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Monday, 21 April 2014

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Whitehaven lose bragging rights in opening derby

TRIES for debut boys Brett Phillips and Jamie Thackray marked a determined defence of the Ike Southward Memorial Trophy by a jubilant Workington Town.

Town clinched the West Cumbrian derby against neighbours Whitehaven 26-18 to retain the trophy for a second year running but were made to fight every inch of the way.

Both sides put up a good show in the opening blow-out of the new season and there were sparks of good times to come for West Cumbrian RL.

Haven’s new half-back pairing looked strong, in particular Ben Karalius while prop Dave Houghton proved a handful, along with the ever-reliable Scott McAvoy.

In the Town ranks, prop Marc Shackley stood out with some terrific surges and strong defence, along with Karl Olstrum, while Peter Lupton marshalled the side well from the centre of the field.

And there were pleasing debuts from Daniel Rooney and Brett Phillips who have stepped up from the amateur ranks.

It was an action packed opening five minutes as Whitehaven burst onto the scene with intent, scoring quickly.

With their first attack of the clash, Haven moved upfield and slipped the ball out to the left hand side where Scott McAvoy charged through the defence and over the line but Sam Gee missed the conversion.

However, after such a bright opening, Haven let Town back into the game as Richard Varkulis and Andreas Bauer had a mix up at the kick off to hand the ball to the home side.

And they capitalised on it, after a couple of drives to the line, Marc Shackley stretched his arm out of the tackle near the posts, leaving Bainbridge an easy conversion to take the lead 6-4.

The score stayed this way to half time which was a testament to the strength of both defences.

Both sides piled the pressure on and came close to scoring at times, with Calvert just being bundled into touch inches short of the line.

Then the visitors gave away a succession of quick penalties to hand the field advantage over and had to rely heavily on their defence to keep Town out.

With half of the opening 40 minutes gone, Whitehaven thought they were over with Andrew Beattie but Town had just managed to hold their former player up over the line to deny them.

And Max Wiper was denied a try for a forward pass after Chris Fleming had got on the end of a good kick from Karalius.

Jarrad Stack released Jason Mossop in a great move for Town and the final kick from Bainbridge was put over the dead ball line by Haven forcing a drop-out but half time came with no further score.

Into the second period and it was Town who began in the ascendancy with two quick tries.

New signing Jamie Thackray scored on his debut after Marc Shackley had opened up the Haven defence with the initial break. He slipped the pass to Olstrum and then on to Thackray who went over the line untouched and Bainbridge converted.

Three minutes later and they were in again, Shackley getting his just rewards after a neat pass from Maryport trialist Jonathan Dawes, who did not look out of place on Town’s wing.

This time the conversion was missed but Workington were ahead 16-4.

This seemed to spur Whitehaven on and they stepped back up a gear to try and get back into the game.

Sam Gee was the instigator as he put in a nice chip kick for Dave Houghton to get on the end of and go over by the posts, leaving Jonathan Youds an easy two-pointer.

Mossop saved the day for Town on a couple of occasions with try saving tackles as Haven upped the pressure but on 66 minutes they broke through.

Wiper collected a high bomb in the corner to touch down but the conversion was too far out for Jonathan Youds and Haven were just two points behind their hosts at 16-14.

From the kick off, McAvoy slipped while going to collect the ball and knocked on giving Town the advantage on their 20-metre line.

And Graeme Mattinson celebrated his return with a great individual effort from dummy-half to go in under the posts, with Bainbridge converting.

Town then sealed the game with another try on debut – this time for Brett Phillips.

He sat on the shoulder of Peter Lupton and the half-back fed him a lovely ball to go over the line. The conversion was missed but Town were now in the clear at 26-14.

Credit to Haven who did not give up until the final hooter and bagged a late try to prove that both teams could be a force to be reckoned with in 2012.

And it was probably the best try of the game as Karalius sliced open the Town defence with Gee supporting and Wiper finishing of a lovely flowing move to finish the game at 26-18.

Match facts

Town: Carter, J Dawes, Patrick, Mossop, S Dawes, Lupton, Bainbridge, Farrer, Olstrum, Coward, Whitehead, Shackley, Rooney. Subs: Phillips, Tunstall, Thackray, Robinson, Gaskell, Stack, Mattinson.

Tries: Shackley (2), Thackray, Mattinson, Phillips.

Goals: Bainbridge 3/5.

Haven: Bauer, Fleming, Wiper, McAvoy, Calvert, Gee, Karalius, Houghton, Smith, Haggerty, Varkulis, Doran, Beattie. Subs: Cullnean, Crellin, Barker, Sice, Wilson, Youds, Cunningham, Hill.

Tries: McAvoy, Houghton, Wiper (2).

Goals: Gee 0/1, Youds 1/2, Wiper 0/1.

Referee: Warren Turley.

Attendance: 1,134.

Half time: 6-4.

Star Man: Marc Shackley.

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