Workington Town record fourth win on trot over Whitehaven
Last updated at 12:02, Monday, 25 June 2012
Workington Town 30 Whitehaven 28: In the end it came down to a conversion attempt ninety seconds from the end. Carl Rudd’s kick came back off the post and Workington had registered their fourth win of the season over the old enemy.
It was an absorbing derby clash in front of a near 2,000 Derwent Park, and perhaps the most sporting of them would have agreed that a draw would have been a fair result.
Town had been comfortable winners of the three previous west Cumbrian derby games this season but this was easily the most competitive and Whitehaven showed much more resolve and determination than they had in any of those previous encounters.
Yet although Whitehaven fans will look at the last-gasp conversion attempt which came back off the upright, Town could also point to two late penalty misses from Marc Bainbridge and a drop goal attempt that went just wide.
Both sides enjoyed the lead in the second-half but in the end it came down to that conversion hitting the post, leaving Town to celebrate a clean sweep of victories over their local rivals.
But Town’s joint coach Gary Charlton, although relieved to win the game, was certainly not happy, as he explained after the game.
“We are better than that and the boys know they didn’t play well. Credit to Whitehaven, who were much more competitive than they have been in the previous games, but I’ll expect a reaction from our players when we go to North Wales next week,” he said.
The pre-match message from Haven coach Don Gailer was that his side were going to be up for a forward battle – the area where Town had been so superior in the three earlier meetings.
Credit to the Recreation Ground side because their pack did well, matching Town for domination and standing-up to a set of forwards who have helped turn Workington into title contenders.
In Lee Doran and new boy Anthony Mullally they had two outstanding performers up-front, who with Town’s Graeme Mattinson would be the main contenders for man of the match awards.
Whitehaven, in fact, enjoyed the early pressure but were unable to break through some solid Workington defending, with some outstanding work on their own line.
It was Town, though, who broke the deadlock with a try from their first sustained attack. Elliott Miller, their top scorer, got on the end of a high pass and just managed to scramble over in the corner.
Whitehaven, with plenty to prove after their previous efforts against their neighbours, were showing more intensity and determination, especially up-front where Doran and Mullally were so influential.
It was recent half-back recruit Jamie Rooney, though, who scored their first try on 20 minutes when he showed good footwork to skip past two Workington defenders near the line to go over. Rudd converted for a 6-4 lead.
Both sides had spells of pressure and it was Whitehaven who were able to turn defence into attack on 31 minutes to increase their lead.
The ball went loose in the Town 20 and Doran picked-up to race the length of the field for a lung-bursting try which Rudd converted.
Town were desperate to reduce the arrears before the break and in one of their last plays they got over. Peter Lupton slipped a clever pass to Bainbridge who in turn fed Jarrad Stack and he plunged over for a try which Bainbridge converted from wide out.
Within three minutes of the restart Town had gone in front again. Mattinson, their outstanding forward, charged at the line from five metres and although there were plenty of bodies there to meet him he somehow squirmed beyond the tackles to get the ball down under the posts. Bainbridge converted.
Nip and tuck it was, though, and on 51 minutes Whitehaven had gone back in front. This time the superb pass was from Rooney who found Andrew Beattie crashing over to score against his former team. Rudd converted for an 18-16 lead.
Four minutes later Workington responded with a try of their own. Lupton’s guile and strength took him through the defence and over the line but Bainbridge couldn’t add the extras.
Then when Workington scored the next two tries it looked as though they would pull clear. It was almost déjà vu in reverse as Dave Petersen picked-up a loose ball on his own ten metre line and raced the length of the field to score a try which Bainbridge converted.
On 65 minutes a high kick from Lupton bounced awkwardly for Max Wiper and Brett Phillips took it before beating Jessie Joe Parker’s desperate late covering effort to squeeze over in the corner.
Bainbridge then missed a penalty to extend Town’s 30-18 lead but a thrilling finish saw Whitehaven come desperately close to snatching a draw.
An amazing try from Mullally on 72 minutes gave them hope. Thirty metres out he used strength and then his nimble feet to step round three tacklers before racing under the posts. This time Rooney goaled.
Then with time running out the ball went loose after a desperate scramble. Parker threw the ball back inside and somehow Doran saw a way through to dive under some scattered bodies for the try. Rudd’s kick hit the post.
Workington Town: Carter, Miller, Rooney, Mossop, Calderwood, Lupton, Bainbridge, Macdonald, Mattinson, Coward, Phillips, Stack, Petersen. Subs (all used) Olstrum, Shackley, Whitehead, Thackray.
Tries: Miller, Stack, Mattinson, Lupton, Peterson, Phillips; Goals: Bainbridge (3)
Whitehaven: Bauer, Calvert, Parker, Fox, Wiper, Rooney, Rudd, Houghton, Sice, Cullnean, Varkulis, Mullally, Doran. Subs (all used): Gee, Isakka, Beattie, Haggerty.
Tries: Doran (2), Rooney, Beattie, Mullally; Goals: Rudd (3) Rooney.
Referee: Matthew Thomason (Warrington)
Men of the match: Graeme Mattinson (Town), Lee Doran (Haven).
First published at 11:28, Monday, 25 June 2012
Published by http://www.newsandstar.co.uk