Umaga's famous five sinks Town

Dave Hadfield
Sunday 21 July 1996 23:02

Rugby League

Halifax 74 Workington 14

The Western Samoan Mike Umaga became the first player to score five tries in a Super League match as Halifax's South Seas contingent turned up the heat on a wilting Workington.

Umaga spearheaded a display of extravagant running and handling in a match that frequently resembled a summer sevens event in some exotic location rather than the traditional slog at Thrum Hall. Playing his first full game for a month after an ankle injury, Umaga effectively decided the outcome in the first 20 minutes when scoring his first three tries. He opened his account with a 65-yard dash from a scrum, continued it by latching on to John Brewer's back flip, and then flew high to seize Asa Amone's bomb for his hat-trick.

In between, Simon Baldwin grabbed a try from a pass from John Schuster, another Samoan, whose contribution also included five goals. Graeme Hallas also scored before half-time as Halifax gave full rein to their attacking flair. All Workington could manage was a solitary reply from Lee Chilton.

Umaga scored his fourth, courtesy of Hallas's pass, within a minute of the restart. Fereti Tuilagi, the impressive newcomer Brewer, Craig Dean and Baldwin, with his second, all ran through the Cumbrian defence before Bentley grabbed his second and, at last, Umaga set the record in the 71st minute. Bentley finished with a hat-trick of his own.

The best that could be said of a Workington team that looks resigned to the inevitability of relegation after Paris' recent improvement is that they kept going and claimed two more tries.

But it was Umaga's afternoon. "I reckon Mike has been one of the buys of the decade," said the Halifax coach, Steve Simms. "He has been outstanding as a full-back, and when we were struggling at stand-off we moved him there and our improvement in form dates from that switch."

Halifax: Amone, Bentley, Schuster, Hallas, Tuilagi, Umaga, Dean, Harrison, Rowley, Ketteridge, Gillespie, Baldwin, Moana. Substitutes used: Martindale, Chester, Perrett, Brewer.

Workington: J Smith, Armswood, Chilton, Penrice, Johnson, A Smith, Kitchin, Riley, Bethwaite, Phillips, Filipo, Holgate, Nairn. Substitutes used: Wallace, Grimma, Moore, Watson.

Referee: J Connolly (Wigan).

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