The temperature may have been below zero at The Ellis, but Workington Finches delivered a red hot performance as they maintained their promotion credentials by comfortably overcoming Liverpool Collegiate 39-5.

It was the home side who struck first after barely five minutes as a succession of early scrums culminated in Claire Pooley going over for an unconverted try.

By turning up for the match, Liverpool had already defied Jack Frost and for 20 minutes were defying their hosts in equal measure as they produced a stubborn rearguard as the Finches were eager to increase their lead.

However, the resistance was finally broken on 25 minutes. More impressive scrummaging resulted in Nicole Stewart darting over the whitewash to double the lead.

Then, on the half hour, Lauren Wilkinson nonchalantly shrugged off a last ditch challenge to power through and touch down. Both tries went unconverted.

It only took six minutes of the second half before the Finches increased their lead as yet another series of scrums pushed Liverpool to breaking point before Charlotte Bowman found precious space to nip in and score.

She then made it a double four minutes later when she finished off a quick pass and move sequence. Once again, these tries were unconverted.

Then, on 58 minutes, Bowman cut the Liverpool backline to shreds with some clever footwork to breeze under the posts to complete a well deserved hat-trick.

Stewart added the first conversion of the afternoon and two minutes later scored her second try as she exploited slack marking from Liverpool to break clear and go over.

This time round, it was Wilkinson who assumed kicking duties and produced an effortless conversion.

It is to the visitors’ immense credit that they did not come anywhere close to folding at any stage of the match, even at 39-0 with 20 minutes to go.

Just as they did in the first half, they provided spells of resistance during the second 40 minutes to thwart the Finches from racking up at least a few tries.

Liverpool’s patience was rewarded 10 minutes from time when, having made deep inroads into Finches territory, they caught them flat-footed by slipping through for an unconverted try.

Overall, it was a brilliant all-round display from the Finches, especially from hat-trick heroine Bowman and the tireless Stewart, as well as captain Sarah Harrington leading from the front and Leonie Haile displaying her flexibility at centre.

It was also a pleasure to see the return of Sarah Carter for a brief cameo appearance.

The result sees Finches move up to fourth in North West Division 2 – only five points behind leaders Broughton Park with a game in hand – and they can resume their league campaign in the New Year with quiet confidence.