Workingtonearn Super opportunity

Rugby League Workington Town 14 Paris St-Germain 10
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Workington gave themselves a real chance of staying in the Super League yesterday with a grafting performance that took them level on points with Paris at the foot of the table.

Town showed a stubborn fight born of the general conviction in these parts that the game's administrators would be happy to sacrifice them if that allowed Paris to stay afloat. Workington still have a far-worse points difference and will need at least a point from somewhere to escape, but four of their next five matches are at home and this spirit could produce the embarrassment of Paris finishing last.

They billed this match in West Cumbria as "Le Crunch", knowing all too well that defeat would make relegation a probability for Workington. That was enough to explain their early nervousness, in which an off-key kicking game surrendered the initiative to Paris.

The pressure they were able to build up brought the visitors the lead when quick handling across the field saw Patrick Entat, Fabian Devecchi and Ian Russell combine to send in Eric Vergniol.

Workington's reaction to that setback spoke volumes for their desire for Super League survival. Within two minutes a telling break John Allen, had put them on the attack. Rowland Phillips and their new Australian, Butch Fatnowna, carried on the move and Brad Nairn's cleverly slipped pass sent Lasaele Filipo over the try line, Wayne Kitchin's conversion giving Town the lead.

Only a timely covering tackle from Entat prevented Fatnowna from extending that lead. Workington still managed to improve their position before half- time, Kitchin landing a penalty when Deon Bird dropped out straight into touch and another when Vea Bloomfield was punished for holding down in the tackle.

Workington had Fatnowna sin-binned for a tackle early in the second half, but the short-handed Cumbrians stretched their lead a little further when Tony Smith's high kick got Paris in a tangle that yielded a penalty for offside, again converted from in front of the posts by Kitchin.

Paris had the chance to turn the screw when Jules Parry got over the line on his back, but a penalty for obstruction altered their momentum.

It was Paris's turn to be reduced to 12 men when Bird was sin-binned for holding down. When Russell went five minutes later, this time permanently for using an elbow on Kitchin, their hopes seemed to go with him. The reliable Kitchin revived sufficiently to put over his fifth goal.

Bird returned to swoop on a loose ball for a try converted by Freddie Banquet and Paris twice went close in the remaining few minutes. Workington hung on, however, to two points that could be of incalculable value.

Workington Town: Fatnowna; Wallace, Chilton, Allen, Johnson; Smith, Kitchin; Riley, Bethwaite, Phillips, Filipo, Holgate, Nairn. Substitutes used: Marwood, Grima, Crellin.

Paris St-Germain: Bird; Bomati, Chamorin, Vergniol, Banquet; Devecchi, Entat; Cabestany, Wulf, Sands, Parry, Pech, Russell. Substitutes used: Bloomfield, Lucchese, Shead, Wilson.

Referee: R Smith (Castleford).