Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Town out but far from down after cup exit

Workington Town 12 Hull KR 68: Town boss Dave Rotheram reckoned his team deserved better than the big scoreline posted by Super League Hull KR.

The hosts competed well in the opening stages, trailing just 12-6 going in to the second quarter of the match.

It was only in the closing moments that the floodgates opened and the full-timers ran in three quick tries.

And many Town fans stayed on after the final whistle to applaud their team off the pitch.

“I was pretty pleased with them,” Rotheram said. “You couldn’t knock their effort, and they tried to be inventive right to the last minute.

“We scored two belting tries against a side, faster, stronger and a little bit more skilful.

“We competed and asked questions of them at times. I was pleased with the way the boys stuck at it.”

Ryan Benjafield got through a phenomenal workload for Town, and fellow prop Dean Burgess was first-rate in attack. While Stephen Dawes asked a few questions of the Rovers’ defence out wide and scored a fine try.

Robins’ boss Justin Morgan had to reshape his side before kick-off, as the unfortunate Chris Chester, on the comeback trail following injury, was hurt in the warm-up and had to be replaced by Kirk Netherton in the second-row.

Yet the visitors were soon in to their stride, prop Garret Crossman, an NRL Grand Final winner with Melbourne Storm last season, crossing on five minutes.

He went over from close-range off Ben Fisher’s dummy-half pass. Paul Cooke slotted the first of his eight conversions.

Two minutes later, they were in again, Scott Murrell regathering his kick that bounced off an upright.

Workington fans must have feared the worst, but the League Two side soon hit back, Burgess tearing through the Rovers line and feeding Carl Forber for a try. The stand-off goaled and Town were back in the hunt.

But Rovers stretched their lead on 21 minutes, centre Daniel Fitzhenry making Jay Duffy pay for failing to hold the defensive line.

It was a small error that lesser teams would not have capitalised on, but against Super League opposition they were made to pay.

From the re-start, Town forced Stanley Gene over the sideline, proving there was nothing wrong with their spirit.

Kris Welham forced his way over the Town line out wide on 28 minutes, and Ben Cockayne then added another score, with a pacey, angled run to the line.

Speed again undid Town on 34 minutes, scrum-half James Webster putting Fitzhenry in for his second try.

The hosts had the worst possible start to the second-half, prop David Mills forcing his way over next to the posts.

It was a great effort from the big sub, but Town had enough defenders in the tackle to stop him.

Town were throwing a few risky passes to try to prise open the miserly Rovers defence, and from one such effort, Jon Steel swooped on a loose ball, the former Scotland RU international sprinting 50 metres to touch down.

The winger then brought up the half-century, flashing in at the corner off another Webster flat pass.

Town’s best moment of the match came on 57 minutes, great hands down the line creating space for Dawes, who cut inside to score a try he won’t forget in a hurry.

Forber again converted, and 52-12 would have been a fair scoreline to finish on. But Town, with no more substitutions in the bag, were reduced to 12 men when Franco Kmet was helped from the field with a leg injury.

Liam Watts was first to take advantage, powering over from a 10-metre tap penalty. More dazzling Cockayne footwork sent him across for another try, the full-back slotting his second conversion.

Rhys Lovegrove had the final say, the prop crossing from the re-start.


Town: McCully, Dawes, Routledge, Mossop, Blair, Forber, Duffy, Benjafield, R Lunt, Burgess, Marsh, Miller, Kmet. Subs: Gorman, Tunstall, Robinson, Campbell

Tries: Forber, Dawes

Goals: Forber 2

Rovers: Cockayne, Fox, Welham, Fitzhenry, Steel, Cooke, Webster, Crossman, Fisher, Lovegrove, Gene, Netherton, Murrell. Subs: Mills, Watts, I’Anson, Menzies

Tries: Crossman, Murrell, Fitzhenry 2, Welham, Cockayne 2, Mills, Steel 2, Watts, Lovegrove

Goals: Cooke 8, Cockayne 2

Attendance: 1,277

Referee: M Drizza (France)



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