11-try Workington Town too strong for improved Gateshead Thunder
Last updated at 10:15, Monday, 07 May 2012
Workington Town 58 Gateshead Thunder 6: With bigger challenges looming, Workington Town were too strong for improved Gateshead at Derwent Park, turning on an 11-try feast for the fans.
The victory keeps Town riding in the slipstream of Doncaster with a game in hand and was the product of a thoroughly professional job against a Gateshead side who are not the whipping boys of old.
But having only played one of the teams in the top five so far, Town know there are tougher tasks coming up – and in the next two weeks have two of them. They travel to Barrow and then host Doncaster.
Ahead of Sunday’s trip to Craven Park joint coach Gary Charlton said: “I believe we have improved a good 40% since we last played Barrow and lost in the Northern Rail. This time we will be going with a bit of momentum behind us and I know the players are really looking forward to these next two games.”
Charlton and fellow coach Martin Oglanby couldn’t have asked for a better start as Town were on the score-sheet after only 13 seconds – one of the fastest tries ever scored at the ground.
Debutant full-back Shane Ackerley, on loan from Whitehaven, did well to take a high kick-off under his own posts but when he raced forward he lost the ball in collision. It was quickly picked-up by Town and Graeme Mattinson went over for the first try which Marc Bainbridge converted – the first of seven successful kicks.
Town had rested one of the season’s top forwards in Marc Shackley, along with Mike Whitehead and scrum-half Carl Forber, but they played with verve, energy and freedom right from the start.
Strong pressure on the Gateshead line ended on seven minutes with Kris Coward barging over from close range after quick, short passing had undone the Thunder defence.
Thunder only rarely had the ball in the Town half and on their furthest forage forward Brett Waller was stopped just short of the line.
But mainly it was Workington who dictated where and when the game was played. Peter Lupton, on his first Town start, set the tone with one excellent 40-2-0 to keep Thunder pinned back.
The third try came on 18 minutes, an again it was a close-range effort. This time it was Ryan Macdonald who showed his strength and power to get over and at 18-0 the game was already getting away from Thunder.
The best try of the half came on 27 minutes when skipper Jarrad Stack and full-back Elliott Miller swapped passes before putting John Patrick in at the corner.
Then seven minutes before the interval Town scored again with Stack scrambling over from close-in after his initial charge had put his side in a strong attacking position.
Trailing 28-0 at the break Gateshead needed an early score to suggest they could get back into the contest. Instead it was Town who cored three more tries in the 45th, 47th and 52nd minutes to move out of sight.
Young second rower Brett Phillips finished-off well, striding away and then stretching-out over the line as the defenders got to him too late.
Full-back Miller, who was excellent throughout, then came into his own finishing off well to score the next two tries in the space of five minutes.
Credit to Gateshead, however, as they kept at it and got what proved to be a consolation try on 57 minutes when Dan O’Sullivan cashed in on a rare Town error to score in the corner. West Cumbrian Gavin Beasley landed an excellent touchline conversion.
It didn’t take long for Town to respond again, however, and Dan Rooney used his strength to crash over after a bout of inter-passing had created the chance.
In the last eight minutes Town crashed through the 50-point barrier. First substitute Karl Olstrum barged forward, scattering a couple of tacklers and then taking the last one over the line with him.
Prop Coward scored his second try two minutes from the end when he dived over near the posts.
Workington Town: Miller, Patrick, Mossop, Rooney, S. Dawes, Lupton, Bainbridge, Macdonald, Mattinson, Coward, Phillips, Stack, Peterson.
Subs (all used): Olstrum, Farrer, Robinson, Thackray.
Tries: Mattinson (13 seconds), Coward (7, 78), Macdonald (18), Patrick (27), Stack (33), Phillips (45), Miller (47, 52), Rooney (60), Olstrum (72). Goals: Bainbridge 7/11.
Gateshead Thunder: Ackerley, Thackeray, Mitchell, O’Sullivan, Brown, Stamp, Beasley, Waller, Clarke, McBride, Barker, Steen, Barron. Subs: Hodgson, Thacka Thacka, Welton, Payne.
Try: O’Sullivan (57). Goal: Beasley (1/1)
Referee: Jamie Bloem (Halifax)
Half-time: 28/0. Penalties: 10/12.
Star man: Elliott Miller
First published at 09:13, Monday, 07 May 2012
Published by http://www.newsandstar.co.uk