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Friday, 01 August 2014

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Where there’s a will... there’s a way

HELLS-a-popping over that stadium. Will it or won’t it go ahead as things go to the wire?

My gut feeling is that with any luck and goodwill on all sides a last-minute deal can be struck between the stadium partners and Whitehaven Miners’ Welfare.

There will there be hell to pay if it all collapses into Pow Beck – figuratively speaking, of course. Where there’s a will there surely has to be a way.

The Miners’ Welfare demand for £750,000 up front land payment before a JCB can cross the Recre access strip is deemed excessive. By the same token if you were selling a house demand would determine the asking price.

Here’s hoping the Miners and the Pow Beck stadium partners can find a late compromise as hoped and get on with the job. Common ground (and common sense) must prevail.

Otherwise Whitehaven RLFC and Whitehaven AFC may have to make do with what they’ve got. Mind you, an alternative access route could be considered. But for now the danger of ending up with no stadium at all, certainly not in time to stage any World Cup matches next year, adds up to almighty loss of face, reputation and embarrassment.

Just now it’s not about blame and recrimin-ations but keeping the stadium dream alive. How can it be in anybody’s interests otherwise?

British Energy Coast cash remains on the table to build the stadium there but it’s getting near a case of use it or lose it. It can be spent on something else.

Some say ‘why not just ‘do up’ The Recre – which is what a lot of folk are convinced BNFL’s £500,000 gift was meant for.

And of course quite a few favoured moving up the hill to Copeland Stadium where there’s ample space for expansion and no problems over real estate. But of course we’re told repeatedly that the stadium is all tied into Whitehaven town regeneration. Let’s hope we are not going to die in a ditch over cash.

Hopefully, the dark clouds will have been removed by the time Whitehaven play Rochdale on Sunday – Haven duly take their home bow in the Championship One campaign. Certainly Don Gailer’s boys need to cast aside the cloud of a dismal performance at Doncaster.

A 48-16 trouncing was unpalatable. Especially when The Don was gearing everything up to make a good start after all the Rail Cup. His selection tinkering, designed to find the right blend of players and the rhythm to get off on the right foot in what is going to be one helluva dog fight for those four promotion places.

It matters little now that the bookies (by whatever criteria) made Whitehaven early favourites to take the Championship One title.

Last week I wrote that Haven – and The Don – desperately needed to beat Doncaster.

My view this week is that nothing short of a win will be good enough at home on Sunday. Competition is going to be so fierce that Haven must win most, if not all, of their home games.

Besides more basic errors, the Doncaster performance left us asking ‘does size really matter?’ For once again the pack was battered by a bigger and, on the day, better six.

No wonder Paul Cooke had a veritable field day behind the scrum.

As I warned last week an old head No6 have proved to be Haven’s nemesis in the past – Cooke, one of the most adept in his Super League days, was no exception.

The fact that Carl Rudd – Cooke’s opposite number – turned in another good show behind a badly beaten pack just underlines how much Haven’s forwards need to beef up their act.

Lee Doran and Scott McAvoy (co-skippers) will be back to add hopefully power and class against Rochdale.

Surely to goodness Doran, Houghton, Isakka, Beattie & Co can muscle up sufficiently to give the backs a sporting chance to dazzle without putting undue pressure on the youngers who are being plunged in to sink or swim.

It’s up to some of the seasoned pros to lead the way on Sunday – let’s have some of the esprit de corps and character which Cumbrian Stuart Lancaster’s England RU side showed in beating the French, then we might see the real Whitehaven. By which time there may be some brighter news about the stadium. Hope springs eternal on all counts.

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