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Saturday, 23 August 2014

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Vital win for Whitehaven

WHITEHAVEN scored a crucial 28-13 win at second-bottom Didsbury Toc H to dramatically improve their own survival chances.

Yet it hadn’t started promisingly for the west Cumbrians as they fell behind eartly in the game and after ten minutes they trailed 10-0.

The home stand-off made a good break into the Whitehaven 22 and although he was tackled managed to get a pass away and the receiver crossed for an unconverted try.

Whitehaven were then caught-out by a speculative kick. The ball bounced over the last defender and the winger gratefully nipped round to collect and score the second try.

Gradually Whitehaven warmed to their task and they reduced the arrears after good work by number eight Mike Gaffney. He picked-up and a clever ball to stand-off Craig Hodgson allowed him to dash down the blindside for a try which Stephen McConnell converted.

Whitehaven now had the bit between their teeth and they went in front with a fine individual try from Callum Rowlandson. He caught the ball at the tail of a 22 metre line-out and then had the power and determination to make the line, swatting aside several would-be tacklers and with others hanging onto him when he made it. McConnell converted.

Didsbury did briefly come back into the game before the break but only with a penalty so Whitehaven led 14-13 at the change-round.

In the second-half Whitehaven started well and were dominant throughout, scoring two more converted tries without reply.

From a five metre scrum Gaffney picked-up at the back but instead of slipping a team-mate away down the blindside went inside and was able to power his way over for a good try which McConnell improved.

Fifteen minutes from the end Whitehaven scored again. Jordan Scoptt hacked-on the ball at a ruck and he was first to react and get through to collect and score. McConnell added the extras.

Gaffney and ex-Netherhall prop Lewis Tyson had big games up-front for Whitehaven, while Hodgson – although he prefers not to operate at stand-off – showed why is used there with some very astute, tactical kicking.

The Copeland derby between Egremont and St. Benedict’s was postponed because of a mix-up with the referee. The appointed official was not, in fact, available to take charge and no replacement could be found in time. The game will now be played on Easter Saturday, March 30.

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