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Friday, 22 August 2014

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Spencer still has plenty to give after testimonial

HAVEN are happy to speak to skipper Spencer Miller about a return to the club next term following his testimonial game against Town on Sunday.

Miller had wanted to delay talks until after the match but after the final whistle indicated he was keen to play on in 2012.

“Spencer has been an excellent servant who has given his best at all times. He has represented Cumbria many times, and played for Scotland, and he is respected by our players and opponents alike,” said director Michael Wood, whose son Cameron sponsored Miller last term.

“His commitment has been excellent and he thoroughly deserved being named captain last year.

“We would be interested in him continuing next year and I’m sure he has a lot to give. It was a good occasion for everyone on Sunday and the game was played in a good spirit.

“The club would like to thank everyone who turned out and showed Spencer the support he deserved.”

Around 400 fans saw the likes of ex-Haven favourites Gary Broadbent, Leroy Joe, David Fatialofa, David Seeds and Aaron Lester return to action at the Recre.

Town dropped the ball on the game’s first tackle, and Haven followed up moments later with an error, yet there were no groans from fans who appreciated the efforts of both sides.

Howard Hill burst on to Carl Rudd’s pass from deep on eight minutes, with Tyr-one Dalton looking set to score before generously feeding winger Wesley Wilson on his outside for Haven’s first try.

Four minutes later, Rob Purdham produced an angled run to the line then found Carl Sice with a classy flick pass for another four-pointer, Gareth Evans slotting the extras.

Haven then went in again, Joe at the centre of a classy handling move as Broadbent touched down under the posts, Evans converting.

Wilson was forced to knock dead Stephen Kirkbride’s kick as Town looked to reply on 22 minutes.

Three minutes later, Seeds and Lester, the two leading Haven players of their generation, entered the fray.

Yet before they had touched the ball, Town scored, prop Richard Farrer crossing from short-range, Bainbridge converting.

Workington were suddenly on top, with Karl Olstrum held up over the Haven line before Bainbridge, Town’s best on the day, forced a drop-out. But there was no way through.

Dalton looked set to score, against the run of play, breaking 30 metres upfield before being tagged and throwing a speculator over his shoulder that he would not have attempted in a more serious contest.

You would not have bet against Seeds finding his way over the whitewash, and eight minutes in to the seco-nd-half, Haven’s record try-scorer struck out wide, diving under a challenge to score.

A Fatialofa offload created space for Sice’s next try, the hooker chipping the defence and touching down.

Miller then showed why he had never kicked for Haven as he skewed the conversion attempt wide from in front of the sticks, though at least the skipper managed a broad smile.

Evans touched down after more good work from Sice, Seeds slotting home the conversion off the crossbar, from an angle that many more seasoned kickers would have found a challenge.

John Patrick’s mazy break out of defence set up Dexter Miller in space, Spencer’s brother racing 40 metres to score for Town, Bainbridge converting. Prop Fatialofa notched a rare try, Evans adding the goal, before Les Ashe, at 44, appeared off the bench for the visitors.

Town’s coach for the day almost immediately burst through four tackles, though there was more than a suspicion that Haven’s challenges on the veteran were less than full-blooded, as befitted the fun occasion.

In any case, Ryan Campbell crossed out wide, Matthew Johnson on target with the extra two.

The match was rounded off with Miller taking Carl Rudd’s pass to cross for a try, keen Dexter leading the chase on his big brother.

Spencer is looking forward to getting back in to action for the club.

“I will sort something out for next year. It seems like an age since we played our last game and I will be glad to get back in to it properly,” the 31-year-old said.

“It looks a good squad on paper, and hopefully we can gel. Four are promoted this year and I’m confident we will go up.”

He praised the Town players for turning out for the occasion.

“Nobody got paid and those lads turned up out of the goodness of their hearts, so I’m chuffed to bits,” he added. “Same with the Whitehaven lads. I know lads who had to take days off work and cancel weekends away to play. It was a good effort and not a typical derby match.

“It was a bit of fun and a fair result in the end. I think all the lads enjoyed it and it was a good spectacle for supporters.”

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