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Thursday, 30 July 2015

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Whitehaven kick off the new year in style

WHITEHAVEN have been accused of not being able to see-off teams this season in North Lancs Cumbria after putting themselves in good positions.

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19-point haul: Steve McConnell

Well they started 2013 with a convincing home win, beating Heaton Moor 39-10 – a defeat which saw the Stockport side slip into the relegation zone.

It was only 13-3 at half-time and the way that Whitehaven went about their business after the break to kill-off Moor’s challenge was particularly satisfying for coach John Gaffney.

Steve McConnell scored all Whitehaven’s points in the first-half with two penalties and a very good individual try when he dashed 60 metres for the touchdown, and added the conversion.

Soon after the restart Mike Gaffney put Matthew Giddings into a hole and he sprinted 30 metres for the second try which went unconverted.

But McConnell made no mistake for the last three tries, converting them all to finish with a 19-point haul.

First it was Giddings taking on the role of provider to send Kyle Jenkinson over and then Calum Rowlandson put in a clever round the corner pass for George Suafoa to charge over. Flanker Mark Lancaster completed the scoring near the end.

Aspatria won 24-5 at struggling Didsbury Toc H to retain hopes of making the end of season play-off and possible promotion.

The win and results elsewhere means Didsbury’s prospects of escaping relegation are all but over.

Aspatria went close to an early score when winger Lee Burns was bundled into touch three metres from the line.

But they did take the lead on 24 minutes when crisp passing got the ball to the wing where Mark Lister was on hand to finish what he started with a dive into the corner. Jack Clegg converted.

This was the beginning of a purple patch for the Black Reds. The forwards regained the ball from the re-start and immediately moved into home territory. With surgical precision the backs again moved the ball wide but this time to the right. The line was joined by Lee Tinnion from full-back who received the ball 35 metres out and he left several flailing defenders in his wake to cross the line. Clegg converted.

Within three minutes of the restart Didsbury registered a score that was aided by some good fortune but nonetheless deserved. A speculative hack up-field and a comical chase to diffuse a bouncing ball that stubbornly refused to bounce anywhere near a black and red shirt ended with a touchdown.

Aspatria were struggling to work back into top gear and with the game moving into the last quarter, player coach, Mike Scott introduced himself with the sole intention of putting his side back on the front foot.

This was achieved on 64 minutes when a Clegg penalty extended the lead and five minutes later Dave Preston won the ball for Aspatria at the breakdown. Skipper Andrew Miller screamed for the pass and battered his way through a tiring defence from his centre position.

Clegg converted but the real objective of a fourth try bonus point eluded the Cumbrians.

St. Benedict’s produced a remarkable second-half effort to beat Littleborough 24-7 at Lowca.

Given first use of the very strong wind Benny’s were disappointed to turn round still at 0-0.

They had gone close through Craig Halligan and Russell Burns but couldn’t get over. In fact it took a great chase and tackle by Burns to nail the Littleborough full-back after he had intercepted a pass on his own line and raced to deep into the home half.

But the west Cumbrians raised their game after the break and went in front after good work by Scott Wood. He broke through and via Burns and Steve Routledge the ball found its way to Maudling who dived in.

Benny’s looked good for a second try when Halligan tried to pop the ball for Daniel Appleton but it went to ground and a Littleborough defender swooped to race the length of the field for a converted try.

Driving forward again Benny’s forced a series of scrums on the visitors’ line and finally, after they had collapsed it for a second time, the referee awarded a penalty try which Kristian Wood converted.

Despite having to play into the strong wind Benny’s were dominant and after Kyle Hiddleston made a smart break Craig Fisher produced a well directed chip for Appleton to chase, gather and go over for the try which Kristian Wood converted.

The bonus point try came 10 minutes from time when Gavin Maudling forced his way over again in the corner.


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