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Thursday, 17 April 2014

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Carl Sice stars as Whitehaven take spoils in North Wales

North Wales Crusaders 10 Whitehaven 17: Whitehaven took the three points in a grim spectacle at the Racecourse Ground, a drop-goal supplied by Jamie Rooney securing victory late on for the west Cumbrians.

Carl Sice photo
Carl Sice

Andrew Beattie and Scott McAvoy were both missing for Haven but Richard Varkulis was welcomed back into the squad and had an influence coming off the bench.

Neither side could get a foothold in the game at any point and in the first 15 minutes possession was shared evenly amongst the two sides, mainly due to the amount of loose carries.

The home side took the lead after 22 minutes against the run of play. Haven had been camped on the Crusaders’ line for some time, but consecutive penalties provided some field position for the Welshmen.

The ball came across the line and once it found the hands of Sheen, he found his way through a gap to run in under the posts. Ian Cross was unsuccessful with the conversion, 4-0.

The lead was almost increased minutes later, Jamie Durbin broke from deep, set up Sheen who was stopped just short of the line. And from the next play they squandered a fabulous opportunity, knocking on near the line.

Whitehaven soon hit back as Sice managed to touch down in corner for 6-4 but then he blew a fantastic chance to increase the lead. He found his way through a gap 10 metres out and instead of sending Loz Hamzat over with a pass, he decided to kick and the ball went dead.

Despite that exciting 10-minute period, both sides shut-up-shop for the closing stages of the first half.

The hosts got the ball rolling in the second half and regained the lead just five minutes in. Iwan Brown drove towards the line and threw a long-range offload which found Sheen who crossed. Broadbent converted, 10-6.

The lead didn’t last long, as strong work down the left-hand side eventually found Craig Calvert who crashed over in the left corner. Rudd’s goal this time just fell wide of the sticks and the scores were tied at 10-10.

Whitehaven grabbed that all-important third try with 20 minutes remaining.

The visitors were awarded a penalty and continued pressure, and strain on the Cruasders’ defence lead to Lee Doran finding his way through a gap and reaching out to score. Rooney converted for 16-10.

Rooney added a late drop-goal to give the Cumbrian-based side a little more breathing space going into the closing stages.

North Wales Crusaders: Johnson, Clay, Cross, Broadbent, Massam, Moulsdale, Durbin, Walker, Hudson, Brown, Clarke, Morrison, Stephens; Subs: Sheen, Lunt, Owain Brown, Chris Tyrer

Tries: Sheen 22, 46; Goals: Broadbent (1/1)

Whitehaven: Bauer, Loz Hamzat, Wiper, Parker, Calvert, Rooney, Karalius, Houghton, Gee, Cullnean, Crellin, Doran, Rudd; Subs: Sice, Varkulis, Hill 6, Haggerty 6

Tries: Sice 28, Calvert 51, Doran 60; Goals: Rudd (1/3), Rooney (1/1); Drop-Goals: Rooney (1/1)

Penalties: 11-6

Attendance: 804

Referee: Matthew Kidd

Star Man: Carl Sice

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