Seventh heaven for Workington in Cumbria
Whitehaven 12 Workington Town 16
Dave Hadfield was a schoolboy convert to rugby league, the game which, one way or another, has dominated his life ever since. After working for newspapers in Shropshire and Blackpool (where he covered the fortunes of Blackpool Borough) he travelled the world, working mainly in Hong Kong and Sydney. He became The Independent's rugby league man in 1990 and has written five books on the game and broadcast extensively for Sky and the BBC. Dave played his last game at the age of 53 and would have set up a try if anyone could have been bothered supporting his break. When not writing about the sport, he now limits himself to a bit of tick and pass with his local club, the Bolton Mets. Family includes supporters - of varying degrees of dedication - of Salford, Wigan, Sheffield Eagles and St George Illawarra.
The Recreation Ground
Monday 22 April 2013
Only 11 miles separate these two towns on the Cumbrian coast and, in the last few minutes of an exciting Challenge Cup fourth-round tie, it seemed it might be hard to split them on the scoreboard.
In west Cumbria they argued all week that this was the tie the BBC should have televised. It was an argument that they were never going to win and no match interrupted as often as this one for offside was ever going to be a free-flowing classic.
It was a contest worthy of a wider audience. Whitehaven failed to beat their neighbours for a seventh game in a row, but they could well have ended that depressing run.
Their kicker, Jamie Rooney, missed an early penalty. He was more effective with a 40/20 kick to put them on the attack and with a long pass that allowed James Cameron to squeeze in at the corner. Town equalised when full-back Brett Carter came into the line, sold a dummy and straightened to score, with Carl Forber adding the extras.
After an exchange of penalties in the second half, we had seen some novel improvised kicking and an outbreak of serious scrummaging, with Jamie Acton and Rodney Pora disputing at the loose head until they noticed that the ball was nowhere near. It was that sort of pleasingly old-fashioned afternoon.
Workington hit the front for the first time with another penalty and then got the vital score when the replacement hooker Callum Phillips shimmied his way over.
Haven recovered the ball from their short kick-off and scored through centre Jessie Joe Parker. Rooney missed the difficult kick, however, and the four-point gap remained despite two good chances in the last two minutes. Parker failed to find winger Craig Calvert with a scoring pass and Calvert was stopped from touching down when he chased a kick into the corner.
"We got the win we deserved," said Town coach, Gary Charlton, on his way home to muse over the possibility of Wigan away in the next round. For Whitehaven's Dave Woods, it was too familiar. "It's another match we've lost through not doing what we should," he said.
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