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Friday, 25 July 2014

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Haven team pledge a gloss finish

WHITEHAVEN aim to end the season on a major high with play-off success, pledged coach Dave Smith.

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Making a statement: Whitehaven’s Matthew Haggarty

The club suffered a traumatic few days last week following the dismissal of boss Don Gailer, but the team bounced back with an impressive 58-20 home win over North Wales Crusaders on Sunday to conclude the league campaign with a fourth win in five outings.

And Smith, who stepped up from assistant to take temporary charge, believes there is more to come from the team.

“We are preparing for the play-offs and want to go all the way this year,” he said. “There’s good spirit in the camp and the lads are fully committed.

“If we play like we did against North Wales and tighten up in a few areas, there’s no reason why we can’t go all the way.

“Some of our senior players are taking control and we are playing with a bit more composure and patience. We are coming good at the right time of the year.”

Dave Houghton, one of Haven’s best this year, did not play his regular marathon stint against the Crusaders and was rested mid-way through the first-half, with fellow prop Paul Cullnean, Richard Varkulis producing a storming effort off the bench.

Smith explained: “On the interchanges we decided we wanted our two starting props to really blow-out for 20-25 minutes, and then get the other two props to come on at the same time and give us really good go-forward.

“Varks put in a really good spell, and I was pleased with all four props.”

Haven entertain Rochdale Hornets in a sudden death clash on Sunday (3pm). The Hornets finished the league season in fifth, one place and nine points behind Haven, who did the double over their rivals.

Rochdale rounded off the Championship campaign with a 48-18 defeat at Workington Town last weekend.

“Rochdale have quality in their players and as a team, and we can’t underestimate them one little bit. But we need to focus on what we need to do, and do it well. If we do that we have every chance of progressing in the play-offs,” said Smith, who stressed the unity in the side leading up to the big win.

“It was a tough week for players, coaching staff and throughout the club, but as a unit we have all stuck together and that was the result.”

Shane Ackerley and Danny Barker have returned to the squad after completing their loan stint at Gateshead.

Sunday’s gate receipts are shared with Rochdale and season tickets cannot be used for the game.

Haven had seven applications for the vacant coaching job before the advert went in the RL press on Monday. The closing date is next Monday and the club plan to waste no time in making an appointment.

“We want a quick decision and will shortlist and interview next week,” chief executive Barry Richardson said. “We’ve had some good applications and there’s a lot to take in to consideration. It’s a very important decision as we are going up to the Championship and have to make sure we get the right person.”

The club’s presentation night will be held on Friday, October 12, at the Marchon Club. Tickets are available from the Recre at £10. The ticket price includes a buffet and entertainment from duo City Limits.

This week’s Pride of Five £100 winners are: Ian & Janette Pullin, Brunlee Drive, Whitehaven, with ticket number 1,628; Dion Richardson, Croftlands, Bigrigg, 2,221; C Chambers, Borrowdale Road, Mirehouse, 3,233; E Shilton, Martindale Road, Richmond, 546; Mike Sterland, George Street, Whitehaven, 2,592.

Chocolate, Blue & Gold Club: £250 – Harry Roles; £100 – Paul Pilkington; £50 each – Elizabeth Spedding, R Kendall, Tony Weir.

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