WHITEHAVEN coach Gary Charlton praised his side’s “phenomenal effort” to beat Dewsbury Rams 23-16 in their Challenge Cup-tie.

The Cumbrians had to play for 45 minutes with 12 men after Callum Phillips had been sent off for a dangerous tackle.

Charlton said: “We told them at half-time there have been plenty of occasions where 12 men have gone on to win. They responded great and it shows the desire that is in this squad.

“It was a phenomenal effort.”

Whitehaven had gone into the game after one warm-up at Newcastle Thunder which lasted only an hour and Charlton is pleased they got through the Cup opener ahead of the Championship to give them a third game.

The coach said: “I’ve been saying all along we could do with three games before we start the challenge of the Championship on Good Friday. So we can now look at the second round of the Challenge Cup as giving us that opportunity.

“There are lads who didn’t figure against Dewsbury but they will be involved next weekend and all will have a chance to show they should be in the starting line-up for the first game.”