Rugby League: Workington's blitz overwhelms London: Crusaders too generous

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The Independent Online
London Crusaders. . .22

Workington Town . . .30

THE Second Division Premiership final maintained its reputation for high scoring although not quite for incredible comebacks as London gave Workington too generous a half-time lead, writes Dave Hadfield.

Not even a hat-trick from their South African winger, Mark Johnson, which took him clear of the field with 43 tries for the season, could rescue the Crusaders.

They went from 6-4 ahead - courtesy of Johnson's first try - to 24-6 in arrears and, although they improved considerably after the break, they never looked likely to reclaim the lead.

Workington, who had taken the lead in the fifth minute through Ged Byrne, soon wiped out Johnson's try and the John Gallagher goal that put them behind for the only time in the match.

It was Byrne's pass that sent in Tony Kay for one try and when Andre Stoop and Gallagher both froze when faced by Dean Marwood's kick and Stuart Cocker scored in the corner, the Cumbrians were well on their way to a commanding lead.

Slick handling right along the back line sent the veteran Des Drummond in for another try and when the outstanding Australian full-back, Mark Mulligan, took Kay's pass before half-time, there was no way back for the Crusaders.

Stoop released Johnson for his second after 66 minutes and Workington were grateful for a rapid response from Cocker, who capitalised on a strong run by James Pickering and a well timed pass from Byrne, for his second try.

In the last five minutes, London, who begin a new and unpredictable future as the London Broncos next season, earned respectability with a try from Logan Campbell and the completion of Johnson's hat-trick.

If their inspriational-scrum half, Mark Riley, had been able to play for more than 14 minutes it could have been different, but respectability was the best they could aspire to.

London Crusaders: Stoop; Gallagher, Roskell, Campbell, Johnson; McIvor, M Riley (Luxon, 14); Whiteley, Carter (Smith, 6), Rotherham, Rosolen, Stewart, Ramsey.

Workington Town: Mulligan; Drummond, Kay (Byrne, 71), Burns, Cocker; Kitchin, Marwood; Pickering (P Riley, 46), McKenzie, Armstrong (Pickering, 60), Hepi, Oglanby, Byrne (Penrice, 50).

Referee: J Connolly (Wigan).

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