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Raiders make Town work for win

By Ian Golden at Stebonheath Park

WORKINGTON Town came back from Llanelli with the two points on Saturday (Jul 21) but it was no walk in the park against West Wales Raiders, the 46-6 scoreline a very lopsided one after the Welsh tired in the last ten minutes.

Winless West Wales had lost their last two games by the same score – 102-6 – so this was a big improvement for them. It was only the second time they’d not conceded 50 points and was their second lowest defeat of the season.

Town’s first 21 minutes, then their strong defence for the majority of the rest of the game, earned them the two points.

They took the lead on seven minutes. Current Wales international Ben Morris set up Ilias Bergal, who dived in the corner. Carl Forber missed the conversion.

Former Wales international Sean Penkywicz created the next try, slipping the ball to Tom Curwen to run home. Forber converted to bring the score up to 10-0.

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Photo by Darren Harries

The third try came on 18 minutes. Elliott Miller made the metres and Joe Hambley was in the right place to support him to run over in the corner. Forber’s kick was wide.

Only a Phil Cowburn palm into touch prevented Hambley from scoring his second, but from the resulting scrum, Leigh Centurions loanee Bergal was successful in the opposite corner. Forber kicked well and it was 20-0 on 21 minutes.

The expected try avalanche didn’t continue. For the rest of the half, it was all West Wales Raiders and it’s a credit to Town’s defence that they kept the home side out for so long.

Steve Parry’s fairly dangerous grubber on 25 minutes was well collected by Curwen, Hambley collected a stray pass on the next West Wales encroach, then good defence stopped Parry as he tried to break through for a try on the final tackle of another set.

West Wales still couldn’t score after Olstrom spilled the ball on his own 20 metre line, the Town defence remaining solid once again, as it did when Parry kicked again, looking for his outside backs.

It was to West Wales’ credit that Town chose to kick a penalty in the final minute of the first 40, Forber successfully converting from 30 metres to bring the half-time score up to 22-0.

Town had a few half-chances early in the second half but nothing overly threatening, errors from Penkywicz and Forber denying them two potential tries, but it was the promising Raiders side who were closest in the first ten minutes. A well worked move set up a chance for Dafydd Phillips but he couldn’t quite hold onto Parry’s grubber as he ran over the try-line. Hambley also did well to catch a Parry lob to again prevent a first West Wales try.

Finally Town crossed the line on 51 minutes. Half an hour after Bergal had scored his side’s last try, he sprinted 60 metres to ground under the sticks for his hat-trick, which Forber easily improved.

After Miller knocked on in front of his sticks, then conceded a goal-line drop-out from the resulting set, Raiders finally scored a deserved try on 62 minutes. Wales World Cup player Parry twisted and turned to avoid a few tackles, setting up Alan Pope to force his way through. Luke Williams converted.

Seven minutes later, they were unlucky not to get a second. Cowburn sprinted 40 metres before being stopped in his tracks, then two tackles later, as was going over the line, some more strong Town defence forced him to drop the ball.

Town scored their sixth try against the run of play as Oliver Wilkes forced off a few defenders to score under the posts with Forber converting.

West Wales had tired and Town took advantage but Berghal only scored his fourth and Town’s seventh after the officials failed to spot what looked to many that he’d received a forward pass. Forber converted.

From the next set, Andrew Dawson went over in the corner and Forber converted, but instead of getting another try, which they had time to do, they again had to defend as the Welsh still hadn’t given up.