Ferocious, intense and in weather best suited for ducks – it was a typical West Cumbrian derby as Whitehaven secured the bragging rights once again.

They extended an unbeaten run in competitive West Cumbrian derbies to seven matches starting back in April 2017 – although they were run close by Chris Thorman’s Workington Town side who if they continue playing with the effort and desire shown on Easter Sunday evening should be able to grab their first league victory of the season sooner rather than later.

It was a match of conflicting halves. The first half saw expansive play allowing both sides to score three tries apiece but with the weather closing in before the half-time break the second half was one of attrition with players from both sides struggling in the conditions in front of near 2,000 crowd in the somewhat strange kick-off time of 7pm due to television broadcast.

It was a perfect start for the home side as they crossed after just two minutes through on-loan Hull FC full back Davy Litten in just the second minute.

Litten carried over several Workington Town defenders after the ball came across the field through several pairs of hands before Litten ran at the line and touched down on his debut. Nikau Williams was unable to add the extras as his conversion attempt rattled off the left hand post.

Despite the early try conceded it was Workington who had the best of the early going and drew level in the 11th minute. Alex Clegg went over in the left hand side corner following the ball being shifted from midfield following Ciaran Walker being brought down just short of the try line. Clegg couldn't be stopped, though, as following the defensive effort to stop Walker Haven's defence couldn't recover fast enough and Clegg touched down untouched. Doran couldn't convert from out wide.

The game continued to swing in favour of the visitors who grabbed victory back in the club's pre-season meeting back in January and it looked like they might secure victory again as Evan Simons was able to exploit a gap in the home defence as he scooted from dummy half and went 25 metres untouched, going through several Haven defenders to touch down under the sticks. Doran converted for a six-point gap. But the tit-for-tat scoring continued as Haven soon hit back just after the half hour mark. Dave Eccleston crossed in the left hand corner in a very similar move to how Haven opened the scoring but instead of the pass to Litten, Haven threw the ball along the line and Eccleston dived over in the corner utilizing a two-on-one overlap. Connor Holliday converted from the touchline to bring the scores level once again.

That didn't last long as both sides were fighting for supremacy before the break. This time it was the visitors scoring again as former Haven player Oscar Thomas, who was returning to the full back role since suffering a hamstring tear vs Barrow in the Challenge Cup, put a well weighted grubber towards the corner and it was Hull KR loanee Will Tate who got there the fastest to touch down. Doran couldn't convert once again from the touchline but the four pointer seemed to be enough to give the half time lead to the visitors. Whitehaven however had other ideas.

They got an opportunity following a poor final play option from Ciaran Walker allowed Haven to start around the halfway line.

Just as the half time hooter sounded Connor Holliday broke through the Workington line and found Will Evans in support on his right hand shoulder, the pass to Evans was perfect and the Australian centre touched down to level the scores. That was the way it stayed as Holliday couldn't convert from the touchline. In attempting the conversion it seemed Holliday had pulled a muscle and soon left the field shortly into the second half.

While the first half saw a high-scoring, high-quality 40 minutes the weather closed in towards the end of the first half and it meant the second half became more a war of attrition and a half of limited opportunities.

The first real opportunity of the game came through Andrew Bulman. The ball hit the floor following a pass from a Haven man and with the line begging Bulman looked to have a free run but fumbled the ball in the wet conditions.

It was the visitors who had the best possession and territory in the second half but couldn't find any real try-scoring opportunities for all of their efforts, which has been the downfall of Workington at times in 2022 as they still search for the first league victory of the season. As the hour mark passed it still remained scores level as the weather was the real winner. Haven took the lead with just over quarter of an hour remaining as Nikau Williams slotted a penalty goal over following Callum Phillips being tackled without the ball.

The game-securing score came with five minutes remaining as Ryan King found himself in the unusual position of dummy half as Callum Phillips was tackled millimetres short of the try line. King threw an outrageous dummy in which Jordan Thomson fell for and left King with a gap to dive over to the delight of the home crowd for Haven to secure their third league victory of the campaign.

Nikau Williams converted the all important conversion to leave Workington needing two scores to try and grab anything from the game but the Town side couldn't come close in the final minutes despite some enterprising play and remain rooted bottom of the Championship table.

WHITEHAVEN: 25 Davy Litten, 2 Dave Eccleston, 27 Marcus Walker, 4 Will Evans, 5 Andrew Bulman, 6 Karl Dixon, 7 Nikau Williams, 10 Tom Walker, 24 Jacob Hookem, 18 Guy Graham, 11 Ryan King, 15 Connor Holliday, 16 Tom Wilkinson. Subs: 9 Callum Phillips, 13 Dion Aiye, 20 Jake Bradley, 21 Kieran Hudson.

Tries: Litten (2), Eccleston (31), Evans (40), King (75).

Goals: Williams 2/3, Holliday 1/2

WORKINGTON TOWN: 1 Oscar Thomas, 5 Alex Young, 3 Joe Brown, 26 Will Tate, 2 Alex Clegg, 6 Jamie Doran, 28 Ciaran Walker, 8 Conor Fitzsimmons, 9 Evan Simons, 21 Jordan Thomson, 27 Malik Steele, 12 Caine Barnes, 14 Marcus O'Brien. Subs: 16 Matty Henson, 15 Rhys Clarke, 23 Dan Brewin, 18 David Weetman.

Tries: Clegg (11), Simons (24), Tate (36).

Goals: Doran 1/3.

Referee: Michael Smail

Penalty Count: 8-4

Half Time: 14-14

Attendance: 1,975.