

Just before half-time Cockermouth’s Matthew Woodcock finished off a good passage of play when Johnny Taylor took a quick penalty. Lovely inter-passing between himself and Andrew Branthwaite gave Woodcock the opportunity to score.

Although this dented the deficit, Gosforth went into half-time with a well deserved lead of 13-5.

Taylor was instrumental in upping the pace by continually taking quick tap penalties to put Gosforth on the back foot and eventually Dave Legg scored in the corner.

Alan Denwood scored Cockermouth’s third try after some strong work by Wayne Kavannah in the forwards gave Taylor the chance to get the ball quickly to the backs. Woodcock gave Denwood the final pass in the move to put them ahead for the first time.

A clever chip by Jason Ward on 65 minutes saw winger Robert Ward beat the defence to touch down and extend Cockermouth’s lead to 20-13.

However Gosforth were not done and in a rousing finale sustained pressure saw Jason Graham go over for an unconverted try.

Aspatria Eagles were under the hammer as they crashed 74-0 to a rampant Millom. The south Cumbrians ran in 12 tries in a one sided game.

Moresby were convincing 40-0 winners over Wigton Wanderers while leaders Whitehaven were disappointed when Workington Steelers cried-off at lunch-time.

Fixtures - North One West: Wilmslow v Aspatria.

North Lancs Cumbria: Eccles v Keswick, Netherhall v Burnley, Oldham v Wigton

St Benedict’s v Workington.

Cumbria: Aspatria Eagles v Moresby, Cockermouth v Millom, Creighton v Gosforth Greengarth, Wigton Wanderers v Whitehaven, Workington Steelers v Egremont.

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