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Saturday, 25 October 2014

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Workington Town crush title favourites Oldham

Workington Town 31 Oldham 12: Workington Town took the first steps in making Derwent Park a place to be feared by blowing away visitors and title favourites Oldham Roughyeds 31-12.

Graeme Mattinson photo
Graeme Mattinson

Town silenced their critics by playing for a full 80 minutes and ripping right into the heart of the Oldham defence to rack up the points. Not only did they bag their first Championship One victory of the season, they also denied Oldham a bonus point, which could prove crucial come the end of the season.

Scott Kaighan was again the influential man in the middle, with Graeme Mattinson helping to provide the spark in both attack and defence.

The Workington pack was more than up to the challenge of the big Oldham outfit and denied them the chance to take it down the middle channel.

Instead Town got the ball wide and allowed their backs to show off their flair and it paid off with a superb result.

Town got off to a flying start in both halves and Oldham could not keep up with the home side.

The first try came after just 58 seconds with Neil Frazer collecting the ball from kick off and beat his marker before setting off upfield. Then he slipped an inside pass to the supporting Jason Mossop, who finished off in style to the delight of the home faithful.

A shellshocked Oldham then put the ball out on the full and followed that up by being penalised on the first tackle, giving Town great field position.

Graeme Mattinson spotted an opportunity on the final tackle, to fling the ball wide to Aaron Low, who did well to pick out the pass and stand up against his opposite number.

He got round the defence and just stretched out an arm to reach the whitewash for Town to make it 8-0, with Kaighan off target with both conversions.

Oldham were then forced to drop out after the continuous Workington pressure took its toll on Mick Fogerty who fumbled the ball deep in his own half. And with Town players chasing the loose ball, it had to be palmed out of danger by the Oldham defence.

With Town in the ascendancy they soon had their third try of the afternoon, Kaighan slotting through a kick on the final tackle which bounced back off an Oldham defender, back into his arms.

The young scrum-half spotted a gap and weaved his way through before giving the final ball to the supporting Frazer to score for 12-0.

It stayed that way until half time although there were nervy moments for Town as Oldham tried to pick up their rhythm, sub Danny Whitmore going close but some solid defending kept them at bay.

And Town could have extended their lead with Mattinson halted just short of the line and Stack inches away from securing a try, the ball just being pushed over the dead ball line before he could clinch it.

But the key factor for Town’s victory came in the opening moments of the second half.

Many fans were wondering whether the Town side would sit back on their lead and relax but instead they showed this season they mean business.

And, in a carbon copy of the first half, they blitzed Oldham with two quick tries in succession to put them onto the back foot yet again.

The first was probably the try of the game, Kaighan putting in a little kick over the top of the oncoming defender and then collecting again before racing to score between the uprights, leaving himself an easy conversion.

Then two minutes later Frazer was over for his second, great hands got the ball across the Town line to Mossop, who in turn fed Frazer and he knew exactly where the try line was.

A second Kaighan conversion and Town were looking strong at 24-0.

They slipped up slightly to allow Oldham to get their first score, when Ben Wood was allowed easy access to the try line, bouncing off the would-be defenders to go in under the posts, Mick Diveney converting.

And the Brett Carter saved a certain try with a superb tackle, halting what could have been an Oldham fightback.

Town were forced to play out the final 16 minutes of the game with just 12 men when Ryan MacDonald was shown his marching orders by referee Jamie Leahy for allegedly leading with the elbow.

But Kaighan settled things down with a successful penalty kick and then a drop-goal to keep the points ticking over.

Town’s defence worked hard in the final quarter and deserves special praise for keeping Oldham out until two minutes from time.

Andy Isherwood released John Clough for another easy score for Oldham, with Diveney again adding the two points but it was too little too late for the visitors.

And Workington played to the final whistle, making sure they also had the final word.

Marc Bainbridge was alert when Oldham fumbled the ball in the dying seconds and he kicked on and won the foot race to the line to touch down just as the final hooter sounded.

Kaighan missed the final kick but Town were the clear victors in this encounter at 31-12 and will be going to Doncaster next weekend with their heads held high.

Workington Town: Carter, Low, Mossop, Patrick, Frazer, Bainbridge, Kaighan, MacDonald, Mattinson, Coward, Whitehead, Stack, Olstrum. Subs (all used): Pedley, McGoff, Jackson, Shackley.

Tries: Mossop 1, Low 4, Frazer 18, 43, Kaighan 41, Bainbridge 80; Goals: Kaighan 3/7; Drop-goal: Kaighan 1.

Sent off: MacDonald 64 – alleged use of elbow.

Oldham: Brocklehurst, Onyango, Bradbury, Wood, Fogarty, Roden, Diveney, Boults, Clough, Gilchrist, Isherwood, Noone, Clarke. Subs (all used): Bentley, Whitmore, Sutton, Ellison.

Tries: Wood 57, Clough 78.

Goals: Diveney 2/2.

Referee: Jamie Leahy (Dewsbury).

Half time: 12-0.

Attendance: 473.

Star Man: Scott Kaighan.

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