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Friday, 19 December 2014

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Doran's last gasp try seals derby win for Whitehaven

HAVEN needed a last-minute converted try from Lee Doran before they could breathe easily in Sunday’s derby clash.

The match certainly failed to hit the heights of their thrilling Good Friday meeting but it was hard-fought nonetheless.

And it would be no surprise to see the old rivals meet again in a play-off clash down the line.

Haven were strong in the first-half and led 12-0 at the interval, yet it could have been a different story if Town had taken their chances.

Second-row Dave Armitstead caught the eye in the Town pack, while hooker Jack Pedley was always a threat.

Doran got through a huge amount of work for Haven, and prop Matthew Haggerty, on loan from Salford, produced a much-improved effort in his second match for the club.

He was quick and aggressive, and Craig Benson showed the Recre faithful what they had been missing during his injury absence with a fine performance at the back.

Town made a disastrous start, losing a groggy Darren Holt within the first 30 seconds. But his replacement Marc Bainbridge was quickly in to his stride, beating Max Wiper and breaking from deep.

A well-placed pass may have led to a try, but Haven scrambled impressively and winger Loz Hamzat got back to intercept.

Town had the better of the opening exchanges, but it was the hosts who scored first. Brett Carter was unable to take Carl Rudd’s bomb and Wiper was on hand to touch down between the posts for Lewis Palfrey to convert.

Benson almost increased the lead as he looked to round off a neat three-man move, but he was held just short.

Bainbridge then got fingers to a Rudd pass out wide, knocking on in the process. On the next set, Chris Smith was held up over the Town line.

Workington defended well and Palfrey was caught in possession five metres out on the last tackle.

A Haggerty knock-on 40 metres from his line prom-pted a Town attack, Wiper producing a try-saving tack-le on the busy Aaron Low.

Karl Olstrum then cut loose on the final tackle, finding Kaighan in support. Benson had to make the tackle and he duly obliged.

Scott McAvoy produced a trademark break down the left, though Haven skipper Spencer Miller was unable to take his inside pass in heavy traffic.

Holt returned to the action on 30 minutes and was soon making inroads, producing a great attacking kick, low at the Haven line.

A lesser full-back may have spilled it, but Benson gathered and then set off for a 30-metre gallop towards the Town line.

The hosts doubled their lead on 35 minutes when McAvoy offloaded close to the Town line.

Rudd produced a peach of a short kick for Calvert, who touched down marginally before the ball rolled dead. Palfrey’s touchline conversion made it 12-0.

An ill-judged offload from Carl Sice, who had been in fine form before Haven’s recent three-week break, led to a strong Town set in the opposition half, Rudd diving to take a grubber kick on his line.

Armitstead then ghosted through, only for a Haven hand to deflect the flight of the ball as the Aussie searched for a decisive pass.

With the clock ticking down, the visitors had one final chance to score, but winger Neil Frazer was unable to hold the pass as he dived for the corner, the half-time hooter blaring in his ears.

Haven started the second-half strongly, only a brilliant tackle from Carter denying the rampaging Doran.

The hosts increased their lead on 48 minutes, Hamzat touching down out wide after Chris Smith made good ground off a Paul Cullnean offload and Palfrey produced a well-weighted kick for his winger to take advantage.

Some might have expected Town to fade after going 16-0 down, but instead they rallied and enjoyed a bright spell, led by Pedley.

He nipped over on the short side on 59 minutes to get his side on the board, and when Ryan MacDonald earned a penalty from the restart, Town’s hopes were looking up.

Benson leapt high to palm Holt’s kick to touch in-field, however, to set up another Haven attack, Kaighan defending Palfrey’s kick on his line.

Haven lacked their first-half intensity and after Bradd Crellin fumbled in midfield, MacDonald went close. Holt went on to produce a great cross-field bomb, Calvert penalised for tackling Frazer in the air.

It was a golden opportunity for Town to turn the screw, but Pedley, in his haste, knocked on at dummy-half.

Jarrad Stack was just held short by Wiper, and after Town earned back-to-back penalties, John Patrick produced the pass of the day, his flick putting Frazer in for a try.

Town looked to equalise in the closing moments, but it was Haven’s turn to press, Kaighan knocking dead Sice’s dummy-half dink through the line.

Wiper took the short re-start kick and Doran, when seemingly covered, used his strength to reach out and touch down, Palfrey converting.

Match facts

Haven: Benson, Hamzat, Wiper, McAvoy, Calvert, Palfrey, Rudd, Haggerty, C Smith, Hill, Doran, S Miller, Beattie. Subs: Sice, Cullnean, Isakka, Crellin.

Tries: Wiper, Calvert, Hamzat, Doran

Goals: Palfrey 3

Town: Carter, Dawes, Low, Patrick, Frazer, Holt, Kaighan, Coward, Pedley, MacDonald, Armitstead, Stack, Olstrum. Subs: Bainbridge, McGoff, McKenna, Whitehead.

Tries: Pedley, Frazer

Goals: Holt 1

Attendance: 1,523

Referee: Clint Sharrad

Haven Star Man: Craig Benson

Town Star Man: Jack Pedley

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