Workington Town 32, Whitehaven 16
WORKINGTON Town have the bragging rights going into the new season after regaining the Ike Southward Memorial Trophy.
Whitehaven had gone into the latest clash 6-4 ahead having won the first four meetings from the inaugural game in 2006 but Town were able to close the gap.
So far in pre-season the old west Cumbrian rivals had played five friendlies between them without a single victory.
Workington had the early pressure and almost got over after a set of six on the Haven line but it was the visitors who took the lead on six minutes.
Scott McAvoy made the initial break into the home ten metre zone and Jordan Burns followed in to go over but Paul Crook missed the conversion.
Whitehaven continued to force the pace and when James Newton put in a clever little kick it was Crook who was there to beat a hesitant Town defence to the touchdown. Crook made it 10-0 with the conversion.
McAvoy, who was coming back from a summer knee operation, put in a strong 18-minute shift before being replaced by Glen Riley.
Two minutes later Town were rewarded for some strong pressure when Sam Dowsett got over from close range and Carl Forber added the conversion.
Two minutes later Town were ahead when Callum Phillips scored a superb solo try. Taking a pass from Kris Coward ten yards inside his own half the half-back made a mazy, penetrating run right through the Whitehaven defence to touchdown. Forber’s conversion gave the hosts a narrow advantage.
Town appeared to be in again on 35 minutes when Stuart Howarth laid a lovely pass. or so it seemed, for Brett Phillips to crash over but the touch judge ruled it had been forward.
During the interval Town director’s made a presentation to Graeme Mattinson, also a former Whitehaven hooker, who has announced his retirement after playing over 100 game for the club.
On the restart Whitehaven were first into their stride and Conor Holliday was bundled into touch near the corner flag.
After 45 minutes Town increased their lead. Awarded a penalty in front of the sticks Town did not go for the kick at goal, and it proved a wise move. The ball was moved swiftly to the left and full-back Theerapol Ritson swept through to touchdown but Forber’s conversion attempt hit the post.
It got better for Town on 51 minutes when Forber split the Haven defence with a fine 25 yard break to cross in the corner. Forber improved his side’s position with a touchline conversion.
The home side were nearly in again when Joe Hambley drove through only to be brought down a yard short.
Whitehaven needed to get back into the game quickly but it took them to the 65th minute to get over. McAvoy, in his second stint of the game, went close before James Newton wriggled over from close range. Crook converted.
They could have been level four minutes later. Steve Roper’s little angled kick should have been pouched by Marc Shackley as he dived in by the posts but lost control.
Eight minutes from the end Super League referee Robert Hicks was involved in controversy. He awarded a knock-on against James Tilley when he spilled the ball back to his own team-mate under pressure.
From the scrum Town broke down the left with some great handling and eventually Handley put Forber in for his second try.
There was still time for Town to score again in the last minute of the game when Sam Dowsett set-up Conor Fitsimmons to score behind the post. Stevie Scholey, who had picked-up the sponsors man of the match award, landed the conversion.
Workington Town: Ritson, Mewse, Davies, Hambley, Rooke, Forber, C. Phillips, Curwen, Dowsett , Scholey, B. Phillips, Shelford. Singleton. Subs (all used): Howarth, Fitzsimmons, Coward, Doran.
Tries: Dowsett (20), C. Phillips (22), Ritson (45), Forber (51, 72), Fitzsimmons (79).
Goals: Forber (3/5), Scholey (1/1)
Whitehaven: Burns, Holliday, Taylor, Parker, Calvert, Roper, Crook, Shackley, Newton, Forster, Moore, McAvoy, Tilley. Subs (all used): Riley, Dalton, Brown, Worthington.
Tries: Burns (5), Crook (8), Newton (65).
Goals: Crook (2/3)
Referee: Robert Hicks
Star Man: CARL FORBER (Workington)