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Friday, 22 May 2015

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Signs are promising for Haven

FEELING JUST CHAMPION:  Paul Dunn, left and Paul Pinkleton pose with the World Club Challenge Trophy; the Challenge Cup and the Super League Trophy at Haven’s launch night last week.  Paul Pinkleton is also holding Haven’s NL1 Championship Trophy.

By Martin Morgan

AS warm-ups for the season go, this was just about as good as they get for the hosts.

Haven wanted a good blow-out ahead of Sunday’s clash with Workington Town – but not one that would land them with a stream of injury concerns – and that was just what Wigan provided.

Several of the Wigan youngsters on show will no doubt be Super League stars of the fut-ure, but conceding age, weight and experience at the Recreation Ground, they were alw-ays going to be second best.

The performance was always going to be more important than the result to Haven coach Dave Rotheram, and the signs were promising.

A classy playmaker is vital if the NL1 champs are to repeat their feats of last year, and scrum-half John Duffy certainly looked the part, particularly in the second-half, when he attacked the line with vigour. Duffy scored one try, and former Leigh team-mate Steve Maden added two. He had the look of a genuine try-scoring winger, and with him on one flank and Craig Calvert on the other, Haven should pose a potent attacking threat to any team.

Haven were on the scoresheet after just four minutes. Building on David Fatialofa’s break, David Seeds’ long pass found Calvert, who sprinted in from 20 metres.

The hosts were almost in again on their next set, Spencer Miller, Oliver Wilkes and Seeds combining.

But Seeds stumbled as he tried to pass to Calvert, and the slight delay allowed the cover time to bundle the winger in to touch.

Haven made no mistake on 11 minutes, however, Carl Rudd putting Derry Eilbeck in to a gap at pace, and Seeds touching down.

Ex-Wath Brow amateur Eilbeck again turned creator four minutes later, skilfully kicking through at pace for his winger Maden to touch down.

The Warriors opened their account on 18 minutes, centre Sean Gleeson, who had Super League experience last year, breaking through to score,

Wigan, who included Whitehaven-born teenager Lee Mossop in their ranks, showed some fine handling, and from one slick three-man move, scrum-half Thomas Coyle touched down on 22 minutes, Dean Hatton’s conversion reducing the deficit to two points.

Hopes of a Wigan comeback were dashed soon after when winger Andrew Thornley fumbled Duffy’s long-range positional kick on his own line.

From the resulting possession, Duffy’s flat pass put prop Chris McKinney in from short range, Rudd converting.

Maden claimed his second try in the closing minutes of the half after calling for a cross-field kick from Rudd. When the stand-off obliged, the winger was on hand to touch down.

Haven exerted greater dominance in the second-half, though it was a little scrappy at times.

Howard Hill broke free of his marker on 48 minutes to score, and 11 minutes later Duffy burst through the middle at pace on a diagonal run, evading a string of attempted tackles before touching down between the sticks. Paul O’Neil added his second conversion of the half.

Most fans in the crowd of 1,738 will have gone home satisfied, knowing they can expect a little more intensity on Sunday when Haven open their Northern Rail Cup account against Workington.

Haven: Broadbent, Calvert, Seeds, Eilbeck, Maden, Rudd, Duffy, Baynes, Lester, Fatialofa, Wilkes, Hill, Miller. Subs: Walsh, Sice, Mattinson, McAvoy, M Jackson, Joe, Deans, D Smith, O’Neil.

Wigan: Brocklehurst, Thornley, Gleeson, Goulding, Small, Hatton, Coyle, O’Carroll, McIlorum, Kay, Holland, Kavanagh, Walker. Subs: Tompkins, Bradley, Mossop, Roden Brindle.

Referee: Ian Smith (Oldham).

Attendance: 1,738.

Star Man: John Duffy.


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