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Tuesday, 07 July 2015

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Dave Petersen stars on debut as Workington Town lose at Barrow

Barrow 31 Workington Town 24: Workington Town’s coaching team will have been disappointed at this second successive defeat in the Northern Rail Cup.

Jamie Thackray photo
Jamie Thackray

But both Gary Charlton and Martin Oglanby know the squad is being fine-tuned over the four weeks of the group stages ready for an explosive start to the Championship One campaign on March 11.

With the squad currently changing, and probably still incomplete, there were reasons to excuse this narrow defeat in an intriguing derby clash at Craven Park.

Three players on dual registration from Hull KR were making their Workington debuts; three members of the squad were playing amateur rugby league just a couple of months ago and the starting line-up showed nine changes, including a completely new pack, from the one which started against Sheffield.

Obviously it is going to take time for them to gel, and although Charlton said he hopes the team plays a lot better against Whitehaven this Sunday, there were enough pluses in south Cumbria to give him cause for optimism.

Headlining the pluses was teenage loose-forward Dave Petersen, one of the Hull KR youngsters who has joined Town for Championship One experience and proved an instant hit.

His all action-style, with quality passing and consistent tackling, made him Town’s stand-out performer and a debut he can remember with a great deal of satisfaction – even if the result wasn’t one to savour.

James Green, his Hull KR colleague in the Workington pack, was the biggest forward on the field and he used it too good effect on occasions, suggesting he can be a handful when he beds in at Derwent Park.

Their Humberside team-mate, winger Nick Johnson, didn’t have a running chance with the ball in hand but looked quick and solid in defence.

It was also a positive in having Graeme Mattinson back in the starting line-up with the former Whitehaven hooker producing some trademark bursts which threatened to unlock the Barrow defence.

There was also a very promising debut from ex-Maryport amateur Jonathan Dawes at centre. He only turned professional during the week and there was plenty to suggest that he can develop into a very solid and dependable player for the west Cumbrians.

Town’s problems were fairly clear. Although they had enough possession and territory, they didn’t make enough good use of the ball as they should with their completion rate too low.

It hadn’t looked like that early on, though, when the visitors took the lead on seven minutes. After Green had gone close Mattinson spun a quick pass to Kris Coward and the prop barged over from a couple of yards beside the posts. Carl Forber converted.

Barrow, however, with a lively and mobile pack to counter Town’s extra-size up-front scored twice inside three minutes to grab the initiative.

First some smart handling in Town’s 10-metre zone created enough space for Barry Pugh to drive through and score the home side’s opener on 12 minutes.

Then on the opposite side prop forward Jamie Butler, who has previously spent time on loan with Town, bundled his way to the line and despite the attention of three Workington tacklers managed to turn and fling himself over the line. Ex-Town goal-kicker Scott Kaighan added the extras.

Another forward increased Barrow’s lead three minutes before the hooter. Strong pressure by the home side produced lick handling under the Town posts before substitute Martin Ostler dived in to score and again Kaighan converted.

Trailing by ten points at the break Town needed to make a strong start to the second half but it was Barrow, in fact, who stretched their lead to 28-12 with two more converted tries.

James Dandy wriggled over soon after the restart and then on 62 minutes Liam Campbell was able to react quickly to an ankle tap tackle near the line to get up before the cover arrived and dive over for the try. Both were converted by Kaighan.

It was that 20 minute spell at the start of the second-half which coach Darren Holt felt had won the game. “It was as good as we’ve played so far,” he said afterwards.

Workington at last began to find points from their possession and territory and fittingly it was Petersen who started the fight-back on 64 minutes when he got in near the posts for a well-taken try which Forber converted.

Town sensed they might have sufficient momentum to continue the fight-back and when Jamie Thackray too a smart pass from Petersen to power in unopposed from 15 metres it looked as though they were still in business. Forber’s two goals brought it back to 28-18.

A Kaighan penalty in Barrow’s next attack helped settle the home side’s nerves but they were made to seat again in the last minute when Forber followed up a kick through by Brett Phillips to collect and go over, adding the conversion himself.

There was still four minutes of stoppage time but a Kaighan drop goal (which appeared to have slid wide) was ruled in by referee Jamie Leahy which sealed victory for the Furness side.

Barrow: Haney, Dixon, Larkin, Litherland, Nixon, Kaighan, Campbell, Dawson, Dandy, Butler, Harrison, Pugh, Toal. Subs (all used): Marwood, Finch, Ostler, Venter.

Tries: Push, Butler, Ostler, Dandy, Campbell; Goals: Kaighan 5; Drop goal: Kaighan.

Workington Town: Miller, Johnson, Mossop, Dawes, Patrick, Carter, Forber, Coward, Mattinson, Green, Stack, Shackley, Petersen. Subs (all used) Rooney, Phillips, Whitehead, Thackray.

Tries: Coward, Petersen, Thackray, Forber; Goals: Forber 4.

Referee: Jamie Leahy, Dewsbury

Crowd: 1,366

Star man: Dave Petersen


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